7i1ii. MONITORING -- Monitoring Matches: Best Practices

Stage 2: Relationship Development (spending time together)

Honour the Commitment - Committed mentors understand that persistence is important in mentoring. Such commitment flows naturally from a resolute belief that mentors are capable of making a significant and positive impact on the life of another. This belief is not grounded in naive conceptions of what it means to be a mentor. Rather, it is anchored in the knowledge that mentoring can be a challenging endeavor requiring significant investments of time and energy.

Boundaries Are Determined By Your Program Model and Program Expectations

Beyond the basic physical, emotional and social boundary recommendations, boundaries will vary depending on the type of program: site-based compared to community-based where mentors and mentees meet on their own. For example, those who meet on their own may share phone numbers, text, and email.

Understand and Establish Boundaries - After a mentoring relationship has been established and the mentor and mentee become more comfortable with each other, additional challenges might present. Mentors should not assume something is wrong with the relationship if these rough periods occur occasionally. High-risk mentees have more risk factors and may be dealing in his/her own way with a life event that has affected how he/she communicates or acts. It is also very important for mentors to think in advance about setting appropriate boundaries with their mentees. When working with young people, there are DO’s and DON’Ts which are prescribed by the nature of the relationship, the context, and other factors specific to the mentee’s age and developmental level.

Mentor should be aware of the three types of boundaries:

  1. Physical
    Mentors should be clear with their mentee about what type of physical contact is appropriate. For example, is it okay for your mentee to give you a hug at the end of your meetings?
  2. Emotional
    Deciding what and how much personal information to share with the mentee can be challenging. The mentee may bring up sensitive issues such as sexual activity or drug use. Mentors need to listen without judging, and remember to keep such conversations confidential unless the mentee or someone else may be harmed. How much information mentors share about themselves will depend upon the age of the mentee and the policies of the mentoring program.
  3. Social
    The mentoring program should have specific guidelines about the meeting schedule the mentor and mentee will follow. Mentors need to be clear about how often and what type of contact is appropriate and how to handle requests by the mentee to meet more often or talk on the phone every day.