This past week I consulted with a grandfather who achieved a high level of financial success (and also had a lot of emotional intelligence and love for his family) and with his daughter and her husband who have a two and a half year-old. The grandfather attended a workshop I gave about raising children in a family business/wealth context and thought his daughter and son-in-law would benefit from some ideas and coaching.
The daughter said early on in the conversation more or less, “we will let her grow up and be who she will be and we can deal with unproductive behaviors regarding her relationship to the family wealth as they arise. What can we do with a two and a half year-old anyway?!”
That was music to my ears.
I have long been a proponent of developing an intentional parenting mindset before having kids and in their earliest years. I believe this to be effective for parenting in general and, in some ways, even more so in a family wealth context. The safety net of wealth can make life too easy when challenges and struggles, with encouraged persistence, (and successes sprinkled in between “failures”) are necessary character-building elements. (I put “failures” in quotes because they are not failures if learning and growth ensue.)
My colleagues at the Merrill Center for Family Wealth and I collaborated on an article entitled, “Building character: Raising children under five in the midst of affluence”. We explored family culture, then core parenting principles and finally daily practices parents can use with children to help in their character development.
Hope you find it interesting and useful.