Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Set realistic goals.

What you can do

Help your child set goals that aim high but are reachable. Bring up situations for tweens and teens in which simply making an attempt can be a good initial goal. Talk about whether your child is setting unrealistic goals so he’ll have an excuse for failure.

What you can say

“Jacob, I know you want a starting position on the baseball team. But how about having an initial goal of getting on the team? It might be helpful if you ask Coach Matthews about some drills you can do to better prepare for the tryouts.”

“Let’s put a few questions down on paper for you to ask him this week. This will also show him how hard you’re willing to work. I’m really proud of you for trying out.”

“It would be great if you could make the team and then work to get playing time. Remember that Michael Jordan didn’t make his varsity team the first time he tried out.”

Why this will help

When tweens and teens with learning and attention issue reach a goal, it has a positive impact on their self-esteem. It also gives them confidence to try other challenges. By helping your child set realistic goals, you’ll help him build on a pattern of success.

You’ll also be helping your child develop an accurate understanding of his strengths and needs. Over time, this self-awareness will encourage him to look ahead and ask for assistance with certain aspects of a goal that he knows will be challenging for him.

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