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Mothers Finding A New Meaning for Mentoring

Mentoring is a word with many meanings. In business mentoring is used to groom up-and-coming employees deemed to have the potential to move up into leadership roles. For children who are having social problems mentoring is seen as a solution to bring them back into the straight and narrow. But today mentoring is being challenged to move into a new position in parenting. A role or position for every mother to use. Mentoring is an effective tool for enhancing positive development and growth in children...that's any child.

Mentoring is a structured and trusting relationship that brings young people together with caring individuals who offer guidance, support, and encouragement aimed at developing the competence and character of the young people involved.

Although it is a leap in thinking. It is a forward looking leap. Mothers can bring themselves to a place where mentoring is acceptable for their children. Mentoring programs can vary in their goals for each mother. One mentoring goal can emphasis meeting language and cultural tasks; one can be structured to have only women or only men involved; others can be based on research and be carried out only based on that research.

However, according to research done by Childtrends.org in 2007, mentoring programs are more likely to succeed if they are driven more by the needs and interests of youth rather than by the expectations of the adult volunteers. Their Research indicates that success in mentoring is related to high levels of contact between the mentor and mentee, as well as by the commitment of the young person to the process. What child doesn't need to feel as though they are participating on the level of planning, designing, and follow up on a project for it to be a positive experience for them; similar to how a cubscout benefits by involvement in all the stages of making a Pinewood Derby race car.

The Childtrends.org research goes on to say that there is evidence showing that mentoring relationships lasting less than three months can actually produce negative outcomes for young people, there is strong evidence showing that longer lasting mentoring relationships can produce positive outcomes. The longer the mentoring relationship lasts, the more positive the outcomes. Some experimental studies find that young people who participate in mentoring relationships reap a number of positive educational, health, and social benefits. These benefits include:

1. Educational Achievement: Mentored youth experience positive academic returns.
2. Health and Safety: Mentoring helps prevent substance abuse and may reduce some negative risk behaviors among youth.
3. Social and Emotional Development: Youth participating in mentoring relationships exhibit more positive social attitudes toward their peers and their parents.

What type of children can benefit from mentoring?

Almost all children can benefit from mentoring. Possibly best are those children 5 to 12 years old. The overall goal in using this mentoring approach by mothers today is to achieve a close bond between the young person and an adult.

The issue however is where do moms find mentors for their kids. Mentors can be right infront of you and it just takes thinking about it to realize, "Oh yes, Uncle Carl is a Karate Instructor can help my son with his self confidence problem over time."

For improving reading and writing, college students might be an ideal group to search for a mentor. Also recruiting friends with a speciality in a certain area is an avenue to also pursue.

It is very important what type of mentor can work with your child. Sometimes it might be a mentoring group that is needed. But in this case the mentoring group would need to be as carefully selected.

The goals of group mentoring for young people are often socialization, academic support, building selfesteem, goal setting, and bonding with peers.

In short, mentoring makes sense on several levels for mothers in any socio-economic group as an enhanced method of parenting.

About the Author
Sarah Madison. Ms. Madison is a mother of two and writes for online magazines for women.

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