Although much of the research highlights mentor-initiated termination, the mentee sometimes puts an end to things. Some adolescents might present the termination as a fait accompli, while others broach the subject more tentatively. An adolescent’s stated desire to end the relationship should not always be taken at face value, however. As many mentors can attest, threatening to end the relationship is a very effective way for youth to signal discontent. However, once it is clear that the youth is determined to leave, the mentor should not attempt to influence the decision.

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Get program assistance.

Mentors should talk with caseworkers to become aware of their own feelings of sadness, anger, rejection, and, in some instances, relief. This awareness will enable mentors to more openly discuss the impending termination with their mentees.

Understand the reasons.

Youth sometimes withdraw because they feel better, or because the relationship has progressed to a more emotionally challenging level. Others might fear that they are letting their mentors down and chose to withdraw from the relationship rather than face their mentors’ disappointment.

Pick up on early cues

Some youth withdraw from the relationship by not responding to phone calls or chronically standing up their mentors. These sorts of default terminations can sometimes be avoided when mentors and caseworkers pick up on cues that might signal a mentee’s disengagement (for example, frequent lateness, missed meetings, and distracted, perfunctory responses to open-ended questions).