Tips for Raising Entrepreneurial Children
If you are an entrepreneur as well as a parent, think back to your own childhood. What, about the way you were raised, encouraged you to take the bold and intrepid path of starting your own business? Most likely, your parents’ values rubbed off on you in some way, shaping you into the accomplished adult you are today. As an entrepreneur, you realize that tomorrow’s leaders and visionaries are today’s children. As a parent, you want the best for your children. With that being said, here are some tips for raising entrepreneurial children.
Encourage them to learn from their mistakes
No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes, so instead of lecturing your child over a low test score or poor decision, you should encourage them to learn and grow from their mistakes. With my own children, I believe in starting them off with a generous yet modest amount of money (say, $50,000) to enable them to start their own business before going to college, if they choose. Obviously, there is a good chance they will fail, given the young age, small budget and inexperience. But l believe that failing on one’s own and experiencing things end-to-end can be very valuable, giving young adults the ability to form their own opinions as well as have a better understanding of what they would like to pursue in life.
Some may find his ideas to be a little eccentric, but I support the philosophy of entrepreneur James Altucher who wrote the book, 40 Alternatives to College. Altucher got a lot of backlash for his book, but he argues that college is essentially an expensive extension of childhood, and there are more valuable ways to spend those four years. He told his own daughter, as he reluctantly saw her off to college, “Don’t worry about grades. Not a single person ever will ask you about your grades. Just learn to be a kind person. And make friends with good people.” There’s some logic there.
Problem solve together
When your child comes to you with a problem, instead of giving them an immediate answer or just telling them what they want to hear, work on arriving at a solution together. Problem solving is an essential aspect of running a business, so it’s best to develop this skill in your child at an early age.
Encourage them to form their own decisions
The only way to instill a spirit of independence and confidence in your child is to let them make some decisions on their own. If you decide for them all the time, they could become too dependent on others and unable to form their own opinions. Start small when they’re young and let them make small choices such as what to wear or what vegetable to eat with dinner. As your children get older, you can trust them with bigger decisions such as abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and choosing a college or career path.
Support their interests
Never squash your child’s passions, no matter what they are, because great business ideas are born out of passion. Whether your child loves art, theater, music, writing, math, or science, support and nurture that interest, encouraging them to persevere with it.
Set a positive example
Ultimately, your kids will look to you for guidance and advice. Many of your own behaviors and values, good or bad, will manifest in your children, so you should do your absolute best to set a positive example. According to Forbes contributor, Chris Meyers, if you wish to instill creativity, hard work, and grit in your child, then you need to model those traits yourself.
Remember that your children don’t have to be just like you. Support them, encourage them, but let them be their own person. If you do these things, you’ll be amazed at the capable and confident adults they mature into.