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How to Set Goals with Your Child and Why It’s Important

Goal setting - parenting skill

By Kelly Young, LMSW
Director of Evidence-Based Initiatives, KVC Kansas

This article is the 10th in a 13-part series on parenting skills. See additional articles.


Earlier in our parenting skills blog series, we shared helpful tips and information on a variety of parenting strategies designed to decrease coercive interactions and increase compliance in children and adolescents. Goal setting is another useful tool that can define desired outcomes and assist parents and caregivers in defining his or her parenting vision and purpose.

In order to set goals, a clear and realistic goal statement should be identified. Goal statements provide parents and caregivers with direction and purpose, and orient a family toward solutions that are simple, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound (short-term and long-term).

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There are six steps in the goal setting process:

  1. State what you want
  2. Focus on the future
  3. State the goal positively
  4. Establish small, achievable steps toward the goal
  5. Be specific
  6. Stay hopeful

Let’s give this a try with a few questions:

  1. Which character traits are important to you?
    Goal Statement: I will raise a cooperative child with a positive attitude who is kind, well balanced, solution-focused and articulate.
  2. What do you hope for your teenager? 
    Goal Statement: I will have a relationship with my teen child that is open, honest and positive.
  3. When your teenager moves into young adulthood, what do you hope for your child?
    Goal Statement: I will raise my child to be a young adult who is gainfully employed, self-sufficient, future-focused and goal-oriented.

Interested in exploring goal setting further? Download this simple practice sheet and track your progress!

Read the other articles in this blog series.