How to Help Your Adolescent Set Goals

How to Help Your Adolescent Set Goals

by | Jul 26, 2021 | Parenting Adolescents, Trending, Tween Times


Setting goals with your adolescent can be tricky. Over-laying your goals on them and expecting them to acquiesce is not an effective approach. Their quests for independence and autonomy make them ripe for pushing back. Just like you and me, they don’t like being bossed around.

Talking to them about setting their goals is better: you aren’t telling them what needs to happen. Instead, you invite your tween or teen to chat with you to establish their goals and list the necessary steps to achieve them. It’s their voice and ideas being honored and respected by you that motivates them to act and follow through. Plus, knowing you are curious and care without micromanaging empowers your relationship.

Here are the four areas for you to consider before you begin the conversations.


The Big Four in Goal Setting  


Clarity – setting specific and sustainable goals

Getting good grades is too ambiguous but going through each subject and setting a specific number grade establishes exact targets. The rocket scientist at your house could easily earn a 98 in science, but for the student who struggles with grammar and writing an 82 in English is attainable.


Challenge – deciding what needs to be added or stopped

Forget the lecturing. It’s much more viable and valuable to ask your child to tell you what they will need to do to achieve each goal. When they generate the ideas, their ownership and accountability increase.


Commitment – staying motivated

Much of staying committed to goals is fighting resistance, rationalization, and distraction.  It’s important to acknowledge that more pleasurable activities will be tempting. On the other hand, it’s significant to recognize that delaying gratification contributes to success. These are truths for all of us.


Feedback – measuring progress and adjusting

We get a boost when we know we are on course: seeing that we’ve lost weight on the scale or our children monitoring their grades online. Acknowledging progress motivates us to continue down the road to the final TA-DA!  Occasionally a goal needs tweaking, and this is okay because we don’t want to waste time on what is not possible.

Lean in and have conversations about goals. You have the leadership skills to develop this with your emerging adult followed by opportunities to celebrate successes.



©JoAnn Schauf, MS, LLC Your Tween & You  2021 All rights reserved