A lack of self-esteem is a barrier to academic and social success and a gateway to a variety of behavioral issues. But participation trophies aren’t the answer. Neither are compliments from parents. Quite perceptively, children believe that their parents are biased. And even when parent are accurate, their praise is often meaningless because children and adolescents believe their parents have to think they’re great.

That’s why relationships with adults and older youth who are not part of the immediate family are so important.  A youth develops self-confidence when someone who doesn’t have to care about them, cares about them, and when someone who doesn’t have to think highly of them, expresses that very sentiment.

But there’s another reason why mentoring programs are the perfect vehicles for self-esteem development.  Good mentoring programs give real-world opportunities to succeed; opportunities to develop talents and produce tangible accomplishments.

The moment someone experiences authentic success is the moment they truly begin to believe in themselves.