School is serious business — so treat it like one by taking charge and calling a business meeting at the start of a new academic year.
Your parents have a dual role to play: as administrative assistants to the CEO (you) and as advisory board members, holding you accountable to performance standards that have been negotiated and agreed upon in advance. These standards concern grades, attendance, curfew, or responsibilities at home.
- At the meeting, you should present your action plan for managing your schoolwork. This presentation should include a list of observable behaviors that will be the benchmark of developmental readiness — social, emotional, and academic self-management.
- Observable behaviors might include initiating schoolwork without reminders, getting up on time and getting out the door with all your items, keeping up with your assignments, and/or a change in how you respond to reminders from your parents.
- Your agreement should contain measurable goals and objectives for the coming year, such as grades on tests, quizzes, projects, and daily assignments. There should also be discussion about plans for high school and beyond. Your parents should be asked to give input and to tell you the ways they will support your efforts as you practice these new management skills.
- Parents may step back and allow you to get yourself up and off to school in the morning or let you set your own study time. They are the administrative assistants to you, the CEO. As part of this signed agreement, there should be periodic performance reviews. If you are not meeting standards, your parents reserve the right to step into a supervisory role again.
JILL MURPHY is an ADHD life skills and academic coach, a special educator, and a parent support facilitator at addresources.org. CYNTHIA ENFINGER, M.A., has been teaching elementary, middle school, high school, and college for 31 years.
This article appears in the Fall issue of ADDitude.
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