Setting Limits with Your Mentee

Setting Limits with Your Mentee

  • Children will want and need limits placed on their behavior. Limits provide security.
  • Children will test limits frequently. It is crucial to be consistent with your limits.
  • It will be important to set limits right at the start of the relationship.
  • Setting limits will clarify your role as an adult friend.

Do . . . . .

  • Find out what the child thinks is acceptable behavior and then state your expectations.
  • State the consequences for not respecting those limits. Remember… the only behavior you can control is your own. State what you will do, then follow through.
  • Have the consequence fit the situation.
    • "If you spill your milk, I will not give you any more."
    • "If you can not be nice to the cat, I'll have to put her away."
    • "If you do not stop poking Jimmy in the head with the pencil, I will take it away and we will stop this project."
  • Stress that the mentee is making the choice. If he/she chooses not to listen, he/she has chosen the consequence.
  • Set limits and consequences in advance whenever possible.


Do Not . . . . .

  • Use the loss of the relationship as a consequence.
  • EVER use physical force to set limits.
  • Promise a material reward for good behavior

Remember: You are responsible for the mentee and have a right to set limits when the student is with you. You are the adult…don't be afraid to say "NO". And do not be afraid to use program guidelines as an explanation for why you cannot do something or go somewhere with your mentee.

This page was last updated on June 28, 2021