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What are some good ways to encourage my preteen to set goals and work towards them?

Hi everyone,

I am a parent of a 12-year-old daughter who seems to lack motivation and direction in life. I want to encourage her to set some goals and work towards achieving them, but I am not sure how to go about it. She seems to be more interested in her gadgets and socializing with her friends than pursuing any productive activities.

I am concerned about her future and want her to be a responsible and successful adult. Therefore, I would appreciate any tips or advice from fellow parents or experts on how to motivate my preteen to set goals and work towards them. Should I start with small achievable goals or set challenging ones? Any specific tools, techniques or strategies that have worked for you or your kids would be helpful.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

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Dear fellow parent,

I can understand your concerns, as I had a similar experience with my 10-year-old son. He was constantly distracted by games and friends, and I felt like he wasn't working towards anything meaningful. One thing that has helped us to encourage him is to focus on his activities outside of school.

For example, my son is interested in sports and had shown a talent for soccer. We enrolled him in a local soccer team, and he quickly started to take more interest in the practice and game sessions. This has helped him to build a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue working hard.

Another thing that has worked for us is to praise and reward our son for his efforts, specifically his small achievements. For example, we would reward him for finishing his homework on time for a week or completing his daily workout routine. Celebrating these small milestones has helped our son to stay motivated and feel valued.

We have also tried to involve him in our family discussions on future plans and goals. During these conversations, he has been able to express his thoughts and interests, and we have provided him with guidance and support to set his own goals.

Lastly, I would recommend that you remain patient with your daughter and avoid putting too much pressure on her. Giving her space to explore her passions and interests can give her the freedom to find her own motivation.

I hope that these tips and personal experiences help you encourage your daughter to set goals and work towards them. Best of luck!


Hi there,

As a parent of a 13-year-old son, I can understand your concern about your daughter's lack of motivation and direction. In my experience, the best way to encourage kids to set goals is to involve them in the process, and make it fun and rewarding.

What has worked for my son is to sit down with him and brainstorm some ideas for his future. We discuss his interests, hobbies, and strengths, and then look for opportunities or activities that align with those. We also talk about why these goals are important and how achieving them will benefit him in the long run.

Once we have identified some goals, we create a plan of action, breaking them down into smaller, achievable steps. I suggest setting both short-term and long-term goals, so that kids can experience the satisfaction of progress along the way.

To make it fun and rewarding, we use a goal-setting app that allows my son to earn points or rewards for completing tasks or reaching milestones. It's important to make the rewards meaningful and age-appropriate, such as extra screen time, a special outing, or a favorite snack.

I hope these ideas help you motivate your daughter and encourage her to set and achieve her goals. Good luck!


Hi there,

As a mother of a 13-year-old daughter, I can relate to your situation. Encouraging preteens to set goals can be a challenging task, but there are a few techniques that have worked for us.

One approach is to focus on the "why" instead of just the "what." In other words, instead of getting stuck on the specific goals, we focus on the underlying reasons why they are important. For example, if your daughter wants to learn a new language, ask her why she wants to learn it. Is it to travel, to communicate with new friends, or to expand her career opportunities? Understanding the why can motivate her to achieve the goals.

Another technique that has worked for us is to use positive language. Instead of setting negative goals (i.e. "stop playing games so much"), we encourage positive ones (i.e. "spend more time doing activities you enjoy"). Framing goals and aspirations in a positive way can help to inspire motivation.

Additionally, we set aside specific time to check-in on goals progress together as a family. It's important to avoid micromanaging, but regular check-ins can help your daughter feel accountable and motivated. We like to use visual aids, such as a goal-setting board, to make progress visible.

Lastly, make sure to celebrate your daughter's progress and acknowledge her hard work. Praising and rewarding achievements can also boost her self-esteem and confidence.

I hope these tips help you to encourage your daughter to set goals and work towards achieving them. Good luck!


Hello everyone,

As a parent of a 12-year-old son, I completely understand your concerns about your daughter's motivation and direction. One thing that has worked for us is setting up a system of accountability and tracking our son's progress.

We created a chart or a calendar where we jot down his goals, and break them down into smaller, achievable milestones. We also ask him to set deadlines and track his progress over time. This way, he can easily see how far he has come and feel motivated to keep going.

In our experience, it's important to make the goal-setting process fun and enjoyable. We often come up with creative ways to celebrate his progress and keep him engaged, such as stickers, tokens, or a small prize.

Another effective strategy is to help our son visualize his success. We would talk to him about what achieving his goals would look and feel like, and encourage him to imagine himself already having achieved them. This way, he can create a clear mental image of what he wants to accomplish and provide him with a sense of purpose.

Lastly, it's important to encourage your daughter to share her goals with others. This way, she can create a support system, and get feedback and encouragement from those around her.

I hope these strategies help you as you strive to encourage your daughter to set and achieve her goals. Best of luck to you and your family!


Hello everyone,

I have been in a similar situation with my 11-year-old daughter. She was also unmotivated and seemed uninterested in setting goals. But, one thing that helped was focusing on the positive.

We identified her strengths and made a conscious effort to encourage those strengths. We participated in activities that brought out those qualities, such as sports, art classes, or coding clubs. This has not only helped her to explore her strengths but also find passion in something that she enjoys.

Another way to promote goal setting is to engage with her interests. When my daughter shows interest in something, whether it’s a new book, a video game, or an instrument - I use that as a way to introduce her to goal-setting concepts. For example, if she showed an interest in playing a guitar, I would encourage her to set a goal to learn a specific song or perform in front of family members.

Lastly, don't forget to celebrate her successes, whether they are big or small. Even the smallest of accomplishments can make a huge difference in their motivation. Upon achieving these goals, she received a certificate and a goodie bag filled with her favorite candy or toys.

Overall, these efforts have had a major impact on my daughter's motivation and ability to set goals for the future. Best of luck to all the parents out there who are striving to create better future for their kids.


Hi there,

I can totally relate to your situation as a parent. I also have a 11-year-old daughter, and she is very similar to your daughter in terms of lack of motivation and direction.

One thing that has worked for me in the past is leading by example. I always try to set my own goals and work towards achieving them, and I involve my daughter in the process as well. This helps her to see the value of setting goals and the rewards of hard work.

Another thing that has worked for us is setting SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. We discuss her aspirations and think about how we can turn them into SMART goals. This helps her to see the steps she needs to take to reach her goals and makes them more tangible.

We also make sure to celebrate small successes along the way. This gives my daughter a boost in confidence and encourages her to continue working towards her goals.

One last piece of advice is to be patient and understanding. Preteens are at an age where they are still trying to figure out who they are and what they want. It may take some time and effort to find out what motivates them, but with gentle guidance and encouragement, they will eventually find their passions.

I hope these tips that worked for me would also help you encourage your daughter to set goals and work towards them. All the best!


Hello there,

As a parent of a 14-year-old son, I understand your concerns about your daughter's lack of motivation and direction. One of the things that we have found helpful in encouraging our son to set and work towards his goals is to focus on his interests and encourage him to explore these further.

For example, my son has always been interested in music, so we enrolled him in guitar lessons and encouraged him to join the school band. This has motivated him to set goals related to his music and put in the effort to achieve them.

Another approach that we have found useful is to set goals together as a family. For example, we might set a goal to take a family trip to a new location, and then work together to plan and save for the trip. This has helped our son to see the benefit of setting and working towards goals as a team and has instilled in him a sense of ownership and accountability.

Finally, I would suggest being patient with your daughter, and perhaps even letting her set some of her goals on her own. Give her the opportunity to explore her interests and passions, and encourage her to take ownership of the process. This will help her to develop the skills and mindset necessary to achieve success throughout her life.

I wish you all the best as you support your daughter in setting and achieving her goals.

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