Teen Tycoons & Parental Input
Robert Herjavec, also known as “Mr. Nice Guy” on ABC’s Shark Tank series, is a man of many titles and numerous impressive experiences. He’s the business guru thousands of Shark Tank applicants would love to learn from, the investor startups would die to impress, and the dad whose business advice his kids...still ignore.
At a recent speaking engagement, the mogul admitted that even his own son bypassed his legendary expertise when trying his hand at starting a business. After brainstorming ideas with a group of buddies, Herjavec recounted his son jetting through the kitchen and telling his dad, “Jason knows a guy who’s really good at business. We’re going to ask him what to do.”
Finding it difficult to bend your child’s ear? You’re not alone. Most parents find their input falling on deaf ears. But when your child is a driven young entrepreneur, the assignment can be even tougher.
Reason #1: Is it a legal issue?
The decades of life experience you have over your child are valuable in most categories, but life’s legal and administrative logistics are especially foreign to a teen. And though the rules may be foreign to a young entrepreneur, they still very much apply. You may feel like a wet blanket reminding your child to make sure they file all required licenses, permits, and taxes, but such a heads up can save them headaches, paperwork, and even fines down the road.
Reason #2: Does it affect the family?
Sometimes, your child’s actions don’t just impact them. If your daughter or son is soliciting your family for seed money, for example, their activity could threaten the health of your own relationships. In this case, it’s fully appropriate to get involved, either drawing a line against soliciting family, or taking close interest in the plans for such investments.
Reason #3: Will their mistake snowball?
Our formidable years present some of life’s most valuable lessons. We find out that not wearing a coat when temperatures fall below zero results in discomfort, that speeding results in a fine, and that failing to study for a test can result in a poor grade. Such learning moments don’t always come without parental warning, but there’s nothing as effective as “learning the hard way” when it comes to lasting impact. So when’s a parent to speak up? One strategy: when such a mistake would snowball significantly. An expensive source of funding, for example, could bury a young entrepreneur in debt permanently. That’s worthy of warning.
But no matter how justified our parental advice, a teen is still a teen. As Arnold Glasgow put it, “Telling a teen the facts of life is like giving a fish a bath.” Sometimes, they’ll just have to learn the hard way.