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Cheering from the stands: How to be a great mentor

As a parent, you wear many hats – but arguably the most important is being your child’s greatest mentor and life coach. Both of these roles involve supporting, motivating and guiding, and helping them to identify and implement strategies to overcome their challenges. Your job is really to help them become to best version of themselves while equipping them with the tools they need for life.  

Mentorship isn’t about solving their problems for them, but rather, helping and supporting them as they figure things out on their own. Here are our tips on how and when to start mentoring your child.  

Be active

Being an active, engaged parent will benefit your child so much in the long run. From feeling loved and accepted, to understanding that they can turn to you with their concerns or questions, it’s important they know that you are and will continue to be involved in their life. This will increase their self-confidence and ultimately provide them with the opportunity to grow and develop.  

Be a positive voice

We’re constantly surrounded by negativity – from our own minds, first and foremost, but also social media and peers – which is why our teens need us on their side, cheering for their success! Be the positive voice that gets them on track and lifts them up through both the tough times and the good ones. Remember to lead by example, and be empathetic – without empathy your teen might feel like you don’t understand the challenges they face.  

Help your child to see the bigger picture

It’s easy to be short-sighted when you’re in the thick of a situation – or simply, overwhelmed by the realities of life. Remind your child to step back and assess a situation rather than getting bogged down in how it feels in the moment. It’s important to look at a problem from multiple angles and be aware that nothing is permanent. Use questions to guide them through this process, identifying and analysing the bigger picture.  

Don’t solve all their problems

When it comes down to it, we want to raise our children to be independent, confident and resilient, and to take ownership of their own lives. You can guide them towards a decision or a solution, but it’s important that you don’t take matters into your own hands and solve their problems for them. Let them make and take ownership of their own choices in a supportive, nurturing environment – it’ll benefit them in the long run when they’ve got excellent decision-making skills as a young adult.  

Avoid hovering

We’ve all heard of ‘helicopter parenting’, and while it can be hard to avoid (trust us, we know) it’s important to avoid falling into this trap. Instead, give your child space and exhibit the respect, trust and confidence you have in them by letting them take the reins of their own life. It might feel like a fine line between too much support and not enough, but we trust that with time, you’ll be able to strike the perfect balance for you and your family. This will help them grow into the self-confident and resilient person you’re encouraging them to be. (Tip: more on helicopter parenting, coming soon!) 

While you may want to solve their problems for them, always remember – your job is to guide, nurture and support your child as they grow, rather than hovering or stepping in before they have the chance to make their own choices. Equipped with these skills, they’re bound to enter adulthood more confident, independent and self-assured. 

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