It is Mother’s Day this weekend and, everywhere you look, you are bound to see ideas on the ‘perfect gift’ for mum. These gifts, special activities, lunches, cards and everything else recognise the hard work and perseverance that women put in to ensuring the best for their kids.
Mothers can lose count of how often we put our the needs of our kids ahead of our own. We hope that they grow up to be happy, well settled, at peace with themselves and feel empowered to take on the challenges they face.
While we prepare them as best as we can for the future, research suggests that Australian youth unemployment is at a high level (with no signs of abating). This is a concern for all parents as, in spite of our best efforts, our kids might be facing a bleak future. Is there anything else we can do to give our kids a better shot at their dreams? Yes there is.
Most of us teach our kids about saving money, buying something special from the savings, putting away money for the future and withdrawals from their own bank accounts. But is this enough to empower them financially? The Inspire Money Sense Survey conducted by Impact Leaders in collaboration with Forming Circles, found that Australian youth are headed towards alarming levels of financial and family stress. Over 30% are living pay-check to pay-check and one in five Australians have zero to limited understanding of financial terms and products. Obviously, more needs to be done to ensure our kids are financially literate.
Today’s youth need a deeper financial education that has longevity. In a dynamic and fast changing world that is only going to speed up, kids need to plan for the future – for better and worse. Talk to them about financial tools such as credit cards, superannuation, loans, overdrafts, etc., from an early age. If required, get your financial advisor to have a chat with your kid(s). The chance of being financially stressed when they are 30 is significantly higher if they haven’t started thinking about and planning when they are 18. Ensure they are going out into the world as financially literate individuals controlling their future.
Creating their own jobs
In a recent article about unemployment and entrepreneurship, Jana Matthews, board member of peak start-up sector group, StartUpAus, said: “We need many more people who can make a job rather than just take a job”. Entrepreneurship is definitely not for everyone. But, to make it work for individuals and the country, youth need to be given the chance to evaluate their entrepreneurship potential and try to maximise it.
Parents need to put aside the stigmas associated with entrepreneurship such as possibility of failure and significant investment of time and money, to encourage their children in this space from a young age. If your child wants to sell jewellery sourced on eBay to schoolmates, let them do so and teach them how to make it a success and conduct business ethically. Don’t shelve their dreams before it takes off. Programs such as Club Kidpreneur encourage entrepreneurial thinking in primary-aged kids by helping them grow their micro-enterprises. If entrepreneurship is what suits your child best, encourage them to be bold and brave.
Attitude towards failure
Failure is often a bitter pill for a sports proud nation such as ours to swallow. We needn’t look further than the treatment of the Australian swimming team after their performance at the last Olympics. Our attitude and perception of failure – especially in a business / entrepreneurial sense – is very different to other developed countries such as the US and UK.
According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report, “fear of failure” is more common in Australia than in the U.S. We are risk averse and view failure as a bad thing.
As parents, we need to talk to our kids about failure and teach them to use it as a reflection of what went wrong and what steps can be taken to get better results next time. The attitude of picking up from things that bring us down and moving on with determination will empower not just your kids, but those in their circles of influence as well.
Failure is not often desirable. But teach your kids to evaluate it from a positive perspective and move forward.
So, this year as you celebrate Mother’s Day, reflect on all that you’ve achieved so far and the simple things that can make a big difference in your child’s future.