PCA News

Effective Goal Setting with Your Teens

Welcome back! The second quarter can be a long stretch before the holidays and although we know that setting goals is an effective way to stay productive and engaged with the tasks before us, goal setting for teens can be overwhelming! Most teens have big goals and dreams but don’t yet have the experience of breaking down and organizing a goal into steps. Big goals like “Get a 4.0 GPA” or “Buy a car” can end in disappointment or abandoning goal setting all together! 

At the start of each quarter I have been in the practice of walking my advisory through a goal setting activity that we revisit periodically throughout the year and assess where we are. If done without planning and intention, a goal could unintentionally hurt a growth mindset. Yet, structured goal setting can support a growth mindset by helping teens experience their own abilities and encourage them towards leadership. Goals need to be well-defined, measurable and include a support plan!

In addition to helping teens develop a growth mindset, structured goal setting creates other benefits;

  • It teaches teens to manage and organize their time and tasks
  • It can increase motivation, self-efficacy, and sense of achievement
  • It shows teens how to utilize others for accountability and inspiration
  • It gives parents an opportunity to partner with teens in supporting their passions and interests

How do you help your teen set effective goals? 
1.)  Be sure it’s their goal, not yours
2.)  Partner with them to support their interests
3.)  Introduce goal setting as a tool to support their dreams during a time of non-conflict
4.)  Allow them to be in control
5.)  Assist them in framing their goals to be specific and measurable
6.)  Help them to see a deeper value to setting goals; it’s more about the journey than the destination!

It’s important for teens to know that sometimes a goal involves someone else’s decision: for example, making a sports team, being accepted into a specific college, getting an A, or winning a game. “I want to make thebaseball team” is admirable but may ultimately depend on a coach’s decision. Instead, help your teen identify the qualities and skills it would take for them to get onto the team, be accepted into the college, win the game, or get the grade they desire! You can help your teen to write their goals down, identify an accountability partner, and schedule a time to revisit or revise their goals!

Let’s start this quarter off with teens who have vision, a plan and a growth-mindset!