The Importance of Making Your Older Teen A Part of Goal Setting

You just signed your older teen up for training sessions. You may have made this decision to help them build strength, lose weight, build confidence, or prepare for their sports season— something that you, as a parent, knew was best for them! You have a clear goal in mind and discussed it with the trainer ahead of time. But one key thing is missing here: what is your child’s goal?


The teenage years are tricky, as we know. On one hand, it’s your responsibility to instill good decision making in them and enforce a structured schedule and healthy choices. However, they are also building their own sense of self and make many of their own decisions on a daily basis. They may not enjoy all of the “household rules” and get frustrated when they have to do things they don’t enjoy. This is normal!


As a youth trainer for many years, one thing I’ve come to realize is: the most effective exercise programs for teens are ones that they WANT to be a part of and have a clear goal that they decided on. Trust me when I say, it doesn’t always start that way. I’ve seen plenty of reluctant teens turn a corner the moment they understood their goal and the “why” behind the workout. 


Having a stranger show up and make them workout because “their parents said so” unfortunately isn’t great motivation for them. However, when you talk with them and understand the things that they’d like to improve on, and help them to understand how exercise will directly help them do so, it’s a game changer!


Maybe your teen wants to prepare for a big soccer tryout. Or be able to keep up during gym class. Maybe they want to learn how to play baseball, or learn better habits to help them lose weight. All these goals can become the biggest motivation behind getting your teen excited about a fitness program. All it takes is allowing them to decide what their goal is, and be a part of the decision making process.


You know your teen best. Maybe this conversation happens between the both of you first. Or maybe, the goal-setting conversation would be better received if their trainer talked with them. However it happens, including your teen on this decision will make it more fun and rewarding for them!


By Paytra Gessler, Certified Youth Fitness Trainer, Certified ISSA Fitness Professional


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