Skip to content

Goal-setting parent guide—free download

Note: I have written a Parent Guide to accompany my new book, Homeschool with Confidence, which is a goal-setting guide for homeschooled teens. Although it is meant to introduce the concepts in my book, it might be of interest to parents in general (school and homeschool). Feel free to download it here if you are interested in reading more.

Dear Parents,

Congratulations on your recent acquisition of a teenager! I promise you will not be disappointed. Your teenager should be expected to display common teen features, including surliness, flashes of brilliance, sudden mood swings, unparalleled sweetness, antisocial tendencies, social neediness, advanced sense of humor, and unfailing attraction to all manner of digital devices.

This guide will help you guide your teenager through my goal-setting curriculum, following a few simple steps:

  1. Do not, under any circumstances, let on to your teenager that you are guiding them
  2. Do, always, give your teenager unconditional support and encouragement
  3. Do not let on to your teenager that you feel invested in the outcome
  4. Do let your teenager know that you see a bright future for them.

Confused? Welcome to being the parent of a teenager.

Sociologists have found that the concept of “teenager” is not common to all cultures and across the span of human history. It may be a unique phenomenon of modern industrialized societies.

However, that doesn’t make your job any easier. You are trying to guide someone who doesn’t want to be guided, mentor someone who may actually believe they are smarter than you, and stay sane in the process.

It’s a tall order.

Why goal-setting?

My new book was inspired by working with my kids and my students.

When my older child was 13, I started to see a difficult near future. Though he’s generally a pretty mild-mannered guy, we were getting a lot of pushback and defiance about things that I didn’t consider important at all. It was wearying. I’m sure at some point I must have said this: “If you must fight with me, can you at least choose something meaningful to fight about?”

I started to read about teen development and realized that goal-setting might be a way to get around some of the communication difficulties we had. I couldn’t find a curriculum that wasn’t full of school and organized sports, so I did the homeschooler thing: We muddled through with what we had and adapted what we could find.

I was amazed at the changes in our relationship, and immediately started to integrate what I’d learned into my parenting and teaching. (I teach in-person classes and also online classes at Athena’s Advanced Academy.)

It’s really quite simple. Goal-setting allows you and your teen to:

  • Get to know each other on a new level, as humans with ideas and desires rather than just parent and child
  • Develop a common understanding of your family’s values and concerns
  • Develop a common understanding of your teen’s values and concerns (which may be different)
  • Create a system of planning that is both focused and flexible
  • Learn a new vocabulary to communicate without value judgments and emotionally loaded expectations

Read on by downloading the full guide from my website.


Posted in Education, Homeschooling, Parenting, Psychology.

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.