Mentors are important and play a special role in our lives. Unfortunately, it is far too easy for mentors to replace mothers, or fathers, in a child’s life. God has given parents a special calling and responsibility that mentors cannot replace in the life of a teen or young adult. What do you do when the mentor-mentee relationship lines have been blurred to the point that the mentee sees the mentor as an authority above the parent?
When I was first starting to mentor teens, I quickly found times where a teen was listening to me more than they were listening to their moms. She’d say something like, “I can’t talk to my mom like I can talk to you.” Red flag! Warning! Be sure to explore issues like this with your mentees when they arise. As a mentor, you have the responsibility to go deeper and get to the heart of the matter. The ultimate goal is for the mentee to live life with their parents.
Here are two important things to keep in mind as a mentor:
- Always be mindful of the parent behind the child.
- Remember that you’re not getting the full picture of the dynamics within the home.
If you’re a mentor, be mindful of your influence. Always direct the mentee back to their parents. It’s an honor to be used by God to mentor others, but don’t ever allow yourself to replace the parent. That is a sacred God-given place reserved for the mother and father. Help the mentee see that you don’t have the final authority that their parent has. It can also be helpful to show the mentee how they might be contributing to the angst in the relationship. Give her tools to help rebuild the relationship with the parents.
“Don’t allow yourself to be a mentor that replaces a mother.”Connie Albers
Are you a mother who has been replaced by a mentor in the life of a child? First, you have to avoid mocking, marginalizing, ridiculing, or besmirching. It is difficult to hear your child say, “Coach says I need to do this…” when you’ve been saying the same thing for years! If you are not kind towards the person who has influence in your child’s life, they will put up more of a wall between the two of you.
If you’re been replaced by a mentor, pursue the heart of your child! Your next best steps are:
- Interject where you can when asked
Sometimes mentors are just around for a season. A coach can push your child in a way that you can’t. So, get to know that person. Keep your heart from becoming resentful towards the person trying to help your child navigate life. Mentors have their place in the lives of your children. At the same time, don’t go to the mentor and “out” your child either. Instead, pray that the mentor would see the situation clearly.
Mentors, please remember that there is a parent on the other end behind that child you’re mentoring. If you’re the mom who has been pushed out, ask God to heal the relationship, keep your heart tender, and be thankful that someone is pouring truth into your child.
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