Decision Making - Introduction

Decision Making

You and your mentee will be faced with many decisions and opportunities. Here, you’ll find guidance on how to make child-focused, ethical decisions in different mentoring situations.

Being a mentor involves making decisions with regard to your Little Brother or Little Sister on a regular basis. Certain decisions are obvious (e.g. not to purposefully do harm), but mentors will sometimes encounter ambiguous situations that require more nuanced decisions. The purpose of this training module is to offer you tools and guidance when you encounter such situations, in order to help you make decisions that will positively impact your mentee and your match.

While the module tries to cover as many bases as possible, it’s always important to use your own judgment and to keep in mind the age and developmental stage of your mentee, as well as the stage of your match. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact the program staff at your local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency.

In completing this module you will:

  • Do an exercise where you describe how you would handle common situations that arise in mentoring. You'll be able to compare your answers against those provided.
  • Learn the importance of keeping commitments you make to your mentee, and the potential negative impact that breaking commitments can have.
  • Come to understand that acknowledging and being respectful of differences between you, your mentee, and their family is critical to a successful mentoring friendship.
  • See how creating and respecting boundaries can foster growth and learning for your mentee, and prevent problems from arising in a match.
  • Learn how to use your role as an adult and mentor to effectively benefit your mentee.
  • Get important information on how to handle the disclosure of sensitive information that your mentee may share with you.

 Some of the concepts and guidance provided in this module are based on scholarly research conducted on ethical decision making in mentoring relationships. For further reading, consult the reference list at the end of this module.

  • Posted June 2012
  • Thank you to Dr. Renée Spencer, our Research Partner on this module
  • Rhodes, J., Liang, B. & Spencer, R. First Do No Harm: Ethical Principles for Youth Mentoring Relationships Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 2009, Vol. 40, No. 5, 452–458 © 2009 American Psychological Association