Kids tend to be big dreamers. When you ask them what they want to be when they grow up, half of them say “astronaut” despite the fact that less than one in a million people actually do. But, despite this, goals are an important thing to have. They’re what keep you keen and they help to propel you forwards in life, driving you to fulfill your full potential.
Getting to the promised land isn’t easy, though. When the teenage years hit, things can take a turn for the worse, especially if your child is in abusive relationships at school. The question for parents is how to help their children set goals in an effective way, despite all these troubles. Here’s some advice from the experts.
Confront Unrealistic Goals
Kids often have lofty goals, but sometimes they’re utterly unrealistic. For instance, some children set themselves the goals of being a great tennis champion, but they don’t understand that the chances of rising to the top are almost infinitely small. Other set themselves goals that go completely counter to reality. For instance, one woman reporting on PBS said that she had a child who had a cat allergy who had set herself the goal of buying a cat.
Parents need to be aware that sometimes their teens will need a reality check. If your teen is a great singer, then there’s every chance that they might attain their goal of being a pop star. But if they can’t sing, tell them. Letting them know where their limits lie from an early age saves them from pursuing the wrong goals when they get older.
Set Specific Goals
Julie, a mom from Virginia, said that she was struggling to get her son to drive. The problem wasn’t so much the driving itself, but more the fact that “learning to drive” seemed like such an enormous goal it put her son off. As a result, she looked for ways to break up the task into smaller intermediate goals. Her first task was to find a way to help her son practice his permit test. She found a site that allowed her son to do permit test practice online. Next, she got really specific about goals. She challenged him to consistently get a better score each time he took the test so that he could be confident when it came to taking the real test. Finally, she helped him set goals to perfect individual maneuvers, like parallel parking and 3-point turns. Breaking the process down in this way helped her son to make the process of learning to drive more manageable.
Choose Goals Which Are Just Out Of Reach
Psychologists are beginning to understand the psychology of motivation. What is it that motivates people to get better and better at something. The conventional wisdom has been to set lofty goals and to see how far you get towards them. But new research suggests that the best way to motivate people is to set goals that are just out of reach. These goals don’t seem impossible to obtain since they’re within sight, but they’re also not too easy to achieve, avoiding boredom.