Teenage Goal Setting: 7 Christian Parenting Tips
Teenage goal setting has to be one of the most important practices for success teens can learn and many have not been taught this important skill. A majority of the successful adults I have heard or read, point to goal setting as part of their daily habits. Most adults don’t even realize how important it is to see their goals and dreams visually present either on paper or computer. The reality is, many adults weren’t taught this practice. I know I didn’t learn goal setting until I was maybe into my late 20s or early 30s.
Feelings of being overwhelmed and depressed can often stem from an overworked schedule with no light at the end of the tunnel. Goal setting help change that mindset allowing teens the ability to hope and plan for the future.
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28)
We must keep in mind with teenage goal setting, there are elements outside of themselves needed to help them achieve those goals. These ways are not an exhaustive list but a starting point for you to join hands with your teen and start rocking out some goals. You may even start writing down some goals for yourself!
My daughter recently told me a few of her classmates were bragging about their GPA being, 0.8. Even though I know there are some teens who don’t really care for school, I still found myself shocked. She said, “They literally don’t try and want their GPA to be as bad as it can be.” This really made me so sad. It left me wondering, “Why are they giving up on themselves?” Then the most telling question, “Does anyone care about them?”
If someone actually sat with them, showed them that they have purpose through the talents and abilities God has given them, help them realize they can have a future that looks vastly different than the reality they are currently in, and set some goals with practical tips to help them walk it out, would they try harder in their academics?
I remember being a rebellious high school student, mean, angry, and with no vision for my future. I also remember those very few people who tried to speak life into me. A teacher who said, “One day I will see your name in lights!”, a college cheerleading trainer who was the first one to talk to me about going to college giving me a glimmer of hope, and later a cheerleading parent who showed me love regardless of being a pregnant teen.
Unfortunately, there weren’t enough Godly, safe, and healthy voices in the environment I was in. However, I often reflect on those very few people who chose to see more than I could. If you’re wondering whether or not to speak life into the teen or teens around you, this is your sign to go for it. Maybe you can be one of the voices someone will one day reflect on. For more help on how to communicate with teens, you can click here: “How to Talk with Your Teenager: 6 Ways to Deal with Teenage Communication Problems.”
Whose life are you speaking into?
Or are you doing what everyone else is doing and reaffirming the negative in a teenager’s life? Or will you be the one, even if it’s only you, to speak life?It’s easy to speak whatever everyone else sees but it takes God’s heart and eyes to see what He sees. Click To Tweet
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)
Can we see what the Lord sees in the teens of our lives?
Now, let’s get to goals! I’ve done lots of research in marketing recently. Again, I’ve noticed anyone who is successful has goals in place. If you don’t already know, you can research it for yourself and you will see goals are an ingredient in the recipe to success.
Goals gives teenagers focus, it gives them direction, and it gives them a tangible plan to hopefully achieve what God has in store for them.
Helping the teen in your life set and reach some goals, helps produce HOPE.
Hope is the overflow from the love of Jesus Christ. When it is allowed to be fleshed out in steps towards the will of God for your teen’s life, we help them join hands with heaven for the sake of their future.
Here are a few tips on teenage goal setting to help you and your teen. Yes, I said you and your teen. We all need help journeying this life. This is an opportunity to have a front seat to your child’s journey and possibly have them have a front seat for yours.
Teenage Goal Setting
1) Pray about each goal
People forget the power of prayer in the Name of Jesus Christ and how much it helps shift the atmosphere for your teenager. If you’re having issues because your teen is being rebellious and want prayer ideas, click here: “Praying for a Rebellious Teenager: 15 Teenage Prayer Ideas.” Sometimes we need to war for their heart before they can hear about their future.
Your voice and their voice aimed heavenward to the One Who knows exactly what He has for their life is not only wise it’s vital. Knowing what God wants for their life requires prayer from both you and them. There is a tarrying that has to happen before His throne. The reason to do it with them, either at the same time or separately, is to help be their spiritual covering.
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (Jer. 33:3)
By entering into prayer, Holy Spirit gives you insight on HOW to pray for them. It can also give you affirmation even if you think a certain plan or goal is crazy. God doesn’t work the way we do all the time and how we grew up may be vastly different than how they are growing up. Sometimes, it looks more upside down than right-side up. It’s understanding His plan is greater whether we agree or disagree.
Prayer turns our heart to His will rather than our own.
It gives strength, wisdom, direction, you name it, prayer provides it. When we create a habit of prayer, they will in turn be trained and learn how to do the same.
2) Write down the goals, big or small
Write those goals down! Goals, dreams, ideas, scriptures, anything the Lord brings to mind. Do it along with your teen and maybe help undercover any dreams you both may have!
“And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” (Hab. 2:2)
There is something about writing down goals that makes it more real. Keeping a record of goals can also help keep a record of growth. The devil is a liar and will make either one of you feel like you’re not accomplishing anything. By writing down goals, you can visually see the steps being accomplished.
Bring them to art museums if they are an artist. Bring them to college fairs and talk to college recruiters about possible careers. My daughter had no idea what she wanted to do for the rest of her life (it can be difficult for them at this age to think about their whole life), but after talking to a few recruiters she got good ideas of possible career choices and it got her excited.
3) Make sure the goals are exciting
Teenage goal setting can help bring excitement. Write down goals that are exciting for them. It may not be your cup of tea, obviously if the goals are physically dangerous to themselves or others maybe even demonic then we don’t want to encourage those, but make sure their goals are theirs.
Excitement means hope, and hope brings life. Hope often becomes lost amongst the younger generation because the enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy, and if he can do it before they even live better for him. Hope is what was given to us when Jesus Christ came down.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Rom. 15:13)
Even if you have lost hope, whether in your teen years or in your life in general, then let this be a reminder to you too. Hope is timeless and eternal. It’s offered not just for your teen but for you also. Teens feed off what is found in their home. If you have no reason to hope, they don’t either.
Remember, don’t get discouraged if outwardly they aren’t showing their excitement, it might take a while. Even if they don’t show it, it can affect them deep down to know someone is rooting for them even if they aren’t there emotionally for themselves yet. Stay looking though. Sometimes excitement creeps out and we can catch it if we are watching.
Oftentimes, teens are walking around like zombies dead in their insecurities and negative opinions from others. They often don’t show emotion because they are numb so don’t be discouraged by their lack of it. When they do show emotion, let’s honor it by being supportive and not making fun of it.
Again, make sure the goals are exciting and something to look forward to.
4) Build community within those goals
We cannot do this life alone. We all succeed faster when we network and have connections. Many successful adults will say this and sometimes the connections we build may help our teenager get to their goals faster. Let’s say your teenager wants to be in the restaurant business and wants to intern somewhere, if you eat lunch at a certain restaurant the same time each day and get to know the owner, this is an opportunity for you to set something up for your teenager.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.” (Eccl. 4:9)
I hear adults say all the time, “I came into this world alone..”, as an excuse to not connect with anyone. No, you did not come into this world alone. I’m pretty sure there were doctors, nurses, staff, your Mom, etc. Even if your Mom or Dad left you at a young age, someone still had to take care of you. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have survived as a baby. This is not to discredit any hurt you have experienced growing up but to show we cannot live this life alone. We need people. This includes your teenager.
Connect with people at your church, college mentors, people in the careers they want, or whoever God puts in your path. Teens need to know people have their back, people believe in them, they are heard, and supported.
Write names next to goals who you think might help. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in making sure those contacts are Godly, safe, and healthy people. Write as many names as necessary in case the original people you choose may not be available to help for whatever reason.
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Prov. 11:14)
Remember, don’t get discouraged in the process and don’t allow rejection to take root. If people say no, those aren’t your people and that’s okay. God has people for you. This is the process of finding them.
5) Write down dates for when these goals need to be accomplished
Dates make it real by making sure these goals don’t only stay written down but actually start getting checked off.
Help them start knocking off some of the smaller goals so they can see they are indeed attainable and they can feel like they are taking steps to accomplish the bigger goals. Aim to hit those due dates even with small goals! Give grace when they need extra time, certain goals might take longer than anticipated to achieve them, but help them fight to make it on time with others. Point out growth whenever you see it along the way because it’s most likely they won’t see it or acknowledge it believing its too insignificant.
“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” (Prov. 12:25)
Remember, we are fighting a nasty devil who seeks to keep them imprisoned with beliefs systems like “not good enough”, “this will never happen”, “you missed the due date”, or “its taking too long”. I read somewhere and it’s a great reminder, “The time is going to pass anyway so might as well do something with it.”
“In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” (Prov. 14:23)
The devil is someone who wants to stop progress and make you think you are farther away than you are. Start checking off those goals and see the progress and confidence grow in your teen.
6) Revisit those goals and make adjustments when necessary
Sometimes there are goals that seem unattainable at one level but may be more attainable at another. For instance, let’s say your teenager wants to get a job but struggles with anxiety and feels like they will never be able to get a job or manage it when it comes. First, try finding a Christian counselor or trusted Pastor who can help them start dealing with that anxiety. Once they start improving and feeling more confident, then try going out and finding a job.
You can also start talking about what the future may look like maybe take a couple of steps towards it. This way you don’t have to wait for them to be more mentally stable in order to revisit this goal. For instance, you may want to talk to a manager ahead of time and just have a conversation with them about your teen’s struggles. Then the following step may be to set up a meeting later with the same manager and your teen just to talk about what work looks like with no strings attached. Maybe take a tour, talk to some workers, the possibilities may be endless!Revisiting goals helps them understand just because it may not be a possibility now doesn’t mean it can’t be later. Click To Tweet
Set a revisit date when teenage goal setting. During this time, you may want to either break bigger goals down more, maybe while they were attaining some goals they realized it’s not for them but found something that was, or maybe due dates need to be adjusted.
This is a time to come together, pray again, and analyze those goals.
7) Reward those attained goals
Now I may have a few naysayers jump in here but hear me out. Rewards are from God. Yes, they are Godly! When we are obedient, when we work hard, God blesses, rewards, and loves on us. Can we do the same for our teen? When you put in the work for teenage goal setting, why not point out all the fruit that came from it?
Rewarding doesn’t have to be a brand-new car (although it can be) or hundreds of dollars thrown at their feet (if this is you…please adopt me…loll!). It can be as simple as a movie date with them, a day ski trip with the church, or a book they’ve always wanted to read. Again, the possibilities may be endless.
Remember, it’s okay to reward your teen.
Some believe teens MUST go through torture or harsh discipline so they can “learn”. They may not learn exactly what we want them to by holding back positive results from hard work. It can cause resentment, anger, and hopelessness which is not the spirit we want them to have when accomplishing goals.Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Click To Tweet
God is a good God and He wants us to experience some of the amazing things He has created. Holding back goodness, is holding back experiencing God. All teaching doesn’t have to be harsh.
Think about it. You work, you get rewarded with money (I know it may not always be the amount you want but somehow you get rewarded..hopefully). There are several examples of how God rewarded His people in the Word of God. Research it if you feel otherwise. I’m not talking about prosperity gospel either. I’m talking about hard work producing good fruit.
“You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.” (Psalm 128:2)
Praise God for the Holy Spirit to let us know when our hearts are off balance in this area, and I pray you hear what I’m saying. Sometimes a reward can even be a hug, a kiss (remember with the hugs and kisses I’m talking about Godly, safe, and healthy affection not sexual abuse), or affirmation for who they are. A simple, “Good job!” can speak volumes. Surely, we can offer them that. If you can’t, really visit the reason why.
Click here, “12 Best Christian Parenting Books: Parenting Teens and Tweens,” for some great Christian book suggestions in case you didn’t grow up in the healthiest household and may need help learning how to parent your teens in a Godly way.
I pray these tips help you and your teen live life the way God intended. Not just wasting away or giving up but leaning into Him and allowing Him to refresh, renew, bring life, resurrect, and connect. Teenage goal setting is such an important practice and praise the Lord for those who want to help teenagers in this area.
What teen can you speak life into?
Ask God to open your eyes both physically and spiritually to not only see them but speak prophetic words over them. The Lord loves to download for His people and teenagers are not exempt from that. Have conversation about the talents and gifts you see in them or again if God has something unique to say to them, say it. Help spread the seeds that can blossom into something beautiful. You never whose life you can save by doing so.
Baskets of Blessings,
susan5 years ago
This is such a great post Nina! I love that you are taking time to specifially adress teen issues. I have 2 teenagers now- (one just turned 13) – and God knows I can use ALL the help I can get. And I thought parenting toddlers was hard! I love the idea of setting goals with them. And I think it’s so great in rewarding our kids when they choose/do right. Whenver I simply tell my son I’m proud of his hard work or tell him “good job”, he just beams! Love this!
Nina Daugherty5 years ago AUTHOR
Thank you so much! Isn’t it amazing to see how our words pour life into them. They really do appreciate and need our affirmation. Way to go Mama! You’re also preparing him to see what he would want in a wife. Someone who will love him and affirm him when he gets home. Love it! Keep loving your boy! 😀