The process of matching a ‘little’ with a ‘big’ in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization requires some time and careful consideration. However, once the pairing is made – what we refer to as the ‘match relationship’ – there are three very distinct stages that your friendship will take with the ‘little’ brother or sister that you have been matched with. Here are some mentoring tips that go with each of the stages:
Stage 1 – Early Development
The bulk of the time spent in this early part of your match relationship will be spent getting to know each other. You will find that as a result, trust with be built along with routines the pair of you will follow. These suggestions will assist with your mentoring during the early development stage:
- Learn about your Little such as likes, dislikes, friends, favourite activities, etc.
- Be consistent and flexible. Follow through on things you say you will do.
- Be patient and understanding as the relationship hits highs and lows.
Stage 2 – Growth Stage
This is an interesting time in the relationship between Bigs and Littles. Boundaries may get tested, and pushed to the limit to see if you are going to last as a Big. Here are additional hints to help during the growth stage:
- Be reliable and consistent in time spent together. This may help the Little open up with you and share more about themselves with you.
- Acknowledge accomplishments with praise.
- Utilize the Match Support Specialist for assistance.
- When giving advice or suggestions, focus on reasons and logic.
Stage 3 – Maturity Stage
When you get to this part of the match relationship, Bigs and Littles will have made a bond and are comfortable around each other. You will feel like friends and good buddies. Here are some other tips to assist with the maturity stage:
- Focus on long-term activities and interests that can be shared and enjoyed together.
- Draw from past shared experiences to discuss, celebrate and revisit.
- Explore new things that can be shared together to increase those fun times.
Do You Feel As If You Could Be A Big Brother or Sister?
The Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization can always use more participants. If you have time you would like to use in mentoring a young person, contact us in Prince George for more information. If you know a young person who can benefit from being in a match relationship with a Big, contact us and we will be happy to assist.