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Mission Statement: District 88 mission: To work for the continuous improvement of student achievement. Through that mission, District 88 schools have been named as Top Schools in America by Newsweek and the Washington Post.


Counseling Corner: Teaching your student independence

One of the main goals of the Addison Trail Guidance Department is to help students develop into independent and responsible adults. As part of that focus, counselors continuously guide your son/daughter into independence through supporting them in monitoring their grades and attendance, behavior, future academic choices, college choices, social/emotional decisions, friend choices and employment.

We are always trying to protect our children, but the question is when and how do we create independence? It can be worrisome to let our children grow up, but at some point we need to support them and teach them how to be responsible adults. Here are some tips to consider with regard to this topic.

  1. Academics: Don’t micromanage. As hard as it might be, give your son/daughter some space. Let them do their work, don’t do it for them. Talk to their counselor if you have questions on how to help them be successful. There are plenty of tools used in school to provide your child support such as afterschool tutoring, the Writing Center, the Math Resource Center, counseling, ATR (resource period), teacher support and much more. Students need to find balance, and they need to learn they are responsible for themselves and their academics.

  2. Managing their time: As parents/guardians, sometimes it’s just easier to do it for them, but we are not creating independence when we do this. We need to encourage our children to use alarms, calendars, establish routines, create a schedule and be on time. If we always do it for them, they will never establish independence.

  3. Self-care: Students need to learn how to take care of themselves, and we as parents/guardians need to guide them. Teenagers sometimes forget or don’t know how to care for themselves, so we need to help them by teaching them and modeling positive and appropriate self-care behaviors.

  4. Home care: It’s important to support our children in being able to be on their own. They need to be able to pick up after themselves, whether it’s cleaning their room, picking up their dishes, doing laundry, making simple meals, etc.

  5. Communication: It’s important to teach teens how to communicate with other teens and adults with respect. This might be easier said than done. Some teens might not have the confidence to communicate with adults, and others have issues with authority. Include your teen in making some of the rules. We need to model the respect we are expecting from them. At the same time, we need to allow them some privacy.

  6. Finances: Many teens don’t understand the concept of money, so it’s important to teach them how to manage the money they have and understand what it is they have and how to save or spend it. We need to help them understand money isn’t “limitless,” and we need to earn it and be mindful of how we spend it. Modeling this behavior is a great way to show them how to do this.

  7. Know your way around: As students mature, they will need to be independent regarding where they go and how they get there, whether it’s how to get around school, their town or out of state. Even if they don’t drive, they should start gaining a perspective of their surroundings and be aware of how to get places. This will help them develop and create confidence as they grow and enter college or the workforce.

These are just a few suggestions on how to help your son/daughter develop independence. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Guidance Department, and we would be happy to assist you in the growing process.

Source: Tips above are based on the article by Mary Sauer entitled “7 Things Kids Need To Do For Themselves Before They Turn 13.” To read the article, go to https://tinyurl.com/y824j7qy.

Addison Trail High School
213 N. Lombard Road Addison, IL 60101
Phone: 630-628-3300 Fax: 630-628-0177
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