More Tips for Military Families with Teens – # 62

Make lists – Tip #62

Making “to do” or “wish lists” is a good way to get your teen focused.  When I was doing guidance, on a military base school, I would often start classes or groups with making lists.  It was a quick way to engage the students and they didn’t complain (much) as it was a simple list and they didn’t have to say it out loud (unless they chose to), be judged on their writing skills and it really got them thinking about what truly matters to them and what they really want that goes beyond the immediate future.

 Lists to get your teens thinking:

*  In one year from now I will be…

* The worst things about being a part of a military family are…

* Top ten things I want to do while ____________ is away are:

* This month I want to…

* The five best things about me are:

* The top ten things I will never want to do in my lifetime are…

I firmly believe that it isn’t enough to just talk about things and then move on.  Teens need reminders of the committments that they have made to themselves.  I often tell groups, that I am presenting to, that most people believe that teens are selfish and really don’t need to spend anymore time thinking about themselves but I believe that they aren’t spending time thinking about what is important to them, looking towards their future and setting goals.  They can often get overly consumed in the here and now – who has or hasn’t called/texted, what others are saying/thinking about them and what music they need to download!  While these activities can all be entertaining they can also be distracting and leave them unfocussed on what matters.  Making a list and posting it on the fridge, by the door, over the bathroom mirror, in their room or on their cell phone can re-focus them.  It also means that you are aware of their dreams, goals and plans and will be able to help them along the way (if they let you!).

Keep reminding them that the list isn’t written in stone and that as life changes, so will they and so will their goals.

For more information about our tips, resources or books go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

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