Steps to Stardom: Helping Your Child Meet Her Goals
Teaching your child personal goal setting can help him find his passion. Even if he doesn't, he will have begun exploring and defining possible areas of interest. At least, he will learn how to make things happen. He can use goal setting as a tool to change his life, improve himself, and recognize his own power to make his dreams come true. Even if he doesn't use the procedures now, they will be available to him in the future.
Children in Charge
Children are usually willing to devote time to goal setting once they realize that it can help them realize their own hopes, wishes, and aspirations, rather than a trick to get them to accomplish their parents' and teachers' aims. For your child to benefit, you may need to walk him through several examples so he can see how the process works. Many youngsters are very private about their goals (it is, after all, "personal" goal setting) and don't want anyone to know what they are, so it may be better to teach the process by making up a goal and walking your child through the steps instead of using one of his goals as an example. Consider sharing one of your goals with your child and having him help you figure out some steps you might take to try to accomplish it.
When teaching your child to set goals, you must honor his aspirations, even if his goal is to expand his collection of comic books and you want the goal to be doing dishes without having to be reminded. When teaching goal setting, you must honor your tween's aspirations even though you personally dislike his goal. Moreover, you must encourage him no matter how preposterous his goal seems to you. Instead of considering the problems, setbacks, defeats, and wasted money, time, and effort, you must do what you can to help and trust that he will come to terms with any setbacks and defeats that happen along the way.
My junior chess champ wants to quit. Should I let her?
See if she'll agree to one more month. Then, let it be her decision whether to continue. If you feel disappointed, perhaps you should be playing yourself. By all means, find a club for adults and join.
In an effort to protect their children from disappointment, some parents encourage them not to get too excited or hope for too much. Super tweens must let their drive and determination carry them forward, and that is hard to do if their number-one supporters discourage them. When difficulties arise, a child may decide one of his goals isn't worth the struggle and give it up. However, if he finds his calling or something he loves enough to consider worth many sacrifices, he may accomplish amazing things. If your eleven-year-old turned his passion for comic books into a Web site that brought in thousands of dollars' worth of business from sponsors, advertisers, or contests, you might take a positive view of his venture. He would have gained the equivalent of a college degree in business, even though his original goal was just to buy a few more comic books so he could read them before tossing them into the trash. Even if his interest in comic books fizzles a week later and he decides that his new goal is to take swimming lessons, he will have learned an important lesson: how to set goals and brainstorm steps that can be taken to achieve them. Just being given permission to consider what he wants as opposed to what everyone else wants for him can empower your tween.
From The Everything Tween Book Copyright © 2003, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.
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