As a child, I always imagined working in a corporate world and yet here I am, an Engineer with masters in Banking and Finance, trying to build something on my own. At times, it makes me wonder that are we really raising our kids with entrepreneurial mindset.
Two ventures old and mother of a child, I still find it hard to see raising a child to be an entrepreneur as an option. We are still struck on raising engineers, doctors, lawyers and for the more open-minded parents, painters, artists, architects and designers.
We do not dare tread further from that and still want our kids to be like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Anita Roddick, Sir Richard Branson, Jack Ma and the likes. May I call it ‘The Modern Parenting Paradox’ where we train our children to be professionals but want them to be entrepreneurs!
An entrepreneurial mind is very different from a professional mind. The former does not seek security whereas for a latter it is paramount. An entrepreneur basks in the risk and reward relationship while the latter shrinks. These differences make case for grooming entirely different skill sets.
So why don’t we do our children and ourselves a favour of inculcating entrepreneurship? Just like we identify our children’s strength and guide them on a suitable career path, let us identify the entrepreneurial traits and nurture them. Here’s how:
7 Tips to Raise Entrepreneurial Kids
1. Encourage Problem Solving
There is always a child who questions the rules and why certain things work a certain way. If you have one, encourage her to think of other ways to accomplish the same task. Question her why does she think change is needed, what can be done instead and how it can be done.
These are constructive ways to explore an idea where reaching a solution is not a mandate. Participate with your child and brainstorm till you reach a conclusion.
2. Let Them Fail
Allow your child to learn from his mistakes. As parents we tend to be protective. So, rather than being protective let your guard down and allow your child make mistakes. Don’t shame them for their mistakes but allow them to see what can be learned from those mistakes. Encourage making mistakes but not the same ones.
3. Give Autonomy
Encourage independence early on. Let them choose the books they wish to read, games they want to play. Suggest but do not enforce. Decision-making is an art that needs to be learned. If you don’t let them make small decisions, probability is that they won’t be able to make big ones once they grow up.
4. Teach Value of Hard Work, Perseverance and Grit
Nothing happens without hard work, howsoever smart or intelligent you are. Encourage your kid to work hard at her problems and not to look for short cuts. And don’t allow them to leave work half done.
It is the right combination of hard work, perseverance and upmost stubbornness that sets entrepreneurs apart from the crowd.
5. Play Puzzles and Brainteasers
Give them something challenging to work on and increase the difficulty level, as they get better. Rebus puzzles, riddles, quizzes, Would You Rather questions and brainteasers are a great way to foster alternate ways of thinking and love for challenges.
6. Take Them Seriously
When your child comes up with an idea, take it seriously however outlandish it is. Work it out with your child and help him see where the idea fails. These early bizarre ideas are seeds of future innovations.
7. Teach Them About Money
Teach them the value of money from early on. Explain them that they need to work for every thing they have in the house. Encourage them to earn money by helping you around the house and saving it up to buy a toy that they always wanted.
For older children, encourage them to find righteous ways to earn extra pocket money. Like taking tuitions, helping in filing bills etc.
8. Praise Them Right
Like us, children too dig for complements. Hence, being mindful of praise only makes sense. Inculcate Growth mindset in your children. What that means is that rather than praising their achievements, complement them on their journey, the work and time they put in to achieve their goals.
It does not matter how long they take to achieve their milestones, as long as they are trying. Research has proved that children who are praised for their effort outsmart children who are praised for their accomplishments, in the long run.
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