Goal Setting with Teens: 5 Principles & 5 Aspects to Preparing for a Bright Future

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In my last blog, “Where Did My Baby Go? 4 Ways to Deal with Raising Teens…and Still Love Them,” one tip was goal setting.

Goal setting is a lifelong skill that will guide your child through the darkest of situations.

Goals give hope.  Goals give light at the end of that deep, dark tunnel.  Goals give focus.  Goals motivate and inspire.  Goals achieve results.

Our children will one day be on their own…if they are not already.  When they are, they need to have the tool of goal setting in their “toolbelts.”  Dr. Edwin Locke, an American psychologist and pioneer in goal-setting theory, and his research partner, Dr. Gary Latham, surmised 5 principles for setting goals:

  1. Clarity
  2. Challenge
  3. Commitment
  4. Feedback
  5. Task complexity

CLARITY

clarity-goal

Help your teen set clear, attainable goals.  Everyone needs to see positive results.  Have your teen write down his goals.  Putting it in writing helps make it clearer.

CHALLENGE

Challenge-goals

Help your teen set goals that will challenge him….ones that will make him reach for his full potential.  Challenge involves risk.  A small amount of risk is healthy.  Risk and challenge involve uncertainty, and this can be alarming to a teen. Help him to set challenging goals and follow through to the end result so that he can see the awesome benefits of meeting the challenging goal.

COMMITMENT

COMMITMENT-GOALS

Help your child set goals and stay committed to them.  Never give up.  There is always a way, under, or around, or through.  Sometimes the challenging road to success is littered with potholes and detours, but commitment shows true grit, especially as the goals become more challenging.  Teach your teen to never give up!

FEEDBACK

FEEDBACK-GOALSConstructive criticism is a tough bullet for some people to bite.  Teach your teen how to look at the “man in the mirror” and make true assessments of their current situation.  Have they reached their goal?  If the goal has not been met, what are issues standing in the way, and what are steps to take to successfully meet the goal this time?  Teach him how to accept the feedback of others and how to use this as a gauge of genuine success or failure.

TASK COMPLEXITYTASKCOMPLEXITY--GOALS

Ensure your teen has adequate time to complete complex tasks and meet his goal.  If stress or frustration arise, sit down with your teen, and take an inventory of the current situation, analyzing where things went wrong and determining how to fix these issues.  If necessary, especially in the beginning, break up more complex tasks into smaller chunks so that your teen sees and feels some success along the way.  What is more frustrating than feeling like you’re spinning your wheels in a million directions!

 

SMART Goals

Locke also coined the idea of SMART goals.

S—Specific

M—Measurable

A—Attainable

R—Relevant

T—Time-bound


Have your teen honestly ask himself the following questions regarding the goal:

  1. Is the goal specific?
  2. Is the goal measurable?
  3. Is this goal attainable?
  4. Is this goal relevant in his life?
  5. Are the time constraints for this goal realistic?

Begin with baby steps, even in middle school, especially in middle school, and gradually increase the levels of goals you help your teen set.  In the end, your child, his future wife, his future boss, his future children, etc., will all thank you for teaching him effective goal setting strategy.  Goal setting leads to great success in all areas of life.  While you’re at it, what are your goals for the next 6 months?  The next year?  The next 5 years? The next decade?  You are never too old to set goals.  Reach for the sky!

 

All the best as we reach for our goals,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

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Where Did My Baby Go? 4 Ways to Deal with Raising Teens..and Still Love Them

What happened to my baby

Shares 6

One precious day you hold your beautiful, sweet baby.  It seems like just a few days down the road, and this sweet baby is gone.  He doesn’t want you to talk to him and really doesn’t want to be in the same room with you.  Every now and again, you see a faint hint of that sweet baby boy when he has faced disappointment and really needs you.  The next thing you know it’s Jekyll and Hyde, and he’s back to being the monster who invaded your home. 

Why, you ask, is my baby acting like this?  What did I do wrong? 

Short answer:  your baby is going through the greatest growth spurt in his life since infancy.  However, this time it is not just physical growth.  He is growing at an extremely quick rate in the following areas as well:  emotional, social, and intellectual.  This is what makes teens “weird;” they struggle with dealing with all of these changes that are lumped onto them at one time. It’s easy for you to see the physical changes.  These other changes, however, are of the mind and therefore abstract to the human eye.

Pull up your granny panties, mom, for this will be a struggle for a few years!

Here are some solid tips to make your life easier during this years and to make it easier to love your baby, as you raise your teen:

1.         Goal Setting—

Teach your child to set goals.  Part of intellectual growth during the teen years is the deeper development of abstract thought.  Laymen’s terms…they have the ability to think deeper…farther beyond today.   Often, their selfishness makes it appear they cannot.  Try them out. 

I remember when my son and daughter were in middle school.  One day we were in the car, and they were arguing.  I made them each stop and write down their goals for life.  For them, at that moment, it was a competition.  However, they really thought this out.  Naturally, some of their goals were silly; that’s par for the course with teens, especially younger teens.  However, this beginning conversation on goals set the stage for these two to set attainable goals in the future.  It focused their energy on something positive!  And it has given them a life skill that will make them successful adults.

2.       Talks—

When your teen is acting like a monster, it makes them hard to be around.  However, this is that same sweet baby who learned to walk, talk, potty, read, ride a bike….  They just have bigger problems.  This is where the emotional comes into play.  This is when they need you to really listen and offer tidbits of advice.

The big “P”, puberty, comes into the lives of teens and often creates chaos in their lives.  I’m in my 40’s and still have emotional issues during that time of the month.   This emotional change in teens is confusing to them and often makes them irrational.  I can usually tell when my daughter is about to start.  Same old classic symptoms.  And boys aren’t immune to these changes.  Life, though, has taught boys to be macho, and when they feel emotions creep up, it is often hard for them to handle it. 

Offering tidbits of advice is not a lecture.  Have you ever sat in a college lecture?  After some point in time, the words can blur together.  Same goes with lectures with a teen.  Give them tidbits…just enough to sink in.  Talk to them, but most of all, listen to them.  Don’t get so busy in your life that you aren’t listening to your teens. I know they are difficult to be around, but listen to them.

3.       Encouragement—

Part of life is risk-taking.   You only want to see your teen taking part in positive risks.  Believe me, there are more negative risks than you know out there for our teens, risks that we don’t even see and cannot fathom.  The digital age has created these.

Encourage your teen to be brave and take positive risks to better himself.  Currently, my son, a junior in high school, is going through the college search.  He is an extremely accomplished wrestler, competing year-round.  However, he shows signs of fear of his college career.  I helped him get in touch with several college wrestling coaches, showing him that he is doing the work, and can do this.  Sometimes, although a teen has deeper intellectual thought, you have to put things in front of them.  My mother-in-law used to say, “put your finger on it.”  Same idea.  Now, he is studying for the SAT, preparing for college visits, looking at pros and cons of different colleges. 

Remember, in a short time, your teen will be an adult.  Encouragement of an adult is much different than that of a small child.  Same goes for a teen.  It’s not about lollipops and stickers.  Although every now and again a Dr. Pepper helps my boy.  The encouragement holds different forms at this age.

4.       Consistency—

Have you ever gotten so busy at work and with life that you don’t make time for the simple things?  Teens, just like infants, toddlers, and small kids, need consistency.  Heck, adults do too!  Not all things in life need to be planned.  Spontaneity can be an awesome thing!  How you love your teen, how you talk with and encourage your teen, and how you groom them into awesome adults must be consistent. 

In our home, a rule is a rule.  And rules must be obeyed.  Reality….everyone has rules to follow.  Even the boss has to follow federal and state laws.  Same goes for teens.  Don’t set rules that you are unwilling to enforce.  Be consistent with all your kids.  If one has chores, all should have chores.  If one pays for a car, the others should as well.  You are the first example to your teen of how parents should be.  Lead your teen, who will be, before you know it, an adult, a spouse, and a parent. 

No matter how tough the road gets, stick to these tips with your teen, and in the end, you will be pleasantly surprised.  Remember, your teen can do lots of things now, but he is not an adult yet, and still needs you!  Don’t let him down!

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

 

 

 

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