Help your teen make decisions with long-term goals in mind. Model important values for your teens by seriously asking yourself these questions when facing a decision of your own: "Will this honor God? Will this help me or hinder me in reaching my goal?". Make your teen’s dreams the topic of conversations regularly to help him or her keep a vision of the future in view.

Turn scars into badges of honor. Assure your teen that everyone encounters setbacks on the way to realizing their dreams. Remind your teen that hard times can be opportunities for growth and fine-tuning goals. Help your teen cope with setbacks by acknowledging the hurt, explaining that they’re a normal part of God’s pruning process to help him or her grow and blossom, and considering how the experience might be turned into an opportunity to pursue an even higher dream.

Urge your teen not to quit in the middle of a commitment (such as midway through a sports season or play rehearsal), but to fulfill that commitment and then pray about what to do. Listen carefully to your teen and allow him or her to drop activities that truly aren’t working for him or her.

Do whatever it takes to help your teen’s dreams come true. Be willing to invest your time, energy, money and other resources, creativity, and humility into your teen’s pursuits. Know that it’s all worthwhile, because it’s an investment in your teen’s future and in your relationship with him or her.

If you’re married, work with your spouse as a team to encourage your teen. Make sure you’re on the same page about how to encourage your teen. Hold private conversations to discuss issues about which you disagree. Recognize that you and your spouse are different so that you can complement each other. Respect your mate’s unique perspective and talk and listen to each other in love.

Make sure the dreams are truly your teen’s – not your own. Never force your own dreams on your teen. Recognize that doing so is a recipe for disaster. Understand that God has a unique purpose for your teen’s life that may differ significantly from your own. Embrace the unique person God has made your teen to be.

Chill out! Don’t worry if your teen’s dreams aren’t clear or coming true as soon as you’d like. Realize that the story of your teen’s growth into a mature person who honors God is still being written. Be patient, and remember that God isn’t finished with your teen yet.

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Adapted from Wired by God by Joe White with Larry Weeden, copyright 2004 by Joe White. A Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Ill., www.tyndale.com.

Joe White is the author of 14 books, including the 1997 Gold Medallion Book of the Year for Teens, Pure Excitement. He is the president and founder of Kanakuk Kamps. He and his wife, Debbie-Jo, have four grown children and live in Branson, Missouri.

Larry Weeden is a veteran of more than 25 years in Christian publishing and serves as director of book development for Focus on the Family. He and his wife, Beth, have one son, Matt.