What skills do they want to learn? How can we help them set short-term and long-term goals?
Eight-year-old Marietta knows she’s not a very good reader. She came home from school one day crying; the kids had teased her about her reading in front of the class.
Mom (a single parent) let Marietta share her feelings and then talked with her about the problem. Mom realized that, as a parent, she needed to spend more time with Marietta to help her gain the skills to feel confident.
A Plan with a Goal
Marietta and Mom set a goal to read together every night. Mom worked two nights a week, so they found several reading games Marietta could do by herself when she was with the sitter. The rest of the week they read together.
Both mother and daughter devoted themselves to their goals consistently for six months, and Marietta’s reading improved. She developed enough confidence to read in front of the class without faltering. Plus they enjoyed the time they spent together, so they continued setting additional goals with other activities.
A Special Bond
Working together consistently had bonded the two of them in a special way. Mom confided to me later that Marietta’s problems were a blessing in their lives because the goal-time they spent at first became fun-time as the weeks went by.
The PRIMARY reward of goal-setting and
consistency is the parent-child bond you
establish. A SECONDARY reward is all your
child learns in the process.
Additional Benefits of Goal-setting and Consistency
LOVE: I know you care about me enough to help me.
SELF-ESTEEM: I feel great about myself because I can see myself growing.
CONFIDENCE: I can negotiate my goals to meet my needs and wants.
SKILL: I am good at the things I am practicing.
SECURITY: I know how to take care of myself and my surroundings.
PROBLEM-SOLVING ABILITY: If a problem arises, I can solve it.
ACCOUNTABILITY: I am accountable for my progress and growth.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. But, as we consistently set goals with our children and work with them daily, we will see progress, growth and change. In doing this we help them along the road to responsible adulthood.
Christy Monson, retired marriage and family therapist, writes articles and books that support and strengthen individuals and their families. [website]