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Are your kids working to meet your goals, or have you taught them how to set their own?

That is a big question, because the answer can determine the whole chemistry of your relationship with your children. If it is you setting the goals for them, then your encouragement will always sound to them like nagging and manipulation. But if your children have learned to set their own goals, your offers to help will be welcome and appreciated.

And that is a big difference.

Goal setting is often thought of as a complicated, difficult “adult thing,” but actually a goal is nothing more than a clear picture of something as you want it to be in the future, and kids, with their good imaginations, are often better at setting goals than adults are. But they need some basic training on how to do it (and on how to do it—because it can be fun).

Kids as young as five or six can set little, simple goals for school, for their sports or music, and for their character. Older elementary kids and adolescents can set quite sophisticated goals in these same three categories, but with more specificity and with short term (weekly and monthly) goals that lead up to longer range (yearly) goals.

For specifics on how to help your kids learn to set goals:

Podcast 1 Podcast 2 Article 1 Article 2

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