Youth have been disproportionately impacted by the social, educational, and economic impacts of Covid-19. Many studies report mental health deterioration among youth due to the pandemic control measures. Research states stress, related to the pandemic and social distancing, was found to be associated with loneliness, increased anxiety and depression.
Psychologist and global youth mentoring expert, Professor Jean Rhodes states: “Caring connections and opportunities to interact with teachers and mentors are even more essential.”
Positive face-to-face relationships are key to the health and well-being of our youth in a post-pandemic world. CHOICES: Encouraging Youth to Achieve Greatness inspires and guides parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, mentors, and youth workers—significant adults—to use the proven CHOICES framework to motivate youth to achieve greatness or reach their potential no matter what their circumstances might be. Hundreds of tips and strategies to connect with and inspire youth are shared in this user-friendly book, together with true stories of Robin Cox’s interactions with some of the teenagers he has mentored in different countries to give credibility to the CHOICES framework.
Proven education and youth mentoring strategies are linked with recent adolescent brain research. CHOICES invites readers to reflect on their own adolescent journey to appreciate some of the challenges today’s youth face, and reminds them of the importance of positive relationships in the lives of increasingly anxious, confused, or underachieving young people. CHOICES offers messages of hope to all who wish to be an optimistic voice in the life of our youth. Tips and strategies linked to goal-setting, effective communication, and resiliency can enhance the quality of teaching, mentoring, and coaching in a global community in which most youth are desperate to be heard and supported.
Examples of some of the topics covered in CHOICES will be linked to these quick tips:
- Never forget the power of an empathetic adult in the life of a young person. Allow them to grieve and to share their experiences and feelings. Show compassion and care.
- Encourage positive peer support.
- Encourage daily exercise – jogging, walking, walking the dog, playing tennis/basketball/netball, or go and throw a frisbee – whatever you are allowed to do safely outdoors. And, don’t wear a mask when exercising!
- Encourage them to eat well—a healthy and balanced diet is essential.
- Discuss the importance of between nine and ten hours of sleep each night with any technology either switched off or left in another room.
- Encourage time out—time for reflection, meditation, yoga (or whatever their faith or culture might practice), and so on. This promotes a sense of calm.
- Encourage the development of a hobby or tackling something new—a new interest, perhaps? Hands-on activities share a message of a return to normalcy.
- When you are able to chat, make sure you also focus on fun and humour. Expect a roller-coaster of emotions and, as you do so, reassure them this is normal, given the experiences they have been going through.
Bill Gavin, former New Zealand Secondary School Principal and founding member of The New Zealand Youth Mentoring Network writes:
“Robin Cox has a wealth of experience gained over many years of successful practice in youth mentoring. His books are always full of hints and practical advice for mentors to follow. CHOICES is a sensible, credible, and relevant handbook that provides a wealth of practical approaches for successful youth mentoring.”
Dr. Susan Weinberger, President, Mentor Consulting Group, writes: “Making good decisions when faced with possibilities is one of the premier challenges we all face in life. When young people feel appreciated and cared for, they meet challenges and do even better than expected. CHOICES is a tool that provides youth with the ability to probe, question, debate, and feel supported. Through the exercises, trusting relationships are formed that lead to making the best choices.”
This book is available from the publisher, Wipf & Stock, Amazon and Kindle. Those living in New Zealand can purchase it directly from Robin Cox when they click here.
Mentoring Matters website where there are many free resources, tips and strategies: www.yess.co.nz