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Teaching Teens To Set and Meet Their Goals

Posted Sep 18 2012 2:00pm
Retro Parenting

Now that the school year is in full swing, it’s a good time to think about goal setting.  Teenagers need a lot of practice in goal setting. The practice will teach them what happens when they practice good goal setting and what happens when they do not. Learning now will assist them in the future with college or technical training for their future career. In fact, I think goal setting is one of the most important skills you can teach your children.

People need goal setting skills for every aspect of life. It will help a teenager get through each class in high school, as well as keep them healthy and on the right track toward adulthood. Goal setting will enable your teenager to go farther than they ever thought possible in life as they experience success. But, how do you teach goal setting to a teenager?

Be the example – Most of the time children and teenagers learn by the example they are shown. If you practice good goal setting behaviors yourself, it’s likely your child will pick up some of those skills.

Talk about it – It’s really important that you talk to you kids about your own goal setting and your methods of goal setting and why you do it. Using real examples will make the idea click. Such as if you wanted to purchase a new car, you would set a financial goal to save a specific amount of money during a definite time frame doing explicit actions to get the money.

Explain that goals should be realistic – Every goal made should be challenging, but realistic too. For instance, if you don’t have a job, but you want to buy a brand new car, well, that’s not very realistic. So the first goal to make in this instance is to get a job. But, a getting a job is the first step in the goal of purchasing a car.

Start with small goals – Let your children start learning about goal setting with something small and realistic based on their age. If your child has a part time job and has a goal of buying a new wardrobe for school, help them with setting a budget and setting an amount needed to save for the summer to buy the wardrobe. You can start even younger with reading assignments. For instance, if a child wants to read a 300 page book in two weeks, show them how to figure out how many pages they must read per day to reach their goal of finishing in two weeks.

Break each goal down – Each goal that you make should have easy bite-sized steps that lead, like stepping stones, to the next level, until eventually you reach your goal.  Like with the example above about getting a new car without a job. You have to go backwards towards today, and reality, and realize that your first step is really getting a job. But, what is the first step to getting a job? Applying for a job. See how far back this can go?

There will be roadblocks – Teenagers need to know that there are always going to be road blocks in front of almost every goal that they seek to achieve. But, once you learn to backtrack and reset a goal to the first bite sized step, you’ll know how to overcome any obstacle by simply resetting the goal to something more realistic and reasonable based on the reality of today.

Having teens set and reach goals is very important.  It helps them realize that they can achieve anything they want to if they are willing to work for it. These achievements can be anything from making the varsity basketball team, getting an “A” on a term paper, getting accepted to their college of choice, starting their dream career and so much more. Having goals will not only allow your teen to dream, but it will also give them the motivation they need to reach those dreams.

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