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Helping Teenagers Stay Organized

Anyone who has ever been a teenager, lived with a teenager, helped to raise a teenager, or simply been around a teenager can attest to the fact that teens lead chaotic lives. When dealing with all of that chaos, it is extremely easy to get lost and confused, and that's just the parents! Teens need all the help that they can to realize their full potential, and one of the best ways for that to happen is to help them become a little more organized. Here's how you can begin helping the teenagers in your life stay organized.

  • Set goals. Take the time to sit down with your teen and ask them what their goals are in life. Don't just focus on what they will be doing in five years or so, but also what they would like to accomplish next week, next month, and by the end of the year. Helping your teen develop short-term, mid-range, and long-term goals can help clarify for them (and you) the priorities that they have in their life.
  • Develop plans. After helping your teen make a list of goals, start working with them to develop plans on how to make those goals come true. Having a step-by-step, detailed plan about how to get things done can help make the goals more achievable. One of the ways that this happens is that it allows your teenager to see their progress and just how close they are getting to their goals.
  • Provide support. Probably one of the most difficult parts in helping teenagers stay organized is providing support. This is tricky because while nagging might be an occasional necessity, it should not be the only method that you use to encourage your teen. Ask your teen how things are going, show that you care about the progress they are making with their goals, and talk—just talk with them about what they have going on. You will be surprised at the reaction that you get.
  • Reassess goals and plans. Periodically take time to reassess the goals and plans that you and your teen develop. The reason for this is simple—people and circumstances change over time. Without periodically reassessing goals and plans, seeing how far your teen has come, and seeing if they are still interested in the same goals or not, you will be right back where you started. Keep in mind that, just like you, your teenager's likes and dislikes can change periodically, so be open to that change and help them develop new goals and plans.

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