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How to Teach Your Kids to Have Entrepreneurial Mindsets

How to Teach Your Kids to Have Entrepreneurial Mindsets

What do we mean when we refer to an “entrepreneurial mindset”? Why should we teach kids this from an early age? Norman Goldstein, founder of BKFK (By Kids For Kids), asked himself the same question and his answer was to create an organization which would help kids towards empowerment in being creative, innovative and self disciplined.

These techniques don’t just relegate your child to a career in entrepreneurship. These are the pillars to be successful in any field whether they choose to be a teacher, nurse, fire-fighter or surgeon. This entrepreneurial mindset will determine how they face the world. Here are 6 steps to make sure your kids will benefit and thrive.

1. Set 3 main goals

These goals should be written down as they are far more likely to be achieved when they are in black and white. Ask your kids what their top 3 goals are. These can range from getting on the baseball team to improving their math grades or becoming faster readers. Then, ask them what steps they will have to take to start achieving these goals. Encourage them to think of a step by step approach and get them to write these down too. These can be ticked off when they are completed and that is a great indicator of progress and a powerful motivator too. There are some great tips here about how to write these goals down.

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2. Help them to problem solve

Getting kids to identify problem areas in their lives and then finding solutions is a great way to teach them to be autonomous. They may be having issues with friends, difficulties in completing a homework task, or trouble with just deciding what to wear.

How do you help them along the way to make decisions for themselves without actually providing the solution? If a child is being picked on in recess, brainstorm with him or her various solutions. Encourage the child to look at the pros and cons. If a teenager spends all her money on the first attractive thing she sees in a shop, the natural consequence is that all her money for the week or month is gone. After this incident, talking about how to make a better choice the next time helps to build problem solving skills.

3. Teach them the value of money

Encourage a child to learn about the value of money and wise spending because managing money is an essential life skill. A great way to start is by taking them to a yard sale. There are usually loads of kids’ stuff there and they may sniff out a bargain.

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Next, help them to increase their allowance by paying them for certain demanding chores around the house and yard. These should be rather special tasks and different from normal household chores which are unpaid.  With all of this extra money, you can take them to the bank with you and encourage them to open an account and start saving as soon as they are old enough.

As your children grow into their teenage years, talk about investing money and how it can generate more money in the future. Discuss how you use coupons and save money on shopping and how you look for good value. Ask them if they want to save up for a special treat such as going to Disneyland.

4. Teach them about failure

Failure at school is taboo. Teaching our kids that there are lessons to be learned from failure in any aspect of life is a great way to instil in them the right entrepreneurial mindset. Here are some ways you can do that: Forget about punishment if poor grades are coming in. It is a much better idea to talk about what went wrong, why it happened and how to prevent the next poor grade. This is a teachable moment and a very important one because the child is learning from failure. Looking at what went wrong instead of blaming the teacher is a great way to start. Self esteem is built on achievement.

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“When you move beyond failure …..you learn how to tolerate frustration, how to get creative and take different approaches to tasks, and also how to ask for help—all things that are necessary for long-term success in life.” – Rahel Briggs, child psychologist at Montefiore Children’s Hospital, Bronx, NY.

5. Teach about communication

How many times have you seen adults and kids glued to their smartphones? Are they really communicating? Face-to-face contact and communication are essential in business and personal relationships. Limit your child’s use of cell phones for communication, including texting.

Get them to talk to you and encourage them to be polite, respectful and use eye contact. Ask them to practice writing real emails to you so that their use of acronyms and text language does not take over their formal writing standards. Another example is to ask them to write you an email asking for a birthday present and stating why they want it and how they would benefit from it. No abbreviations are allowed!

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6. Encourage learning

The thirst for knowledge can never be satisfied. Kids love learning new things and this curiosity will last a lifetime if it is begun at an early age. Playing stimulating games with a baby can help kick-start their intellectual development from very early on. You can spot the difference straightaway in a home where kids have been encouraged to learn, read and discover things for themselves.

This is what helps them to develop the right and left parts of the brain. Stimulate them with new gadgets that they have to work out how to use. Get them into strategic games, puzzles and quizzes. Learning never stops in your family. It will be a lifelong treasure whether they become entrepreneurs or not. Couple that with hard work and self discipline for guaranteed success, whatever job they choose.

“An idea isn’t worth much until a man is found who has the energy and ability to make it work.” – William Feather.

Featured photo credit: The Full Buying Experience/Vivid Image via flickr.com

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Published on September 18, 2018

Coparenting 101: 17 Helpful Strategies for Divorced Parents

Coparenting 101: 17 Helpful Strategies for Divorced Parents

When people separate or divorce, one of their biggest challenges is coparenting their children together. As a Marriage and Family Therapist in Chicago, I often see divorced parents struggle with how to raise their children together.

One parent has a certain set of rules, and the other does it completely differently. It can be a real challenge to navigate this part of the divorce process.

Yet over the years, I have seen couples successfully raise their children together after a divorce. It takes a little attention and focus, but there are number of key strategies that these divorced couples employ to make coparenting much easier.

1. Communicate clearly.

When couples who are able to communicate coparenting items easily and without much emotion, they get a lot of the work of parenting done quickly. Yet when their discussions about parenting items are filled with emotion, then it muddies the waters.

If you find yourself fighting with your ex about all sorts of coparenting issues, you might want to set up a method of communication which reduces the emotion.

Perhaps a dedicated email thread that only has parenting items might keep the channels of communication more clean.

2. Clarify rules.

Many families we see here at our practice in Chicago have different rules at different houses for their children. This can certainly work, but the rules need to be clearly defined by the parents.

Where children struggle is when they are unclear about what the rules of each house are, and then try to manipulate the rules to get their way.

Clear communication of what the expectations are at each house can go a long way towards creating balance and stability.

3. Get out of the past.

It is important to be sure that any lingering items from your marriage stay as much in the past as possible.

Of course there will by dynamics from the marital relationship that persist in the coparenting relationship, but couples benefit by bringing their relationship out of the past and trying to create new ways of interacting around parenting items.

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4. Don’t triangulate.

One of the more difficult dynamics that we see in Family Therapy is when couples triangulate their children.

Triangulation is when whatever is unresolved between the parents gets transmitted through their interactions with the children.

In other words, the parents hostility and tension gets absorbed by the children and the children start acting it out. It can be very confusing when this happens, and Family Therapy can significantly help when this dynamic occurs.

5. Bless and release.

One thing that troubles a lot of people after a break up or divorce is that they continually hold on to old grudges or complaints.

In order to coparent more effectively, it can be helpful to bless and release your ex. This mean wishing them well and letting go of old hurts.

Can you hope for our ex that they have all good things and find the life and love that they are looking for? This sort of neutrality can go a long way with coparenting from a more balanced place.

6. Practice mindful parenting.

Many experts will tell parents to try to stay more calm than their child. If you are anxious, stressed and angry, then your child may become those things too.

Coparenting with an ex adds another layer of difficulty and potentially upsetting emotions. It is important to practice being mindful of your anxiety, stress and anger levels when parenting, and also when interacting with your coparent.

Finding ways to stay relaxed and put things in perspective can help.

7. Develop a support network.

Having a good team of trusted people in your corner can help to make sure you don’t feel alone in the process of coparenting. Talking with other parents who are divorced or separated might help you feel less alone in the process.

Additionally, having a trusted counselor or therapist in your corner who can help you look at your blind spots, can make a big difference.

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8. Practice presence.

Staying in the moment when parenting can be a useful thing whether you are coparenting, doing it alone, or alongside your partner.

Our minds can race all over the place when we are managing a lot of things in our family life. Yet taking time to stay in the moment and be present with your child will help calm and stabilize the situation.

If you are worried about future events, or stressed about what happened before, it takes you out of the present, which can be full of opportunities for meaningful experiences with your child.

9. Practice “I” statements.

A lot of couples will get in trouble by blaming their ex in front of their child. It can be difficult for them not to criticize their ex, or say something disparaging. Yet this can have a negative impact on the child.

Instead of pointing the finger, it helps to practice “I” statements. Talk about your frustration and how you get overwhelmed by difficult situations rather than commenting on how your ex made mistakes or is selfish.

Talking about your own experience helps you own your own power in the situation.

10. Learn to compromise.

If coparents are constantly arguing about their schedules, money, or what the rules are, then it can cause a very hostile and chaotic environment for the children.

Yet couples who learn to work together and compromise on the endless, daily family items that need to be negotiated, end up creating a more stable and calm environment for their children.

Even if you insist that you should have the children on a particular holiday because your ex had them the previous year, being willing to compromise and make alternate arrangements can pay off in the long run.

11. Give a little.

Coparents who are generous with one another, even if they are still upset about their breakup, help create an environment of wellbeing in their family.

If your coparent asks for a random extra weekend with the children, and you know that it is your turn that weekend, being generous and giving a little can go a long way towards generating good will.

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Withholding and counting each fairness and unfairness creates a less generous and more stingy family environment.

Of course you don’t want to compromise yourself and give over too much, but keeping on the lookout for when you can give just a bit more, can help the wellbeing of everyone involved.

12. Talk with your children.

Parents who worry about the potentially negative influence that their ex will have on their children do well by talking more with their kids.

If you are worried about what your ex might say to your child, it helps to have a good, open line of communication with the child such that you can better understand how they see the world.

It helps if they can talk with you about their confusion or any conflicting messages that they hear from their other parent.

13. Leverage your relationship.

Your child is hard wired to want to connect with you. Parents do well to know that the greatest influence that they have on their child is their relationship with them.

Your children are attached to you, and even if they act as if they want nothing to do with you, they are still wired for your approval and care.

Finding ways to leverage the inherent attachment can help create the sort of life that you’d like for your child.

14. Attract, don’t pursue.

Don’t overly pursue a connection with your child, but instead attract their interest to connect with you. When parents are too eager to chase a child who is distancing, then the child will often distance more.

Building on the inherent attachment that your child has with you, try to find ways to create harmonious and connected moments rather than asking them tons of questions and trying desperately to create closeness.

15. Open up.

Share more with your child about what you love, and what you are passionate about. Children who hear more about what parents care about tend to follow their own passions.

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Think about how many famous athletes or musicians children are also athletes or musicians. Children tend to follow the lead of their role models, and if you share what you love, then might emulate that pursuit themselves.

This can go a long way towards creating a lasting bond that can withstand any tension in a coparenting relationship.

16. Embrace change.

A lot of coparents have hidden regrets or live in the past. They wish their family situation could be different, but don’t know how to make it better.

Embracing change can help us move out of past hurts and regrets and find new ways to create the sort of changes we are looking for.

Perhaps you can find new ways to interact with your ex that might foster new family dynamics.

17. Make room for new possibilities.

A lot of divorced or separated couples that I work with tend to become hopeless about anything new happening in the family dynamic. They see patterns of interaction repeat themselves over and over, and they anticipate it will continue this way forever.

Yet if there is one thing we can count on is that things will eventually change. Making room in your mind for new possibilities can alleviate some of the hopelessness that sometimes comes with difficult coparenting situations.

Yes you are divorced, but It is indeed possible to be good coparents. Communication and patience go hand in hand if you want to raise happy and healthy kids as a divorced parent.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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