11 ways you can guide a teenager to achieve their goals

11 ways you can guide a teenager to achieve their goals

Who helped you set and achieve your goals as a teenager? How effective was this relationship? Do you still set goals? What would you think are key ways you can help a young person on the goal-getting journey, knowing that goal setting is a positive aspect of a teenager’s brain development? How do you arrange your ducks in a row?! These are some of the questions I was pondering in recent times when when Glen came to see me. He specifically wanted assistance with planning, organization and management of his time, as he is heavily involved in his school community and a fine role model to younger students. Glen is fortunate, as he is highly motivated, works hard in and out of the classroom and has some career goals in place, but he had been feeling stressed and had not been sleeping well. I have learnt over the years that when I encourage a young person to set achievable goals, their lives take on new purpose and their energies are positively channeled in specific directions. 11 ways to assist teenagers set and achieve their goals Indeed, part of the goal-setting process during the mentoring journey is to assist your mentees to make sense of the confusion they may be experiencing (as is normal at this stage of their lives); to encourage them to try different strategies until they find what works for them. Once you have developed a relationship of respect and trust, the opportunity will emerge for a discussion on goal setting. When handled positively and in an encouraging manner, I have found on most occasions that our relationship moves...
23 proven goal setting tips for your mentoring journey with teenagers

23 proven goal setting tips for your mentoring journey with teenagers

Did you set goals when you were a teenager? Did you ever have someone who helped you with goal setting? If you did set goals, how effective was the process you followed? Did you achieve your goals or did you quit? Did you always feel you were reaching your potential? I have been a goal setter for most of my life. My goals motivated and inspired me to stay focused and to stand up to negative peer pressure on occasions. While I might not have achieved all my goals, I learnt much about myself through the process – and continue to do so – and enjoyed that amazing feeling when I did manage to achieve a specific goal, be it academic, sport, relational or pursuing a hobby or some other activity. What did I learn from the experience? Well, the truth is that I am still learning! Although now retired, I still set annual goals and break these down into monthly goals, because I want to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle and enjoy a fulfilling life. The work I have done over the years as a teacher, sport coach and mentor of teenagers ALWAYS involves goal setting, as I have learnt that, when a young person starts achieving their personal goals, they begin to find meaning and purpose in their lives, they are more motivated and happier. 23 proven goal setting tips for the mentoring journey These tips can be adapted by Mentors to the particular community in which they are working. Remember, goal setting comes, for the most part, after you have established a connection with your...
When you understand a teenager’s brain, you become a miracle-maker!

When you understand a teenager’s brain, you become a miracle-maker!

Do you sometimes struggle to understand what is going on in the world of teenagers? Do you see a beautiful young person one day and then a monster the next? Do you tear your hair out at seemingly inexplicable mood swings? Do you throw up your hands in despair? Do you feel you are losing your relationship with a teenager? Welcome to the normal world of the teenager!  While I was researching adolescent behaviour and the latest adolescent brain research, I jotted down some key aspects of adolescent brain development. This knowledge significantly impacted HOW, when and why I communicated with teenagers from all walks of life as a parent, teacher, coach and mentor. We do well to pause from time to time and remember our own teenage experiences, how we felt at certain times, how we responded to situations, different people and so on as we journeyed through confusing times in search of meaning and purpose in our lives. A basic understanding of the teenage brain Due to the plasticity of the brain, it can be changed by experiences, a point that should always give HOPE to anyone working with young people. The frontal lobes make up 40% of the brain’s total volume. They are the seat of our ability to generate insight, judgment, abstraction, impulse control and planning. They are the source of self-awareness and our ability to assess dangers and risks, so we use this area of the brain to choose a course of action wisely. The frontal lobes are said to house the ‘Executive’ function of the human brain which only ceases developing in the...
3 meaningful ways you can help to calm the developing teenage brain

3 meaningful ways you can help to calm the developing teenage brain

How do you respond to a teenager on an emotional rollercoaster ride? How do you react to a teenager who feels totally lost? How do you encourage a teenager who ‘appears’ not to want encouragement? Can you remember how you were as a teenager with all your emotions flying all over the place? How did you deal with those times? These are interesting questions, though, to put us at ease, the teenage emotional rollercoaster ride is normal while the brain is still developing. Within the limbic system of an adolescent, the Amygdala, which prioritizes and learns our human survival and emotional messages (Desautels, 2016) is in full flow while the brain is developing. This area, which is involved in instinctive, impulsive, emotional and aggressive reactions (Karen Young) needs to be quieted, so that the developing Prefrontal Cortex, the area above our eyes and behind the forehead, which plays a key role in impulse control, decision-making and future planning, can come more and more into play and help us make good decisions while it is being structured and wired up as a result of our learning and experiences.  The Prefrontal Cortex will only be fully developed when we are in our mid-20s. It is interesting reading the stories of ‘successful’ teenagers or those who have scaled dizzy heights with some incredible talents. Most have worked hard or trained hard to achieve their success, yet many have no idea how to deal with their fame, partly because their brains are still developing and they probably do not receive the best mentoring to keep their feet well grounded. One point is abundantly...
How you can stay connected to young people

How you can stay connected to young people

Are there days when you wonder where your teenage child has come from? Or which side of the bed he or she climbed (or fell!) out of in the morning? Chances are they’re just being normal. Or, as a mentor, are there days when you wonder if you are achieving anything in your mentoring relationship? With so much going on in those young lives and the brain still developing, sometimes we just need to remember to stay focused and keep on keeping on being the loving parents and supportive and encouraging mentors we are. Maybe you need some user-friendly tips to encourage you? 20 meaningful ways to stay connected to young people So, here’s a summary of some research I did. 20 meaningful ways to stay connected to our young people, in no particular order, that overlap with many thoughts and ideas linked to the Spirit of Mentoring. We should spend time with our children, especially when we would rather be doing something else. Invest energy when we are exhausted; take family holidays together as much as possible. Remember, there are some key skills our children need in the 21st Century, which Schools might not be paying enough attention to: public speaking, management of time, relationship building skills, negotiation and resolving conflict skills. The mentoring relationship could enhance many of these. Bite our tongues when we want to lash out. Take a deep breath and count SLOWLY to 20 when we want to scream. Keep telling our children that we love them unconditionally and nothing will ever change that – be honest and authentic at all times. Tell our children...
How you can nurture and encourage teenagers to become mentally strong

How you can nurture and encourage teenagers to become mentally strong

How much support did you have around you when you were a teenager? What did that scaffolding look like, feel like and sound like? Who were the people who provided that scaffolding? What qualities or characteristics did they display in their relationship with you? Perhaps you need some positive signs to look out for? While working in my home office a while ago, I looked out to see a painter – probably in his 30s – sitting on the scaffolding opposite our apartment taking a selfie! A quick adjustment of the T-shirt, fingers repositioning the hair, seated upright – mobile phone at the ready, a smile and click! Great selfie which was quickly sent to a friend, a loved one? Four storeys up. Beautiful sea view with that perfect autumn day framed by a cloudless, brilliant blue sky. The scaffolding was secure, strong, supportive, enabling this special moment in a painter’s day to occur. He felt safe. That got me thinking about the signs of a mentally strong teenager and the scaffolding that supports him/her so that he/she would always feel safe and secure. I have spent many months collating years and years of adolescent research and, more recently, linking this research to the latest adolescent neuroscience research. This research has reiterated how important it is for youth to have significant adults as their non-judgmental Cheerleaders to walk alongside them during a critically important season of their lives while their brains are developing. 15 signs of mentally strong teenagers As these meaningful relationships are developed and the significant adult takes on an encouraging and nurturing role, here are 15...
Do you have a proven idea to motivate all teenagers to share with the world?

Do you have a proven idea to motivate all teenagers to share with the world?

Do you have a proven idea to inspire and motivate teenagers to share with the world? Better still, do you think your idea will make a positive difference in your global community? Do you have any idea how to share your idea with the global community? I have a good idea – which has taken me over 40 years of life experiences to develop – to share with the world’s teenagers which I know will transform their lives and give them hope and a sense of purpose, encouraging them to use their unique gifts and talents to create a happier, more united global community. Questions, questions and more questions. I find myself asking the questions above on many occasions. I am not a businessman and struggle to market anything, so am absolutely no use at working in these areas. I shared these thoughts a short while ago and decided to revisit them. What I can do is encourage others. I can receive great satisfaction when I choose to reach out to someone in need of encouragement and offer to walk alongside them for a season of their lives. I know that is my gifting and is one of the reasons I chose to become a teacher. Now, as I move into my retirement years, I find myself wondering how I can share all my vast resources of experience, knowledge and ideas with others to encourage the next generation to fulfill their God-given potential. From a young age, I enjoyed being a team player. My satisfaction comes from working within a team – I am comfortable facilitating team discussions –...
10 Life Lessons from my Cancer journey to encourage you

10 Life Lessons from my Cancer journey to encourage you

Do you know anyone who has been struck down with Cancer? Anyone who might be on that journey at the moment? A young person needing encouragement? Someone, especially a teenager, struggling to adapt to the results of suffering from Cancer or some other serious illness? I was struck down with cancer at the age of nine and underwent some radiation treatment (2.5 times the adult dose), followed by significant major surgery during the next couple of years and then again when I was 18. My parents were told that I probably had two years to live and, during these two years, my mother died suddenly. Thankfully, I survived the Cancer and now, 50 years later, reflecting on my life journey to date, I happily share 10 Life Lessons that I have learnt, through trial and error, highs and lows, over the years and which helped me through challenging adolescent years as I came to terms with my disfigurement and responded to it. I share these experiences with teenagers I mentor, encouraging them to keep on keeping on through the confusing adolescent years, especially when the odds are stacked against them. Following these key tips has taught me the importance of living a positive life journey filled with HOPE, experiencing unconditional love and care from those closest to me, whilst also feeling valued and, ultimately, leading a life of meaning and purpose with a strong sense of serving others. Anyone who has suffered from Cancer or another life-threatening illness, will know the challenges one experiences overcoming times of adversity and enjoying success. Here’s what my life experiences have taught me:...
10 proven powerful mentoring tips for your journey with Teenagers

10 proven powerful mentoring tips for your journey with Teenagers

When you think about any adult who motivated and inspired you as a teenager, what do you remember about them? Why did they have such a positive impact on your life? Dave was one of my teachers, also my Cricket coach at one point and later my mentor who guided the development of my teaching skills. He was tough, uncompromising at times, set and expected nothing but the best effort, yet behind the tough exterior was a compassionate and caring man, a champion of the underdog. Our friendship lasted for over 40 years, at which point Dave succumbed to Cancer. Research shows that mentoring journeys lasting more than 12 months result in most mentees enjoying improved relationships with parents; better connections with school; less of an inclination to experiment with drugs, alcohol and other antisocial behaviors; enjoying greater levels of self-worth, better social skills and improved academic results. Mentoring involves making an emotional investment in a mentee’s life; building trust and encouraging; making a positive impact on a young life often experiencing confusion and self-doubt. 10 proven mentoring tips I find it difficult to determine what are the most important tips to offer a volunteer adult mentor, as so much will depend on the circumstances confronting both the mentor and the young person he or she is moving alongside. Here are 10 positive, proven and powerful tips to encourage and guide any mentors working with teenagers. When applied you will see the positive impact you are having on a young life. Encourage your mentees to develop a personal photograph of themselves in the future and to hold on to...
How you can empathize with teenagers

How you can empathize with teenagers

Can you remember how you felt about yourself when you were aged 13 or 14? Did you have loads of self-confidence or many self-doubts? When you looked in the mirror did you feel lovable and capable or unsure of who you were, did not like the image before your eyes and had many confused thoughts? How did you respond to peer pressure? A while ago I asked some young people, aged 13 and 14, to complete an anonymous questionnaire about how they view themselves. Their responses highlighted the importance of connecting with their school community, preferably having some non-judgmental adult cheerleaders to encourage them on their journey. Empathize with teenagers “I am not good with teamwork.” (male) “I care about others and don’t like to see my friends hurt.” (female) “I need to stand up for people more. But I am positive and I want to make the world a better place.” (male) “I am not scared to stand up and tell people what’s right.” (female) “I see that I have lots of friends and feel safe in that community. I stand up for what’s right even though there are consequences.” (male) “I see that I am headstrong and stand up for what is right. I also care about people and want to make a positive difference in the world. I could improve in knowing when I need help or not.” (female) “I am more willing to help others more than myself. I am not very confident in myself.” (male) “I am stubborn, but I know when to step down. I care about others and want to help them...