Family context.

The likelihood of a child’s or adolescent’s forming strong ties with mentors may be affected by a range of processes in the family, including the encouragement and opportunities that parents provide for the development of such ties. Families characterized by sensitivity to others’ ideas and needs and open expression of views are more likely to encourage adolescents to become involved in positive relationships outside the family (Cooper, Grotevant, & Condon, 1983).

Parents who actively cultivate connections and channel their children to community-based recreational and social programs also may increase the likelihood that their children will form beneficial relationships with adults beyond the nuclear family.

Mentoring programs that reach out to parents tend to have greater success in shaping youth outcomes. Other family-related factors, including stability and mobility, can facilitate or hinder the establishment and maintenance of strong ties.