How to Raise Kids with an Entrepreneurial Spirit

As parents, many of us grew up in the spirit of industrialization. Our public schools are still modeled after this age, with the goal to produce children with well-rounded skills and the capacity to be employees in various industries.

But, times are changing. We now live in the digital information age, and schools are playing catchup. With more technology at hand, fewer factory workers are needed. And for those whose goal is higher education, the college degree is increasingly more expensive, yet less valuable in the job market.

Why Raise Your Kids to be Entrepreneurs?

Information is now more readily available than ever. Instead of the ability to recall facts and figures, employers are placing more value on resourcefulness. They want individuals who can find information, adapt to change quickly, and get things done without instruction. This is a very different goal than our schools place emphasis on, with their restrictive curriculum and standardized tests, which stress memorization over creativity.

What can you do about it? Of course, not every child is going to grow up to be an entrepreneur or own their own business, but that shouldn't hold you back from instilling the entrepreneurial spirit in your children.

Entrepreneurial Traits

These are some hallmark traits of the entrepreneurial spirit that are of great value:

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  • Uniqueness
  • Creativity
  • Takes Risks
  • Adaptability
  • Resourcefulness

These skills and traits can serve our kids in whatever profession they choose in life.

I'm not advocating that you try to change your child's personality, but that you take a look at what you are teaching your children about the world around us, and how they should approach the job market; Not as mindless drones who do work, but as having the ability to add something valuable to the workplace that wasn't there before.

How to Raise Kids with an Entrepreneurial Spirit

While some kids naturally possess the above qualities, other kids will need you to offer opportunities for them to take advantage of, and encouragement along the way.

Here's how to foster the entrepreneurial spirit:

Self-Starters

As parents, it's easy to give criticism and praise for things that are tied to a test and a grade, but it's more important to encourage children in the activities that they choose to pursue out of their own ambition. They also need to see some of these ideas and projects through to completion.

  • Does your child have an idea to improve something? Encourage them to draw up a plan, and help them find ways to pitch their idea.
  • Did your child create a play or routine? Help them set up a performance, even if it's just for family and friends.
  • Does your child love to draw, paint, or do other kinds of artwork and crafts? Help them choose their favorites, and enter them in a fair or gallery. Make sure you visit, so they can see their work on display.
  • Has your child written a story or newsletter? Help them print or publish their writing, and distribute it to the right audience.

Be The Cheerleader

The possibilities are endless, but the important thing to remember is that you should follow your child's lead. Whatever they want to do, you need to be their biggest fan. Stand behind them and have faith in them when nobody else does. They need to know that they are capable of anything.

Take Risks

Some of the biggest gains in life and career come when we go out on a limb and take a risk. It feels uncomfortable at first, but we can learn valuable lessons from the mistakes that we make.

Parents tend to be a little overbearing, but you'll need to learn when and how to step back and let your child take risks and learn from their own mistakes. You can still be there for your child, letting them know that mistakes are okay and encourage them to pick themselves up and try again.

Don't Force It

You'll need to look for ways to incorporate these into your child's own interests and personality. Never force them into doing things they don't want to, as this could lead them to resent these activities rather than learn from them.

Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS

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