Setting Your Child Up for Success
It seems perfectly fitting that clinical counselor Tony Iacubino has an office in the same building that Judd Hirsch made famous in the iconic ‘80s movie set in Lake Forest, “Ordinary People.”
“I know that there are a lot of places that I could treat my clients,” explains Tony. “Having grown up in Lake Forest, this movie has always been deeply relevant to me. What has stuck with me most was its message that ordinary wisdom applies to us all, even to those who possess extraordinary wealth and privilege. Now that I’m a therapist, I encourage my clients to accept things that are beyond their control as they are and to take responsibility for that which they can.”
As for the parents Tony counsels, he believes there is nothing more important than to listen to their children with acceptance and empathy. “I find so often that the solutions to problems have a tendency to emerge in the minds of children and teens when someone is simply listening to them and by occasionally asking thought-provoking questions,” he says. “As opposed to lecturing and advising, this method implicitly communicates confidence in your child’s ability to master the challenge at hand.”
The issues Tony most finds himself consulting on these days revolve around academic performance, socialization problems, kids’ preoccupation with the Internet, and jam-packed schedules. “There used to be natural structures in place that fostered spontaneous communication between children and parents and that also served to protect against unwanted influences,” Tony says. “For example, when I was a kid and a friend wanted to reach me, they had to call my house and my mom or dad would answer the phone. Today, technological advances enable our children to have 24-hour access to friends and the Internet. I think parents feel they are losing the competition with technology for their children’s attention and are experiencing a loss of influence in their lives,” he adds.
Tony has a soft spot for kids from the North Shore, having been one himself. A graduate of Lake Forest High School, Tony knows first-hand that kids from affluent neighborhoods face significant pressures. “Kids from Lake Forest and Lake Bluff have a lot on their plates and can lose sight of proportion in such a hypercompetitive atmosphere,” he says. “And because they’re from wealthy communities, it’s difficult for some to be as sympathetic as they would be towards those who are relatively disadvantaged. What’s that saying? ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’ This is our children’s reality,” Tony says.
One month into the new school year, many parents may find themselves asking what they can do to ensure a successful year for their child. Based on Tony’s clinical experience, he offers the following tips:
Take advantage of places like CROYA. “I can’t say enough about this youth-driven organization. The Student Union is a cool and casual meeting place for teens and young adults. It is a place that offers a ton of opportunities for self-growth and social support outside of the classroom, “ Tony says.
To make an appointment with Tony Iacubino, call 847-780-0055.
—Ann Marie Scheidler