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Teach Kids How to be Successful

Updated on February 27, 2017

Good Habits Start Young

Games to Teach Kids Life

Cashflow. Rich Dad Poor Dad Game

Kids With Money

Parenting does not mean the same thing to all. What ones goals are for their children may actually vary over the years and evolve with ones maturity. At a certain point, however, we all realize that we want out kids to be more successful than we are and the bottom line is that we want our kids to have a lot more money so that they don't suffer as we have, and basically have a better quality of life. The sooner we come to understand this the better and more likely it is that your kids will in fact be better off than you are.

One of the most overlooked aspects of teaching children how to be successful in life is teaching the basic value of money. While this writer was still a pediatric nursing student I interacted with many parents and have always been very in tune with child learning and money management. Over the past decade I have noticed a growing trend with modern parents to spoil children with whatever they want and avoiding instilling any level of discipline or chores. It seems that many modern mothers have bought into the idea that to prepare a child for the real world is being "cruel" and "old fashioned." Looking at the results of these children who haven't learned how to take care of themselves, the true tragedy is what happens to spoiled children when they are off on their own.

Being tough in the beginning and caring enough about your kids to not be the most popular parent at all times is key to the desired end result.

It is no wonder that so many children are unable to get ahead in life these days. They have not learned the basics of life, and the developed the self esteem that comes from saving up their own money to buy what they want.

I personally know of three families who live beyond their means in order to give their kids all the things in life that they want. The cruelest thing that a parent can do to their child is give them what they want and neglect the opportunities to teach valuable lessons that could lead to powerful building blocks later in life.

Without learning, your children could be doomed to a life of poverty and desperation.

The most important thing to instill is the value of money.

John D. Rockefeller was one of the wealthiest men in the world and could very easily have simply given handouts to his kids, but he loved his children and did not want to deprive them of understanding the power of work and earning that would someday result in their ability to control large sums of money and not lose their inheritance like a typical lottery winner does. John D. Rockefeller did not want his children's lives completely distorted by his wealth and he took the time to teach the subject of finance.

Rockefeller's kids were given a small allowance and were required to give a percentage to charity, balance a checkbook and explain exactly what happened to every penny at the end of each month. This is a very valuable lesson that many adults don't even know how to do. Rockefeller did not ignore his children and throw money at them as poor people do, he was thoughtful enough to teach them how to be independent so that they would never be looking to a person, company or government for a handout as the average poor and middle class people often find themselves doing. Its as simple as the old saying, "give a man a fish and he has food for a day, teach a man to fish and he has food for a lifetime." No matter what happened to Rockefeller's kids, they were independent because they knew how to make money and what to do with it. That mystery of life was never a mystery to them.

I presented this story to a group of three women whom I know have not provided any financial lessons to their children and the response was, "how cheap, he could have given them a lot of money." ect. They failed to see that Rockefeller's children did not grow up saying, "give me", they lived on a budget, and knew how to manage their money well.

The problem is right there in the attitude of the three women. The three of them, needless to say, have all gone into foreclosure, bankruptcy and struggle endlessly with their finances. I mean no disrespect to anyone who has suffered through these either of these tragic events, but, one must learn from them, and make every effort to correct the behavior that caused the problem. Sometimes foreclosures and bankruptcies happen no matter how smart and disciplined we are, I am merely pointing out that all three of these ladies have all three of these issues, along with adult children who cannot take care of themselves, and they don't believe in disciplining children about money.

If you are thinking, "yes, well Rockefeler's had money and they were fine. Anyone born with money is fine". I have a flip side to that story.

Sadly the same scenario is not so for my friend Delia. She was raised by a wealthy Mexican family with 6 brothers and sisters, and given everything she ever asked for. By the time she was 20 she was married to a man who could not afford to take care of her the way her parents had, and although they stayed married to raise two children, Delia is now desperate and unhappy about being with a man who can not provide for her. She has no way of providing for herself, because she was never taught anything about finance, and she continues to give her children things she can not afford to give them.

Her children are in their early 20's and already showing signs of becoming young adults who are desperate for a human ATM machine to dispense their desires. They are not interested in working, unless they are given a manager position right away, and they absolutely refuse to do menial labor that will humiliate them. Both of her children were given a car when they turned 16, but not only a car, a nice one that would not embarrass them in any way. She went all out to be "kind" to her kids.

She really missed the opportunity to teach some valuable lessons here. By taking out loans that she will never be able to pay back just to give her children a false sense of wealth, she eliminated the chance to teach them how difficult to come by these luxuries that are being handed to them really are to achieve. She cannot expect to live off her parents as they are now divorced and her father has a new young wife to provide for, so the lack of teaching has taken its toll here from Delia's parents right down to her children.

Life Lesson #1- The necessity for work: When you earn it, you value it. If one never experiences this, they will never by happy.

The need for saving: The discernment of how long it takes to save vs. what we think we want.

The power of accountability: Account for every penny. (The Rockefeller way)

The third one is extremely important and most middle class people do not do this. You must know what is happening to your money, and your kids need to know where their money is going. How else can they make the decision of, "is it worth it to buy that fast food meal? or "why am I paying $5 per month on my ATM card? Its incredible how many people who are struggling financially are paying small amounts in fines, and usage charges that they are unaware of. I personally know people of great wealth who find little discrepancies of $10 here and there every month, and they make the necessary phone calls to get them straightened out.

Even if you are lazy about these things and tend to say, "I don't care about the $1.35 they are charging me every month," don't let your kids see that attitude and adopt it, because it is bad business and a trait that will get them in trouble later in life. The ultimate goal is to teach children to be smarter about finances then you have been.

In the overall picture of life, teaching the power of money through chores, allowance and discipline is the most important job a parent has, and those who simply give rather than teach are sadly failing their children.

John D. Rockefeller Sr. and Jr.

Keep An Open Mind, Learn from the Best

Listen to people who have been successful financially, and teach your children to do the same.

You can learn a lot from successful people and those parents who are serious about educating themselves and their kids out of poverty should take note where others find excuses. I can remember watching David Letterman for some reason, and Donald Trump was his guest, this was long before he became President of the United States. At this time he was simply a very successful millionaire. Letterman asked Trump what he would do if he suddenly had no money, If all his wealth went up in smoke- what would he do? Trump did not take long to respond. "I would get a job with a marketing company and learn all I could about marketing." The audience made a lot of silly sounds as though they were unhappy with that answer. They wanted to hear, "I would cry and wander around not knowing what to do", because poor people don't know what to do but they love to believe that the only difference between a dynamo like Trump and themselves is luck. Someone helped Trump and no one helps them. They don't want to hear that they could actually gain wealth if only they would gear themselves up for it by working for a marketing company, learning all about it and being promoting instead of drinking with friends all weekend.

Instead of learning from a master at making money, the average person stuffs cotton in his ears and tunes out.

After studying Trump for some time now, I have learned that Donald Trump has made his millions through marketing and he told the exact truth when he was on David Letterman. for those who truly wanted to know. Sure he has a degree in finance, and deals in real estate, but the thing that separates him from everyone else in the world of real estate is his ability to market himself. Trump is forever advertising.

Like him or hate him, he wanted to make money and ha figured out how to do it. People love to take credit away from "The Donald" by saying that his father was rich. Fred Trump did not even have one tenth of what Donald Trump has accomplished. He was simply a guy who did well. As for losing money, sure he made some bad deals. But, he always ends up with more millions than he had before he got into trouble. Instead of joining the screaming, mocking peanut gallery, pay attention and learn.

Trump does not care if he gets unfavorable publicity, as long as he gets it. Anyone with his kind of money could easily fix that hair, but he knows it stirs up the media.

I personally learned from hearing Donald Trump making that statement on Letterman many years ago, and pumped my own business harder than I would have had I not seen that show. The results were that my business really took off. I was continually making more money, while my competition were complaining about what could not work.

Instead of making excuses for Trump's success and giving myself an excuse to fail, I said, "I am going to do that," and paying attention to people like this has been one of my father's financial lessons to me, and it has become one of the greatest business traits that I have.

Just as there are books for adults to read, there are games for kids to play that can build a financial foundation. The old ones such as Monopoly, and life are excellent teachers as is the newer one, Cash Flow 101, that comes from the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series, which offers some excellent ideas for teaching finances and life to young kids.

Separate your Kids

Letting your kids hang out with friends too much is a sure way to lose control. Most parents who are truly geared towards their kids success with keep their children busy with piano lessons, kids clubs, church groups and basically anything that keeps their children from mimicking the habits of kids who's parents are not focused on their kids successful.

You may have heard of "Tiger Mom", a term given to many Asian women who raise their kids in the "Asian" mold to become mathematics giants, and super kids. The habits of these women is often frowned upon by Western families but the results are real. The basic outline is that serious parents who want good kids should not let their kids spend the night at friends homes, should make their kids practice piano or violin, and expect that they be serious about school work.


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    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from California

      Thank you alero-mack. I do love that book because of the important basic mind set it provides, and because it is actually enjoyable for the average person to read.

    • alero-mack profile image

      Alero Mack 

      5 years ago from California

      Great article! Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad definitely provides great insights.

    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Thank you NC4Life078,

      It is very sad to see it happen. They want to be kind, but they are actually causing serious troubles for their children in the future.

      I also read Rich Dad Poor Dad. Great book with valuable lessons that were presented in a very entertaining way.

    • NC4Life078 profile image


      6 years ago from United States of America

      This is a great Hub! Worthy of my follow, it reminds me of Rich Dad Poor Dad, yet, it has been awhile since I've read it. I know plenty of people that fall into "Giving their kids a false sense of wealth". Now, they too expect to be handed money when they need it. Ironically, all of them are 20+ years old.

    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Thank you very much for your kind comment Trinity M.

      You are very wise to be teaching your 6 year old about money. I am relieved that there are still some good, sensible parents out there.. :)

    • Trinity M profile image

      Trinity M 

      6 years ago

      Wonderful hub Skarlet. I agree with you 100% about giving children good money management skills. My son is 6 and we ensure that he knows the value of money, where it comes from and to value it in relation to his wants vs his needs. Thank you for this great hub. Voted up and useful.

    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Thank you Lynne,

      Great to see you. I always enjoy your visits.

    • Patriette profile image


      6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thank you, Skarlet. This is information I definitely can use.


    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      @StegToDiffer- Thank you for the comment. I like those subjects too. Rockefeller started giving to charities the very moment he started making money, and Trump is a lot of things, and inspirational is one of them for sure. But, as you say people can't wait to demonize them, and assume that they are nothing but evil because they have chosen to be wealthy.

      @fpherj48- Thank you so much for your comment. I do believe you were, and are one heck of a mother. I have gotten that impression on more than one occasion. I am certain that your kids had an excellent foundation. Really though. Teaching is really losing popularity.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      You are so very right, Skarlet. This hub should be required reading for all parents! Teaching days behind me, I did stress financial common sense and the importance of budgeting and saving. I'm fairly confident they (my kids) have the tools and the info! If they don't heed them, they'll learn the hard way!!!

    • StegToDiffer profile image

      Spunk Nellie 

      6 years ago from New York, NY

      Full of great insight. My favorite bits of the Hub were those about Rockefeller and Trump. People tend to demonize these figures just for being wealthy, but you were able to recognize that they are on top for a reason like any sane person should. Voted up!


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