A little appreciation and a sense of belonging from mentors may be helpful in reducing adolescents’ destructive behaviour and delinquent activities, says a new study, emphasising the importance of mentoring the youth. The study revealed that of the natural mentors the respondents identified, teachers or coaches at their school had a significant impact on reducing dangerous behaviour.
“If you are made to feel useful and important to others, especially in this case by a non-kin and education-based mentor, then you are more likely to have a reduction in delinquency and dangerous behaviour,” said lead author, Margaret Kelley from the Department of American Studies at the University of Kansas in the US.
The findings may be encouraging for educators, parents and those who work with youths, especially in trying to prevent at-risk adolescents from heading down a path of delinquency and dangerous behaviour that could jeopardise their future.
“Making them feel appreciated and providing a sense of belonging for them at this crucial point in their adolescence can change those trajectories,” Kelley said, in the paper published in the journal Children and Youth Services Review. Further, the research showed males found guidance and advice from their mentors while women tended to receive emotional nurturing. The study also indicated the importance of female mentors in serving as positive role models, as well as the importance of helping children establish non-kin mentoring relationships early, Kelley said.