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Gift of mentorship

April 11, 2017
LeAnn Bates , MOV Parent

By LeAnn Bates

One of the greatest gifts a parent can give his/her child is the gift of healthy adult mentors. Mentorship, as defined by Wikipedia, is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.

A child's first mentor is his or her parent. A parent invests in the child's life by developing a trusting relationship whereby the adult protects, guides, influences and teaches the child. Children by nature are easily influenced. The child is so easily influenced it adapts and learns from the environment around him or her. She or he takes on the values and attitudes modeled and taught by parents. Children are impressionable so we impress upon them our values, morals and opinions by living them out and talking about them.

As children age and mature, reaching a developmental stage of adolescence, they begin to question the morals, values and opinions of their parents. It is important to allow for their exploration and foster analytical thinking skills while still upholding the values and morals you consider best for them. It's a balancing act for sure. Having other adults invested in our children's lives, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, close family friends that will also mentor our children, is a precious gift for their individual development. Most of us with adult children can attest there are times when our children can't or won't hear advise from us but someone else they trust or admire can say the exact same thing as we've said and our children seem to hear it as if it was the first time and it makes sense to them! We scratch our heads and are baffled by this phenomenon. These mentoring relationships are best when they are started in early childhood and grow as the children grow. I am greatly appreciative of the adults who took the time to invest in relationship with my children over the years. They are grown now but I know they still have individuals in their lives they would consider mentors whom they turn to about various life situations. I am thrilled I am still considered one of those trusted souls for each of them! No matter what age your child is, encouraging mentoring relationships for them has lifelong benefits

LeAnn Bates, MEd., LPC is a member of The Counseling and Wellness Center.



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