A positive adult role model can make a world of difference to today’s youth, and building healthy and meaningful relationships with students can help to provide them with just that. Like in any relationship, trust is paramount in building a healthy student to mentor relationship, and there are several ways that you can become the inspiration for the youth you’re working with. Some ways to build healthy relationships with students or youth are:
1. Be open
Being open is extremely important to building healthy student to mentor relationships, and giving the young person a safe place where they can really discuss their struggles is important. Make sure to make it clear to the student that you’re providing them with a no judgment zone, and that you can be trusted as an adult to have their best interests in mind. Unless they express a desire to do harm to themselves or others, allow them to talk out the tough issues with you as you build a strong foundation of trust.
2. Provide relevant advice
As an adult, it’s possible that you’ve experienced just what they’re experiencing now, and that you have some useful information when it comes to what to do next. Providing advice to students who come to you for help is a great way to build a healthy relationship, but it’s important to do so as an equal, and not as a person who may be speaking down to them and their concerns.
3. Treat them equally
If there is one thing that many young people despise, it’s being treated childishly, and talking to or treating today’s youth in a mature manner can do a great deal in building respect. When providing advice, or an ear to talk to, it’s important that you respect the student just as you would wish to be respected, and to speak to them in a mature manner appropriate for their particular age group.
4. Go to them
In many cases, a student or young person may not feel comfortable initiating a relationship, which is why it’s important for the adult to extend the line of communication. Engaging the young person or simply allowing them to know that you have a willing ear should they need someone to listen is a great way to offer the opportunity for a mentor type relationship.
What makes me unique: I present from the perspective of the disengaged student I once was. As a 19 year old inmate in the California Department of Corrections, It was an educator that changed my life by believing in me and helping me believe in myself.
In my professional development presentations, I layout and outline the strategy he used and how you can apply those same strategies to reengage the young students you work with everyday.