Creating Family Goals with Teenagers: A Practical Guide
From the moment our kids are born, we started setting goals for them. But the real magic occurs when we teach our tweens and teens to create and set goals for themselves. Then we can involve our teens in setting goals together as a family. Creating family goals with teenagers will teach teenagers how to set goals, strengthen your family bond, and allow your teens to truly see the up and downs to achieving goals.
I still remember the tough choice my parents presented to us! Several months before Christmas, my parents set us down on the couch, in our orange carpeted living room. And they gave us a choice. We could all go on a nicer ski vacation and have a few Christmas presents. Or we could forgo the ski vacation and receive more Christmas presents. Now, I really like presents, like REALLY like presents. But as a family, we collectively decided to go on the ski vacation.
And because my parents had involved us in the decision making process, the Christmas ski trip felt like a choice, not just something that happened to me. The ski adventure also felt like a gift we were giving ourselves. And that is the power of creating family goals with teenagers
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Understanding Family Goals
When it comes to creating family goals, it’s important to include everyone in the process, especially teenagers. And as your teens become more involved in the beginning phase of setting family goals, they will be way more invested in seeing your family succeed. In this section, we’ll explore the importance of involving teens, having balanced goals, and establishing both short-term and long-term goals.
Why Involve Teenagers in Creating Goals
Involving your teenagers in the process of setting family goals brings numerous benefits.
Teens Will Care About The Success of the Family
By giving your teen a choice in what goals you will tackle next, you give them a voice and help them feel valued and respected. This encourages a greater sense of belonging in your family. Your teens will see themselves as an important part of the family unit and care about the success of the family. And in an age when teens feel disconnected, this is a HUGE win!
As I shared in my ski story, It was hard to forgo more presents. But I understood WHY we were having a smaller Christmas. And I enjoyed the ski trip more knowing it was a “present” we were giving each other!
Teens Learn About Decision-Making
Involving teens in family goal setting also empowers them to develop skills in decision-making, responsibility, and teamwork. It is one thing to talk about creating goals, but when teens play a part of making tough decisions, they will have a better understanding of what is involved.
Honestly, our second son, a teen at the time, was less than impressed with our fixer-upper house buying decision. We had sold the first home we built, and then rented for a year, before sinking all our money into an older house. The old house literally looked liked a haunted house. But the house had more land.
We spent the next year gutting and remodeling the farmhouse back into something beautiful! It was hard back-breaking work! And our teen son expressed his misgivings in our family’s plan.
But our son witnessed us rescue and rebuild the house into a home. We also discussed with him, why we were making the decision to buy a fixer-upper home. And no one was happier for us, than our son, when we later sold that home, making a very nice profit for our family. He saw our crazy, audacious goal come full circle. He understood way more about decision-making because he was part of the decision and the plan executioner.
Teens are Invested in Family Goals
Setting goals as a family, also allows your family to set goals that consider everyone’s unique interests. Setting goals together makes it more likely all family members stay committed and involved in achieving them.
When my husband talked up the idea of digging a pond so we could all have a place to fish and swim, our kids got on board with the idea. It made all the work of building a pond, reseeding the yard, picking out fish, and building a pond deck more fun.
We were ALL looking forward to different aspects of the same goal, so the work felt more worth it. I was envisioning floating in a tube on the pond. Our oldest teen boy was super excited about fishing. And of course, our daughter talked her dad into adding some sand for a “beach” for her!
Setting Balanced Family Goals
As your family sets goals together, it’s essential to consider balance. This means striving for a well-rounded mix of goals about various aspects of life, such as education, relationships, health and wellness, and financial stability.
Create Goals Around Different Life Areas
Having balanced goals can help your family avoid becoming overwhelmed or overly focused on a single area, leading to a more fulfilling family life.
When my husband and I discuss family goals at the beginning of January, we typically brain storm a lot of type of goals. We think about our family, our children, and our business goals. We go back and forth discussing what we think our family needs to focus on in the new year.
My husband tends to focus more on financial and big vision goals. While I zero in on relationship, school, and spiritual goals. Planning goals together helps us to share and listen to one another. This allows us to be more balanced in goal setting.
Once we have an idea of some goals we think we want to tackle, we invite our teen into the conversation.
Short Term and Long Term Goals
When you are creating family goals, include both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals are typically simpler, achievable within a few weeks or months. Examples include having a summer garage sale, planning a family vacation, or establishing a summer weekly game night. I love short-term goals and am typically in charge of those.
Meanwhile, long-term goals are more complex, requiring more time and effort, often taking several years. We set several long-term family goals to grow our cattle business. We also decided to sell our home (twice) and rent til we found our next opportunity. These kind of goals take a lot of discipline and someone with a big vision.
Balancing short-term and long-term goals ensures that your family stays motivated and focused. Don’t forget to celebrate small achievements along the way as you work toward larger, ambitious goal.
Remember, when creating family goals with your teenagers, it’s crucial to listen and involve them in the process.
Setting SMART Goals
When creating family goals with your teenagers, you can rely on the SMART method to make sure your goals are actually going to stick. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Specific and Measurable Goals
To set specific and measurable goals, you need to get crystal clear on what you actually want to achieve. No vague goals. General goals are less likely to be successful because they lack clarity. Instead, make your goals detailed.
For example, instead of setting a goal like “exercise more,” try “go for a 30-minute family walk three times a week, after dinner.” This goal is very specific, clearly stating what kind of exercise, when, and how often.
If your teenager wants to “do better in school,” try a more detailed plan. Example would be to “achieve a B in English class by taking notes in class and attending the after-school study class once a week.”
Achievable and Relevant
It’s essential to set goals that are both achievable and relevant for your family. Achievable goals are realistic and attainable, considering your family’s resources, time constraints, and interests. So carefully consider what you all have time to do and what are your teenager’s interests, strengths, and weaknesses.
For example, instead of setting a goal like “read a book every week,” which may be unrealistic for your teenager’s busy schedule, consider setting a goal to “listen to an audio book once a month. ” Or you could take it a step further and set a goal with your teen to “listen to a podcast episode once a week.”
Remember, goals work better if they are something we truly desire.
Finally, to maintain motivation and focus, goals should be time-bound, meaning they have a specific start date and deadline for completion. Setting a timeframe helps keep your family on track and encourages progress.
For example, if you want to teach your teen about goal setting and financial responsibility, you could set a goal like “save $200 in three months for a family outing.” With a clear deadline, your teen will be more likely to prioritize the goal and work consistently towards it.
When setting family goals with your teenagers, make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Examples of Common Family Goals
Here are some great examples of common family goals that you may want to try! These goals are divided into five sub-sections: Academic Growth, Health and Fitness, Financial Planning, Personal Skills Development, and Quality Time and Shared Experiences.
Helping your teenagers excel in their education is an important part of parenting. You can work together to set academic goals. such as improving their grades, getting help with challenging subjects, or applying to college scholarships. Create an action plan to track progress and make decisions about their education.
- Schedule a regular homework time
- Find a tutor
- Go on a road trip and visit colleges
- Explore careers by job shadowing
- Learn about a career by calling or emailing a family friend in that field.
- Volunteer as a family at a place your teen might enjoy working at in the future.
- Take a AP class or dual enrollment college class
- Research scholarship opportunities together
- Apply for scholarships
- Sign-up for an SAT study app
Highly recommend this college application tracker from my friends at Next Phase Parenting
Health and Fitness
Encourage your family to prioritize health and fitness. Set goals to establish and maintain healthy habits, like regular exercise and balanced family meals.
- Plant a family garden together
- Weekly meal night where teen cooks dinner
- Take a cooking class together
- Do a family water challenge and track water intake for a month.
- Take a family walk after dinner
- Buy everyone bikes and bike on the weekends
- Teach your teens how to read food labels
- Collect money and do a local marathon/walk for a cause
- Eat at the table together several times a week for breakfast or dinner
Teach your teenagers about finances by involving them in the family’s financial planning. Create a savings account for future needs or start a small family business together. Discuss budgets and savings goals regularly, helping them develop responsible financial habits.
- Open a joint savings account with your teenager
- Establish a family eat out or fun budget
- Launch a small family business
- Help your teen start a side hustle (highly recommend this short book on entrepreneurship for teens!!)
- Work with your teen to find a part-time job
- Go through Financial Peace University for Teens from Dave Ramsey
- Help your teen set up a basic budget for themselves
- Save for a car, by setting a saving goal and help your teen track their savings
- Listen to a podcast about money, geared for teens.
- Research charities and decide on one to give money to as a family for Christmas
Personal Skills Development
Support your teenagers in their personal development, focusing on building their self-confidence and other essential life skills.
- Identify personal growth areas your teen wants to address
- Attend a workshop or online course in an area they are interested in learning
- Create a talent practice schedule or listen to the audiobook Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (the true path to success!!)
- Challenge your teen to try something new in an activity they already enjoy (like trying out for a play at a new theatre)
- Create an gratitude journal or practice sharing each day one thing for which you all are thankful
- Practice positive affirmations as a family and/ or listen to the audiobook Your New Playlist by Jon Acuff and his teen daughters (book for adults also called Soundtracks)
- Go to counseling or work through the Self-Love Workbook for Teens by Shainna Ali (very well done and beautiful pages!!)
- Learn how to bullet journal to help your teen stay more organized
- Develop a new hobby and connect with others that share that love
Quality Time and Shared Experiences
Strengthen your family bond by setting goals for spending quality time together. Participate in shared experiences, such as organizing a family book club or having a yearly spring clean. These activities help create lasting memories, bringing your family closer together.
- Start a family book club or read aloud together (Perfect read aloud book complete with reading guide!)
- Plan regular family outings
- Organize a yearly spring clean
- Invite friends over for a bonfire or outdoor movie
- Create a summer bucket list (grab my free summer goals and bucket list printables for teens here)
- Build something together as a family (dog house, chicken coop, pond)
- Volunteer as a family for the day
- Take a camping trip together
- Look for free local events to do as a family
- Explore your town as a family – Check out this post on 15 Fun Activities in Charlotte, NC
Remember to adjust these goals to your family’s specific needs and preferences. Keep the lines of communication open with your teenagers and work together to achieve these objectives.
Practical Steps for Goal Creation
To create family goals with your teenagers, start by having collaborative discussions or a family meeting. Including everyone in the goal setting process helps to create a sense of family unity.
As the parent, you may want to have a goal in mind for the meeting. For example, you may call a family meeting to discuss the family vacation for the year.
Establishing Individual and Collective Responsibilities
Next, focus on establishing individual and collective responsibilities. Clearly define roles and responsibilities for each family member, including your teenagers.
If your family goal has multiple steps then split the goals into action steps and each person is assigned a specific task! If your family goal is to plan a bonfire night, you may want to split up the duties like below:
|Dad||Find firewood, chairs, and build a fire.|
|Mom||Invite 2 families, grocery shop, and help make snacks.|
|Teens||Look up snack ideas on Pinterest, submit menu requirement to mom, and help make snacks.|
Creating Action Plans
Creating action plans or steps for each goal is essential for success. Break down your goals into smaller tasks and then set deadlines for each one. This creates a roadmap for achieving goals. And by seeing each step, your family can celebrate the progress made along the way. Of course, be open to change. As my husband always likes to say, “The plan is always changing!”
- Goal: Saving for a family vacation
- Step 1: Decide where your family is going for vacation
- Step 2: Create a budget
- Step 3: Explore cost-effective travel options
- Step 4: Track savings progress monthly
Incorporating Interests and Passions
Finally, ensure your family goals include incorporating interests and passions of all family members, including your teenagers. By doing so, this will not only create excitement but also serves as a source of motivation for reaching the set goals.
Remember, creating family goals with teenagers should be an interactive process. We want to not only teach our teenagers how to set goals and accomplish them. But we also want to get to increase our family bond, teach our teens how to follow through, and set a positive example of the ups and downs of goals setting!.
Tracking and Evaluating Progress
Regular Check-Ins to Review Goals
One pivotal step to goal setting is reviewing your goals and progress. As you work on creating family goals with your teenager, it’s helpful to review so you can see your progress. And reviewing also helps your family get refocused.
I can’t tell you how many times I have felt defeated about a goal, only to review my goals and see the progress I have actual made from where I started!
Schedule periodic meetings to review your teen’s achievements, talk about any difficulties, and ensure that everyone is held accountable. During these conversations, listen to your teen’s thoughts and feelings, and offer encouragement and guidance.
This allows parents to offer their teens some structure and accountability within goal setting. And we can provide positive feedback to keep the goal momentum going! This is especially important on those long-term goals like applying for college or scholarships.
Adjusting and Updating Goals
Remember that goals may need to be adjusted and updated as time goes on and circumstances change. We want to encourage our teen to persevere, but as I just mentioned, how we reach our goals may change.
For example, you may set a goal with your teenager to do college exploration to decide where to apply for college. Your teenager may get half-way into the process and decide they want to go to trade school instead of a four year college. That may be hard as a parent to hear. But we want to listen to our teen, discuss how, and why they came to that conclusion. Then we can work with them to tweak their long-term goals in light of this new information.
By being flexible and open to adjusting goals, you’re teaching your teen the importance of resilience and adaptability, both crucial life skills.
Celebrating Milestones and Accomplishments
Every progress towards a goal is worth celebrating, no matter how big or small. When your teenager reaches a milestone or achieves an accomplishment, be sure to acknowledge and celebrate their hard work. This not only provides motivation but also fosters a sense of pride and ownership in their progress.
You might consider creating a visual representation of their achievements, such as a chart or a journal, to make tracking progress more engaging and rewarding.
By implementing these strategies, you’ll be able to effectively track and evaluate your teenager’s progress on family goals, provide valuable feedback, and empower them to make the most of their potential.
Overcoming Setbacks and Challenges
Maintaining Motivation and Persistence
When dealing with setbacks in high school or college, it’s essential to maintain motivation and persistence. Remember, a growth mindset can help you view setbacks as opportunities to learn and improve. Failures are not truly failures when you are learning from them!
Stay focused on your interests and passions, as this will give you the drive to overcome obstacles. Set specific, achievable goals together as a family, and establish a calendar to track your progress. This will help everyone stay committed to their education and personal growth.
And if your teen or family starts to feel discouraged on a goal, remember to look back to where you started and see your progress!!
Adapting and Modifying Goals
Sometimes, you may need to adapt or modify your goals due to unexpected challenges or changing interests. It’s important to be flexible and open to evolving your plans.
The plan is ALWAYS changing! So be prepared for some aspects of your goal to not go perfectly. Revisit the goal-setting process regularly, and always be prepared to make adjustments.
Learning from Mistakes and Building Resilience
Experiencing setbacks and failure is a natural part of life, and learning to handle these challenges can build resilience.
Teach your teenager that failure can be a valuable lesson and should not be avoided. Encourage them to reflect on their setbacks and identify areas where they can grow and improve.
By discussing failures as a family, you can support one another and foster a culture of perseverance and growth. Remember, the ultimate goal is to learn from mistakes and become better equipped to handle future challenges.
Goal Tips for Future Success
Developing Critical Thinking and Goal-Setting Skills
As a parent, it’s important to help your teenager develop critical thinking skills and effective goal-setting habits. Teach your teenager to:
- Break down larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps (chunking).
- Set SMART goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Utilize the WOOP method (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan) for more structured goal-setting.
- Encourage reading various sources of information to broaden their perspective and redefine their goals.
- Gradually increase their responsibilities with age-appropriate household chores and tasks.
- CELEBRATE wins and effort! And always make sure to stop and celebrate those big steps forward, even if (expecially when) things don’t go perfectly!
Creating Family Goals with Teenagers
What is a goal your family is currently working on? Share in the comments. And THANKS for pinning this post!