Creating Purpose

Get in the Way | Tip #5

The teen brain focuses on risk and excitement.  As parents, grandparents, or caring adults, there are times when we must Get in the Way and be the guiding force—and at times—foil these high-risk situations teens create or put themselves in. Get in the Way Tips were created to make raising kids easier and help you help them become successful. Each tip either educates, creates awareness, gives you the “how-to steps,” or builds success skills and habits that will have a positive impact on your teen’s life. For example, Get in the Way Tip #1: Verbalize Your Expectations Often, both educates and gives you the “how-to steps.” Get in the Way Tip #2: The Teen Brain video, both educates and creates awareness.

Get in the Way Tip #5 builds success skills and habits. It will help your teen become goal-oriented, and give them purpose and passion. If the teen brain focuses on risk and excitement—let’s tap into that excitement. Imagine your teen having goals and putting all the youthful enthusiasm and energy into moving in the direction of their goals. Would that motivate them? Would that get them to be more future-oriented? Would it have the potential to make your job as a parent or other caring adult more exciting, less stressful and rewarding?

Tip #5 helps take the focus off boredom and poor choices, and puts the energy and focus on purpose. It will help your teen become goal-oriented, giving them purpose and passion. The best thing is, you do not have to wait until your child is a teenager. I encourage you to start early. My youngest began setting goals in kindergarten. His first goals were simple: camp out with his dad, build a fort, go to Cedar Point (a great amusement park), learn to jump his bicycle and read a book by himself. His earliest memories of goal setting were setting and accomplishing his goals; imagine the confidence this will build in your son or daughter. More than two decades later, goal setting is a usual way of life for my boys.

This is a great parent/child exercise! Best of all, you can work on this together! A word of caution: when I recommend you work on this together, I do not mean you help them determine what you think their goals should be; these have to be their goals. So, for clarity, you write your goals, they write their goals, and you share your goals; that is what “together” means. This exercise may even motivate you to sit down and set family goals.

One other point of clarity; my middle son wrote a goal to get 100% on every spelling test that school year; this was a red flag for me and unachievable. After talking about it, he wrote his goal to get 100% on 75% of his spelling tests for that school year. He reached that goal in April of that year.

We are doing something different in this article. The answers you seek are not written here. Access The IT Formula here, which includes the video and goal packet to guide you and your kids. The best part—it’s free!


We believe in developing success habits and behaviors in youth as an important way to reduce underage drinking, vaping and nicotine use, teen drug use, and Rx abuse. You must admit, getting your son or daughter through adolescence drug and alcohol-free can be challenging, and we are here to help you Get in the Way. The WOW Coalition is a prevention association that promotes safe and healthy choices and responds to problems caused by alcohol, marijuana and Rx abuse by implementing strategies to prevent and reduce youth substance use. For additional information visit or contact at (623) 208-3230 or email:

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