In our last blog, we talked about how mentoring helps families by teaching mentees life skills that can directly help in the home. In this installment we will look into how one-to-one youth mentoring helps the family dynamic via youth gaining self-esteem and avoiding risky behaviors.
Often kids have a hard time developing self-esteem because they are still developing a sense of self. They look to the media and their peers for examples on how to be. During this period of exploration kids can fall into bad crowds because they are lonely, and they happen to be around groups of people who take part in risky behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, violence etc.
If a child feels an absence of direction, stability or respect in their lives, drugs bring an appeal. Drugs often come with a community who does them. And just like adults, kids want to belong to something bigger than themselves, they want connection.
A mentor can provide a connection that enriches a child’s life and shows them they are not directionless, someone does care about them and they do not need to do drugs etc. to be “cool” because they are inherently awesome just being themselves.
Researchers found that after 18 months of spending time with their Bigs, the Little Brothers and Little Sisters, compared to those children not in our program, were:
- 46% less likely to begin use of illegal drugs
- 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
- 1/3 less likely to hit someone
- Get along better with their families
The removal or avoidance of risky behaviors not only brings stability to the mentee, but also to the family. Parents will worry less and the child will gain more respect and gratitude for their parent/ guardian after gaining more respect for themselves.