Goal Setting for Teens

Goal Setting for Teens

They should either create their own or be in agreement – Goal setting for teens

As a parent to a teenager, setting goals for them, is not the best thing for them. As a matter of fact, a large percentage of goals created, managed, and enforced by parents are never fulfilled as intended. Without the buy-in of the teenager, goals become diluted and forgotten. Worst, parent-created goals for their teen can damage, or worsen, a relationship between you and your teen.

Being honest as a parent, ask yourself this question:

How many of your goals for your son or daughter have been reached?

Your goals for them might not be the goals they are interested in achieving for themselves.

For example, you might want your teenage son to begin the process of seeking a part-time job for the summer. Your intended goal is for him to learn about job interviewing, resumé writing, self-discipline and time management – learning about the “real world”.

Yet he might oblige, half-heartedly, by calling around a few prospective employers (in your presence), and even go to an interview or two, yet, his goal is different. He might just want enough money for the next Call of Duty – Black Ops III video game release, and then quit his job.

A teen’s reasoning for a created goal needs to be respected by you as a parent. For they are more likely to strive for their goals with passion and motivation, than your goals for them. When you communicate to your teen that their goal is worthy of respect a few things become obvious quickly.

Begin the process today – Goal setting for teens

First, the usual resistance to change that you might have become accustom to when dealing with goal setting for teens has changed – it’s much lower. You are not in your teen’s face threatening and shaming them towards completed objectives – they are beginning to take the lead role in goal setting.

Second, a teen’s self-confidence increases when they believe that you, as a parent, and an adult, respect their decision-making and goal setting processes. Conversations with them about their goals become less hostile and antagonistic. The goaling process now becomes something owned by your teen, and not forced upon them.

Finally, change is difficult for most people, young and old. If your teen sees in you respect for their goals, motivation for change increases. They feel confident that you are supporting them, and protecting them not from inevitable mistakes and setbacks, but from those catastrophic mistakes that teens find difficult to recover from.

When a teen becomes confident that they can set goals for change in their individual life, this life skill is carried forward into their adulthood. Decision-making, which many adults find difficult at times, becomes less scary for them.

Ease into the process of goal setting for teens

Start small with your teen. Respect their goal just a little more than you might at this moment. As they demonstrate to themselves, and to others, that they can set reasonable goals, then increase your respect just a little more. Ease a child and then a teen into the independence that they crave. Having your child experiencing the small successes with goal setting over the years is the stuff of quality parenting, and a self-sustaining and well-balanced young adult.

Photo credit: Leo Hidalgo via Flickr.com – Goal setting for teens


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