Build a Sense of Purpose

Children with a sense of purpose take initiative, feel responsible for their actions, seek alternatives to problems, and evaluate their past performance. Here are some suggestions for building a sense of purpose:

Help children develop effective decision-making skills.

  • Let them make decisions when appropriate.
  • Provide regular opportunities for making choices.
  • Give your reasons for your own beliefs and values and invite them to do the same.
  • Encourage them to follow through on their own decisions.

In problem situations, decide whose problem it is.

  • If it is your problem, you solve it.
  • If it is their problem, let them solve it.
  • Point out that everyone involved may be contributing to the problem.

Have children focus on solving the problem once it has been defined.

  • Ask questions that will help lead to solutions.
  • List acceptable solutions and let them choose one.
  • Let them offer their own solutions.
  • Assist them in evaluating the way the problem was solved.

Teach your children to set realistic goals.

  • Model your own goals and dreams.
  • Discuss goals and monitor progress.
  • Give your children opportunities to practice decision-making.
  • Show your children how to weigh options and consider alternatives.

Create a sense of responsibility.

  • Assign meaningful duties to each family member.
  • Don't make excuses for children if chores are not done.
  • Help your children set up a schedule.

Some fun ideas

  • Read a "Dear Abby" column and offer your own solutions.
  • Celebrate success of a goal.
  • Write lists of chores on individual papers and draw from hat.
  • Ask your children to draw a picture of themselves as if they have already achieved a goal.