RECENT RELEASES

One Friend? Two Friends? Good Friend? Bad Friend?: Teen’s Guide to Creating Lifelong Friendships

Does it feel like no one understands you, or takes your view into account as you plan for a future that seems unclear? If the answer is “yes,” there’s good news—you are not alone, even if it feels that way sometimes. And, there’s a good chance that the person who popped into your head when you read that question also answered “yes.” The research is in when it comes to challenges, studies show that everyone faces them. But, not everyone faces the same challenges, or needs to face them similarly.

Encouraging Teens, founded by Desiree Panlilio, is dedicated to changing and improving the relationships between teens and their parents, their communities, and their peers as they plan for the next steps toward the future—no matter how unclear it may seem. Instead of believing teens are challenging, let’s encourage the realization that teens are facing challenges. Instead of giving teens the same roadmap for a collective path, let’s give them the tools and support needed to create their personalized roadmap for the path of their choosing. With this approach, we can turn challenges into opportunities, confusion into conversation, and ambivalence into self-motivation to create…

Clear and Focused Futures.

Student Planner: Creating and Building Time Management Skills

Student Planner: Creating and Building Time Management Skills is a student daily planner for teens, not only for time management skills but also to shift mindset and proactively set and achieve goals. Our student planner was developed based on intentional coaching work with teens set up for success. Now that power to excel is being delivered to your teen.

Serving You & Your Teen

Does it feel like no one understands you, or takes your view into account as you plan for a future that seems unclear? If the answer is “yes,” there’s good news—you are not alone, even if it feels that way sometimes. And, there’s a good chance that the person who popped into your head when you read that question also answered “yes.” The research is in when it comes to challenges, studies show that everyone faces them. But, not everyone faces the same challenges, or needs to face them similarly.

Encouraging Teens, founded by Desiree Panlilio, is dedicated to changing and improving the relationships between teens and their parents, their communities, and their peers as they plan for the next steps toward the future—no matter how unclear it may seem. Instead of believing teens are challenging, let’s encourage the realization that teens are facing challenges. Instead of giving teens the same roadmap for a collective path, let’s give them the tools and support needed to create their personalized roadmap for the path of their choosing. With this approach, we can turn challenges into opportunities, confusion into conversation, and ambivalence into self-motivation to create…

Clear and Focused Futures.

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MEET DESIREE

Prior to its official founding, Encouraging Teens was the passion and brain-child of Desiree Panlilio. As a former nurse, medical manager, and spousal mentor at the U.S. Navy’s Command Leadership School in Newport, RI, Desiree honed the skills needed for her future role as a mother and community leader. It was through her own teen-rearing experiences that she began developing the tools and communicative framework that would be employed in Encouraging Teens’ effective seminars.

From Parents 

Personal Thoughts.

A Moment to Pause…Reflect.

 

– Desiree Panlilio

 

September 11 marks the anniversary of 9/11, the largest terrorist attack in U.S. history. I know that as parents we all know where we were and what we were doing on that Tuesday morning in 2001. But a short recap on the day’s events. On that Tuesday morning, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four American commercial flights destined for the West Coast and intentionally crashed them. Two planes—American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175—departed from Boston and Flight 11 struck New York City’s World Trade Center North Tower at 8:46 am and Flight 175 the South Tower at 9:03 am, resulting in the collapse of both towers. A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, leaving from Dulles International Airport in Virginia, crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 am, and the final plane, United Airlines Flight 93, departing from Newark, N.J., crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pa., at 10:03 am, after passengers stormed the cockpit and tried to subdue the hijackers. In the space of less than 90 minutes, the world changed. The events of 9/11 not only reshaped the global response to terrorism, but raised new and troubling questions about security and our personal privacy.

Fast forward to today, for our teens 9/11 is history. Our teens were not born and the world they are in is much different. Today take a moment to discuss the events of that day and your own personal thoughts. Take a moment to reflect on what is going on today in our world, how do we build compassion, empathy, grace, and understanding in a world full of chaos and disconnect. As parents, we are our teen’s biggest mentor and discussing family values and thoughts on world events helps our teens to develop values and a moral compass that will shape how they interact in their world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alan Jarrett

Last year in the midst of COVID and imposed isolation on our nation, our son lost his academic focus at college and his grades suffered drastically.  In the past when this had happened in school, he had been able to course correct with a little advice from us, his parents.  Not this time.  Emotions of guilt, anger and shame hung over him and colored any interaction with us on the subject of school.  We did not know how to help him.  However, we knew Desiree Panlilio of Encouraging Teens.  We had seen her success with her own daughters and heard how she had helped numerous other teens.  We hoped she might be able to help our son.

She did.  It has been a true game changer.  Desiree didn’t judge; she helped him focus and realize HE is in control of his destiny.  She then equipped him with a path and framework for him to plan to and execute that control, and for us to effectively engage with him for support and accountability.  With her guidance, he created, refined and actively owns his plan. It has been quite empowering for him.  We see it clearly through the change in his communication, his confidence and his attitude.  He recently commented that “I wish I’d known this from the start, it would have made college so much better.”

Make no mistake:  Desiree gave him something much more than a tool for success at school; she equipped him to own and maximize his success at any stage in life.  Thank you!

Nancy Anderson

Parents rest assured you can entrust your child to Desiree Panlilio. When our daughter was a very young cadet at the Coast Guard Academy, Desiree and her family became a sponsor to her. Beyond giving her much needed respite from the demands of a military academy, Desiree became a mentor, coach, confidant, surrogate parent, and devoted friend. The bonds of this special relationship have extended well beyond the four-year sponsorship at the academy, throughout our daughter’s tours in the Middle East, Southern Florida and beyond. Desiree’s ability to incorporate skills and experiences from her medical, military, academic and parenting realms make her uniquely qualified to listen to, encourage, counsel and guide youth and young adults through the gauntlet of life’s challenges both on and off campus. As an educator and administrator for more than 40 years, I do strongly recommend Desiree Panlilio as a highly qualified professional. Parents can be comfortable entrusting their son or daughter to her counsel. Desiree Panlilio is truly one of the best!

Tara Dribble

2020 was such a bad year for all of us, but for high school seniors losing out on their final months of school activities and then being expected to march off to adulthood in the midst of a pandemic was a perfect recipe for chaos in my daughter. Desiree was great at helping her realize that while it felt chaotic, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed and helped her reframe her experiences. She worked with my daughter to get herself organized and focused, which helped her self esteem and lead to setting reasonable and realistic goals. She now has a clearer map for her future. We all know there’s no manual for raising children. There’s no definitely no manual on helping them to transition to adulthood while navigating a pandemic. Desiree took time to get to know my daughter and then was able to enable and encourage her to find a balance with school, home, family, and work. My husband and I are very pleased with Desiree’s approach and effort in working with our daughter and highly recommend her.

Jen Williams

Desiree is amazing! She’s a wonderful coach and understands teens very well. She’s organized and communicative with emails and appointment reminders. My son has great respect for her and appreciates the skills she uses to help him succeed academically.

Crystal Clark

Desiree has been a wonderful mentor and leader in her various roles within the community. She has always exhibited great moral values and has been a wealth of knowledge and guidance.

Meredith Anderson

 I was beyond blessed to have Desiree and her family enter my life while I was studying at the Coast Guard Academy. Then, and even now, she and her family have provided me the best counsel and life advice for navigating the military I could ever have asked for.

Kate Robinson

This is the perfect job for Desiree! I’m so very glad to hear she is branching out to share her gift with others. Our daughter is now a well rounded successful sophomore in college and still leans on Desiree as a life mentor.

Focus on the Big Picture, Not the Little Things.

The teen years, are tough for both parent and teen (Desiree Panlilio)

 

– Desiree Panlilio

 

Our Teens are in a state of rapid growth in their teen years. It is a great time to find out what your teen’s strengths are and to build on them and to even out any weaknesses. As a parent we want our teen to grow in independence, responsibility, and accountability. That is a lot of rapid growth in a short amount of time. As their parents, we are our teen’s biggest cheerleader, role model, and mentor. How we embrace each of these roles will help our teen to grow and believe in themselves. We will be nurturing their personal growth as they discover who they are and become comfortable with who they are.

As a parent we never want to ridicule, be judgemental or dismissive of what our teen is sharing or not sharing. With the fast pace of life sometimes we forget to stop and realize that the many things we take for granted our teen is just now learning or starting to understand. Every teen has something that they are struggling with and as a parent we can try to be helpful, to help them understand themselves or help them learn the skills they need to be successful.

How often has your teen forgotten to bring their books home, or that permission slip is crumpled in the bottom of their bag. I am so thankful that at a point the school emailed permission slips, but that is not always the case. This is all about organization. It is about helping them know what they should bring home and how to use their time. A way to do this is with a planner and with you as a parent modeling that behavior. One of my tricks was to have the Sunday evening meeting. Everyone shared what was going on in their life in the upcoming week. I put it all on the calendar that way we all had a visual memory of what was going on. It was also easier for me to teach organizational skills throughout the week. 

However, before you have the conversation with your teen pause and take into account a few truths about teens and our own delivery of communicating with our teen. For teens, pride and image are huge. It is not by chance that parents often say, “my teen knows everything” or “My teen won’t listen so why do I bother?” Your teen is listening but perhaps the delivery is what needs to be evaluated.

Encounters with our teens that are sporadic, judging and accusing do not end well. Our viewpoint that our teen won’t listen is reinforced. However, as a parent the behavior of your teen is up to you. If you are going to have a conversation with your teen on a subject area such as organization or taking out the trash, how long do you prepare for that one-on-one communication opportunity? A couple of minutes or less, you see the garbage was not taken out and in those few seconds you have already decided the pathway for the conversation.

What if you took a few minutes to plan what you were going to say, think about how your teen will react during this encounter? What could you say and your teen say in response? Consider both positive and negative responses and how you will respond to them. Then consider how you would respond to either of those situations. Going in hotheaded, frustrated, and disorganized to try and have a constructive conversation with your teen, you lose credibility and the conversation deteriorates into, “I told you so” “just do what I say”. In response your teen will respond with similar statements and the communication breaks down. But look at it from another position. You are role modeling communication strategies that your teen will use later in life. That is a moment for pause. To think about the conversation and how you would like it to develop and how to deal with negative responses in a positive manner. It is not easy. It is a learned skill. It is something we can all work on as we help our teens develop and grow.

 

 

 

 

Study, Study, Study, But Where?

I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.

(Thomas Jefferson)

 

– Desiree Panlilio

 

Creating a space for studying and doing homework is a critical process in combining comfort, productivity, and compromise. Yes – compromise. It is a conversation for parents and teens to have. Have your teen tell you what they want in a study space, and it does not include “doing homework on my bed” or “I can watchDisney+ at the same time”. It is having a conversation about what is realistic and how to make the study space an environment that your teen can be productive in and you as the parent can support. Involving teens in the creation of their own study space gives them a sense of independence and accountability in creating the space they will work in. A few talking points about creating that study space.

First, where is your teen going to study? The study space needs to be a designated space. Not the dining room table. That is not going to work. A shared space creates distraction. The dining table where you eat creates a time constraint that involves setting up and taking down the space for meals. A desk placed somewhere that everyone can agree upon is the best choice. Your teen’s bedroom is probably the most logical place. A desk that is designated for homework is essential. It is not where laundry or anything else is piled on. Afterall, none of us would have our work space crowded with laundry and the mail.

Next, think about lighting. A study space that is not lit properly may make your teen feel sleepy and put strain on their eyes. Make sure their screen contrast is comfortable to look at, use a small desk lamp to light your immediate study area, and a larger lamp or overhead light to light the rest of the room. Natural light is fine, but make sure the temptation to look out of the window doesn’t distract your teen from their studies.

“What about background sounds and noise”, you may ask? Your teen may be the kind of person who enjoys a little background noise when studying. However, the most important thing to do is make sure the noise is their noise i.e. music that your teen has decided on. Your teen can create study music playlists for variable lengths of time. The question of whether or not listening to music while studying can boost your performance remains hotly debated. I feel that this is a preference that parents and teens can decide on. What you don’t want is noise from your neighbor, traffic outside, or television. Those can be distractions, so try to minimize this as much as you can.
Noise canceling earbuds of some sort make it easy for your teen to listen to music and not distract others around them

Put the phone and distractions away. I often have teens make their laptop their work computer. No social media apps including Netflix and YouTube. Your teen then has no distractions keeping them from studying. Make sure that with the phone and distractions gone that all the other supplies your teen will need are in their study space. Keep traditional school supplies (pens, paper, books) in a designated area on the desk or in a desk drawer. Make sure there are extra chargers with a power source. This way your teen does not have to go in search of their chargers, the one used for studying is always at the ready. If possible, have a wall calendar or desk calendar to track assignments, athletics, and social engagements. This allows your teen to see what is coming up and to create motivation to get the work done.

These are just a few thoughts on creating that study area. The idea of a study space allows your teen to get into the mindset, “that is where I study, I focus, and I work toward the academic goals I have written for the semester or quarter.” Creating the study space with your teen is an opportunity to talk about the environment they want to create and to do something “fun” together. Building the study space together is a chance to build the relationship.

Another valuable tool is the perfect planner, and the one designed by Encouraging Teens is the perfect planner. It allows to create schedules, manage time, write and evaluate SMART goals and ongoing reminders to celebrate accomplishments and learn from hurdles. Pick one up for your teen. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Thoughts.

A Moment to Pause…Reflect.

 

– Desiree Panlilio

 

September 11 marks the anniversary of 9/11, the largest terrorist attack in U.S. history. I know that as parents we all know where we were and what we were doing on that Tuesday morning in 2001. But a short recap on the day’s events. On that Tuesday morning, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four American commercial flights destined for the West Coast and intentionally crashed them. Two planes—American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175—departed from Boston and Flight 11 struck New York City’s World Trade Center North Tower at 8:46 am and Flight 175 the South Tower at 9:03 am, resulting in the collapse of both towers. A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, leaving from Dulles International Airport in Virginia, crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 am, and the final plane, United Airlines Flight 93, departing from Newark, N.J., crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pa., at 10:03 am, after passengers stormed the cockpit and tried to subdue the hijackers. In the space of less than 90 minutes, the world changed. The events of 9/11 not only reshaped the global response to terrorism, but raised new and troubling questions about security and our personal privacy.

Fast forward to today, for our teens 9/11 is history. Our teens were not born and the world they are in is much different. Today take a moment to discuss the events of that day and your own personal thoughts. Take a moment to reflect on what is going on today in our world, how do we build compassion, empathy, grace, and understanding in a world full of chaos and disconnect. As parents, we are our teen’s biggest mentor and discussing family values and thoughts on world events helps our teens to develop values and a moral compass that will shape how they interact in their world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New School Year, Who is Part of Your Village?

It takes a village to raise a child. (Nigerian Proverb)

 

– Desiree Panlilio

 

A life coach is an individual who helps their clients navigate the daily challenges and opportunities that life presents. They are the person whose job it is to improve the quality of their client’s life by offering thought-provoking questions on professional and personal matters. The life coach helps an individual define or discover their purpose. This is the perfect definition for adults who are seeking life coaching for their career, health, or to enhance personal relationships. However, this definition is out of touch with the needs of life coaching for teenagers.

The definition of this specific niche of life coaching needs to be tailored to that of the teenage population. As they mature, teenagers are developing metacognition (the ability to reflect upon our own thoughts and behavior) and are undergoing both physiological and physical changes. The teenager is not seeking a life coach for their career, health, or personal relationships. In most cases, it is the parent who is looking for another member for their “team” to help their teenager manage the inevitable transitions that come with being a teenager.

Transitions are specific life-changing events, such as the school change from middle school to high school. This transition occurs over a short span of time and upsets established routines which may disrupt academic goals, social roles, and networks. This is happening at a time when the teen is experiencing developmental transitions at the physical, cognitive, and psychological level. These transitions are part of the teenager’s normal life trajectory, and having a life coach who understands these changes can help to ease these transitions by empowering the teenager, ensuring that the teenager has purpose and helping the teenager look to the future. The life coach encourages and walks alongside the teenager, helping them to successfully navigate these developmental milestones and transitions.


Along with being a life coach to the teenager, the life coach often finds the need to take on the additional role of skills coach. As the skills coach to a teenager, there is a need to teach time-management skills, communication skills, organizational skills, and goal setting. All of these skills need to be taught in such a way as to be utilized and effective for each individual teenager. An organizational tool that works for one individual may not work for another and having more than one option to explore is a necessity for the teenage life coach. Teenagers are learning and developing these skills and the life/skills coach must be flexible in their approach. It is the life coach’s responsibility to find the right tools in order for the teenager to be successful.

As a teen life coach, I focus on helping teenagers navigate their challenges and achieve their goals. Teenagers are discovering who they are, where they want to go, and trying to understand the process of how to reach their goal. It is a journey that can be hazardous and frustrating for the teenager. It is difficult to understand and navigate the ever-changing landscape of academics, social expectations, and personal relationships. A life coach helps the teenager to navigate these challenging issues. Life coaching is a relationship that allows the teenager to maximize their potential.


To maximize their potential it is important to focus on the teenager’s strengths, to build on those strengths and help them to develop other areas to create a well-rounded individual. Exploring principles and values and how to incorporate these into their everyday lifestyle builds their confidence. By building their confidence, the teenager will be open to new learning, self-discovery and understand that life coaching is goal-directed, client-centered and rooted in the present and future.


Teenagers are dynamic individuals, faced with physiological changes, psychological changes, and the ever-fluid teenage world. It is the time in their life where they are confronted and often confused as to what the expectations and future holds. A life coach “walks” beside the teenager and provides encouragement, and asks the right questions to help the teenager design their own success. By providing the correct organizational tools and teaching and developing the skills teenagers need, a life coach helps the teenager grow in autonomy, helping them to develop their own goals and personal choices. You will see growth in competence as they gain confidence in their abilities and understand their principles and personal mission statement. This helps to build intrinsic motivation and purpose as they focus on their goals. With this new purpose and empowerment the teenager is able to envision their future and the life coach will have provided the encouragement and accountability to see this growth in the teenager.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are What We Think.

Shift your energy to what you can create. You are the author of your story, create it, and star in it. (Desiree Panlilio)

 

– Desiree Panlilio

 

I am a believer in positive affirmations. I have my clients come up with personalized positive affirmations that help them to change what they think about who they are. The question may be, why do I do that?

Research has shown that as much as seventy-seven percent of everything we think is negative, counterproductive, and works against us. As our teens are growing up they are often told “no” by us, their parents. As parents we often tell our children what they can not do. We do this to help our children to be safe, and to teach them how to behave and interact in our larger community and the world. It is not that we are bad parents. We are raising incredibly strong children that will go out and do amazing things in the world. What we did not realize was that while we were doing this we were also inadvertently undermining our teen’s self esteem and self worth. Over time this undermines our teen’s confidence. Our teens struggle with a sense of who they are, and that maybe they could not do something. Part of it is that victim mentality, and part is the fear of failing again. They do not want to be told “no” or not to do something. Our teen will become what they most believe about themselves, that maybe they don’t measure up. Your teen has created a wall, and if we are honest, a number of adults also have the same wall that stands invisibly but powerfully between us and our unlimited futures for as long as our old programming remains in force. Unless the programming we received is erased or replaced with different programming, it will stay with us permanently and affect and direct everything we do for the rest of our lives.

As a teen life coach I encourage teens to create positive affirmations and positive self talk. I do this because the brain simply believes what you tell it most. And what you tell it about you it will create. It has no choice. An example is always helpful. Think of your daughter who early in elementary school tries to play soccer and misses kicking the ball and the teacher tells your daughter she is not athletic and can not play soccer. That moment sticks and your daughter is now convinced they are not athletic and never tries out to play another sport. It is one of those moments that creates the image your daughter carries with her. Now in college your daughter is encouraged by friends to come play a fun soccer game and she is able to participate. A moment where your daughter realizes that her self talk beforehand had been negative and she has a shift. However what if the self talk was changed to being positive.

That is something as parents we can help with and help our teens see their potential. Instead of saying “no” , allowing our teen to try something and then focusing on the success, even if they fail, builds their self esteem and resilience, which is what we want. Encouraging our teen to have positive affirmations and positive self talk empowers your teen at moments when they are facing negative peer pressure, and that is what we all want as parents.

It is important for our teens to find ways to build their own self-esteem and self-confidence. Building and growing these traits ensures that our teens will be confident adults willing to move out of their comfort zone to try new things and build the success and future that they want.

This year help your teen create the story they want to star in. Create goals, write down positive affirmations, celebrate the accomplishments of your teen. Help them to realize their potential. 

 

 

 

 

Space for Personal Growth.

Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still. (Chinese Proverb)

 

– Desiree Panlilio

 

Personal growth means improving your behavior and habits, and refers to the tools we each use for building positive habits, behavior, actions, and reactions. I am often heard saying “do better, be better”. That is a quick definition of personal growth and a reminder that personal growth never stops. As an adult we need to continue on the journey of personal growth and stepping into the new and improved version of ourselves everyday. It is by finding the space or the time to reflect on who we are, and what and how we are growing. It all begins by having goals

Personal growth is just that, it is something you identify in yourself that you want to work on. I have had parents and friends ask me what I am working on, and how do I “discover” what personal growth I need to work on. Personal growth to me refers to the self-improvement of my skills, knowledge, personal qualities, life goals and outlook. That is a huge mass of areas and I certainly do not focus on all of it at once. So I create goals for the year and each quarter of the year and dig into one area of my being I want to improve. I am happy to say that I am much different from my 20-something, know-it-all personality, although I know it rears its head at the worst moments. The great thing about personal growth is, I see that coming and sometimes I can stop the words or behavior from entering the conversation I am engaged in. I will be honest; I know that all personality mostly shows up when I am having a discussion with my own daughters. For that reason, I have created listening with curiosity goals and to not create my response while my daughters are talking but to keep being curious and then sharing thoughts.

But how do you decide what to work on? I take time at the end of the day for self-reflection on what I did well and what I need to work on. I write it down, and on a monthly basis I read through my journal and spot trends and will then comment and reflect on that trend. It leads to opportunities to create goals and to improve who I am. So finding the space for personal growth is about finding the time to journal, or write down thoughts about what you need to improve for yourself. A word of caution, also take the time to write down what you are awesome at. We are great at picking out our faults but also remember to cheer yourself on, give yourself credit and celebrate! We are each unique, having our own struggles and acknowledging not only our growth opportunities but our strengths helps us to feel positive about the personal growth goals that we create.

One of my top ways to continue on my personal journey of growth is to read. You can hit me up on a topic and I am sure I have a book I can recommend. I also have a book club where we read books that are meant to challenge our beliefs and then we have fierce conversations about each of our beliefs and how the book challenged our views and changed our perspective. So I encourage you as a parent to create the time for reflection, write down your goals, and continue that journey of personal growth.

We are constantly growing and would like you to be a part of that. Follow us on Instagram @encouragingteens and join our group on Facebook; Encouraging Teens and to never miss a blog post subscribe to our newsletter on LinkedIn. Our first book is out, One Friend? Two Friends? Good Friend? Bad Friend? 

 Go to our website and see what else is happening here at Encouraging Teens, catch the wave. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write Goals!

Only three percent of adults have written goals, and everyone else works for them.
(Brian Tracy)

 

– Desiree Panlilio

 

Brian Tracy is the CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. That quote by Brian Tracy made me pause and think, “Do adults have goals?” On further investigation, I realized that adults do have goals, which are often vague, not defined, so it is more of a vision, a dream. There is no clear goal and the steps required to obtain that goal are missing. Most important adults I asked had no date and no timeline of when they will achieve that goal. The “goal” was something to work toward as they moved through life, and had no date to achieve the goal. The standard by which I believe goals should be written, SMART goals, was not being utilized by adults. By not having clear goals and a pathway to achieving the goal, your individual goals give way to helping someone else to achieve their goals. All of a sudden you are helping someone else achieve their goals and helping them create success while your own goals are further pushed into the future. The question becomes, will you ever achieve your own goals and the success you want, or will you continue to help others achieve their goals? What is your focus? However, let me share why goals matter.

Goals are important for adults and teens. If you want your teen to have goals, you as the parent need to model creating goals, monitoring your goal progress and celebrating when you achieve your goal.

The importance of goals is to create accountability. A goal comes with a set of objectives that must be met in order for the goal to be achieved. The goal must be clear, precise and have a date that it must be achieved. Most importantly, the goal has to be written down. If your goal is not written down it is not going to materialize. It is easy if something is in your head, to change the goal, change the date you want to achieve it and to not focus on creating the success that goal will bring to you. The method I like to use in creating a goal is the SMART goal system. This system will have you write a “specific, measurable, attainable, results focused, and time sensitive goal”. By following the SMART goal system, you will then be able to create and write down the objectives and the dates each objective must be met in order to achieve the goal. A weekly review of your goals helps to keep you on track. This also role models to your teen how important it is to have goals and to work toward achieving them. We all want personal success and to achieve those goals are the cornerstone of moving forward into the life that you want.

The result of achieving your goal is personal satisfaction, and moving toward the success that you want in life. Your teenager will see this. They may not say anything, but they are watching and learning and will start to create goals which you can encourage through conversation. The accountability, the focus, and direction goals give your life is an important life skill.


As a parent you can move from individual goals to family goals. Family goals focus on achieving accomplishments agreed upon by the family. This is an easy way to role model goal writing and the importance of it. An example of a family goal may be a community project: Our family will volunteer to lay wreaths with the organization Wreaths Across America this December. Next is to write down the steps to make this happen, such as how do we volunteer, where do we volunteer, what date does this take place, what time? All of these questions can be researched and answered and it role models goal setting and the steps to make the goal a reality. Once you have completed the goal, celebrate and create the next family goal.


As a parent, we are the most influential person in our teen’s life. It may not seem that way, but they are constantly watching and evaluating our behavior. What behavior do you want your teen to learn?

For help with writing goals check out our online course on goal setting. This is a goal setting workshop designed for tweens, teens and young adults. The course is a go at your own pace and teaches the methodology behind SMART goals. Want a way to track all of that progress, order our planner. Check out the website for the link. Give your teen an edge this year. 

 

 

Take Time to Reflect.

Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.
(Peter Drucker)

 

– Desiree Panlilio

 

I am asked, “Why do we need to reflect?” What is the purpose of reflection? As an adult, I am too busy with work, kids, and life to find the time to stop and reflect. But taking time for self-reflection is so important, and here are some reasons why. Self-reflection is a part of self care and helps us to “do better and be better.”
Self-reflection builds self-awareness as it allows us to look with curiosity at our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions. It is a chance to step back and ask the “why” and what is behind our actions and emotions. Self-reflection leads you to growth, positivity, and happiness. By journaling your responses you give yourself permission to grow and understand yourself and where you want to focus your growth.


Self-reflection is an essential skill for personal growth. Without it, we walk around unconscious and often reactive to others and even our own selves. We have all had that conversation with our teen, where we blurt out something mean, inappropriate, or sarcastic. The moment the words are out, we want to eat them, to take them back. We regretted the comment the moment the words were out. Those words are based on an emotional response, and self-reflection might assist you in choosing healthier responses and changing behaviors (even thoughts) that aren’t working well for you. After all, communication is the relationship, and evaluating how we communicate, what we say, and how we say it is so important. I find that journaling a “bad” interaction with my teen allows me to assess it and then write how I wish the situation would have gone if I could have a “do-over”. We don’t always get a do-over, but we can learn to first apologize and how to restructure our communication to build trust and the relationship with our teen.


The intent of self-reflection is to assist you in positive change, not to bring you down, or to make you feel like a bad person or a bad parent. Our children are changing and we are changing. We are constantly growing and learning and discovering a new and better version of ourselves. Let self-reflection instead lead you to better ways to support yourself. Practice self-compassion, and listen to your inner knowing. Where are your strengths, how to build on them. How do you grow your weaknesses into strengths? Consistent positive self-reflection can help in your process of personal and spiritual growth and transformation. Writing goals and steps to achieve personal, spiritual, and transformational growth is also important.


Reflection is often performed through writing, possibly because this allows us to probe our reflections and develop them more thoughtfully. I like to write down at the end of the day what I have done well, and how to do it better. I also like to reflect on where or what was my biggest “screw up”, and how do I do better, and what do I need to do to make sure I do not repeat that mistake. Because let’s be realistic, I can find a new way to mess things up tomorrow, the possibilities are endless. The one thing that is also endless is the grace I give myself, to know that I am trying my best and tomorrow is an opportunity to apologize and to work toward a better version of myself. It is all in a positive frame of mind, that growth mindset that I can and will do better.


Now, if you want to experience the benefits of self-reflection, but need a little assistance, working with a life coach can be helpful. Life coaches help you self-reflect by asking the tough questions, helping you discover the answer, and then digging a little deeper to really understand where you are right now and where you want to see yourself, to create the future that you want to have. We all know the path that we want to take. Having a life coach helps you to find the exact pathway you want to take and how to create that pathway and goals to the success that you want to have in your future.

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Is It Rebellion or Growth?

To an adolescent, there is nothing in the world more embarrassing than a parent.
(Dave Barry).

 

– Desiree Panlilio

 

Often I have parents call and want help because their teenager is rebelling. As parents we are accustomed to our precious little kids not questioning us, but joyfully doing what we ask. So when our teenagers reach an age where it’s natural for them to question, parents often see this as rebellion or defiance. Can I help? Life coaching is about coming alongside the client and helping them to discover the solutions that will work best in their situation. I ask the tough questions, provide some teaching of skills as needed. I assure parents that the word defiant and rebellious are not the choice of words to use as their teenager begins to question their parenting style. Teenagers are gaining independence, developing critical thinking skills and trying to fit in with their friends and maintain a relationship with their parents. That is a lot to package up into a young teenager. What most adolescents do is to push back in a normal, healthy way. Here are a few ways to navigate the moments that create stress as your teenager tries to gain control and independence.


Compromise where it makes sense. Open up the lines of communication and have a conversation about expectations. For example, the messy room. Parents have an expectation of how the room should look, where things should go. Well, so does the teenager and more often than not, the parent and teen are on different pages, which is okay. The key to solving this situation is not to give your teen an ultimatum. “Clean your room or you can’t go out this weekend.” Instead, it needs to be a conversation where both parties get to voice their opinion with the honest intent to understand the other person’s perspective. I then encourage brainstorming, where the parents and teenager come up with a solution. Communication is the key to the relationship and finding solutions. This opportunity helps to develop problem solving skills that your teenager will use for the rest of their life. The solution may not be perfect and the agreement may be that it is tried for a period of time and then re-evaluated. The important takeaway is that the parent and teenager took the time to solve the problem together building trust in the relationship.


There was a book called “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson. I will be honest. I have not read the book, but I like the title. As a parent, do not sweat the small stuff with your teenager. Teenagers need boundaries and rules, some of which are not small stuff and not negotiable. Those non-negotiable rules and boundaries need to be clearly spelled out. What those rules and boundaries are, are determined by you, the parent, based on your principles, values, and life perspective. There is no right or wrong boundary. Your teenager believes in your right to set boundaries and they want those boundaries. It lets them know that you care, and it gives them something to rub up against. However, other issues, such as the music your teenager listens to, the clothes they wear, are areas where a discussion and compromise can happen. It is about deciding what the battles will be.


Communication is the relationship. Communicate often with your teenager. Keeping the lines of communication open, allow for the discussion of topics before they escalate and ultimatums are being tossed around and later regretted. I have had many parents share that they have regretted the ultimatum and wished that the conversation stopped as emotions escalated. I have told parents that stopping a conversation that has become too emotional to be rational is okay. It is about taking responsibility for the decline in the conversation and finding a way back from the edge. A certain amount of push back is normal from your teenager, it should be expected. I tell parents it is part of growing up, becoming independent and autonomous. The teenager is finding their own way and it should be embraced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capture the moment.

Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.     (Mother Teresa).

 

– Desiree Panlilio

 

There’s a popular saying “nothing is more important than family”. It’s the most important aspect of many people’s lives and the foundation of human civilization. Despite its importance, we often don’t spend enough time with our families as we should. For us as parents life becomes hectic, sometimes chaotic and our work commitments often keep us from spending time with our teen. However, it is so important to take time and to spend time with our teen. Time is the one thing we as humans can never give back and it is the greatest gift we can give to anyone. Giving our time to others is a way to show them that we care, that they matter and they are who we want to spend time with. For our teens they feel that having their parents show up and spend time with them is a key element in the teen trusting the parent and developing a relationship with their parent.
And the most important part of spending time with your family is communication, this builds the relationship.

Capturing the moment and spending time with your teen creates a bond that is not easily broken. It also provides emotional support to our teens. To teens, emotional support means they can talk to their parents about challenges, and expect parents will respond in a non-judgemental way. Parents will then help their teen navigate the challenge and help their teen develop the crucial thinking skills and communication skills to successfully navigate the challenge.
As well the idea of capturing the moment is about companionship. Companionship involves spending quality time together and genuinely enjoying each other’s company. This could be listening to music, hiking, dinner or watching a movie. All of this can build trust and create moments where our teen shares information about their life and we are there to listen and support.


Lastly, capturing the moment is a time for parents to role model behavior for your teen and to have a discussion about rules, expectations and boundaries. Remember all that time you have spent capturing the moment and building the relationship makes it easier for your teen to accept the rules and expectations you as the parent set for as the opportunity to share the reasons behind them are clearly explained in the many moments you and your teen spend together.

Our relationship with our teen is loving, nurturing and well meaning. However, like every relationship we need to make sure we take time to be with our teen. TO let them have that safe space with us where they can share what is going on in their lives and that we are there to help them gain the life skills they need to be successful in the world. The teen years are that transition between the young child and the young adult. It is a period of immense growth that we as parents must make sure we are a key member of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Blog

Read up on the latest events and musings through a positive and life-applicable Encouraging Teens’ lens.

Is It Rebellion or Growth?

Is It Rebellion or Growth?

To an adolescent, there is nothing in the world more embarrassing than a parent.(Dave Barry).   – Desiree Panlilio   Often I have parents call and want help because their teenager is rebelling. As parents we are accustomed to our precious little kids not...

Capture the moment.

Capture the moment.

Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.     (Mother Teresa).   – Desiree Panlilio   There’s a popular saying “nothing is more important than family”. It’s the most important aspect of many people’s lives and the foundation of human...

Sometimes my children think I’m getting on their back.
What they don’t realize is that often times
I’m the only one who has their back.
– Anonymous