It’s that time of year again. With kids going back to school and schedules changing – parents know that their kids are being exposed to new influences and information they cannot keep them insulated from 24/7. All parents want to keep their kids on the right path in life by helping them steer clear of bad influences and focus on their education and development as a strong and independent individual.
While some parents may feel that having wealth builds a certain wall around your children that protects them from difficulties in life — unfortunately, it does not. No amount of money or privilege can guarantee you end up with resilient kids who make good choices when it really counts.
It’s important to engage with your children and be present in their lives on a regular and deep basis if you want to maximize the probability of them sidestepping problems that could interfere with their futures. So says Andre Norman, who works with families in crisis as well as corporate clients through his 180x program.
Here is some of Norman’s best advice, plus a few action steps for parents as they seek to help their kids navigate the world around them.
Don’t Just Fund…Support
The most impactful difference any parent can make is continuing to let your children know that you support them, not just financially, but also with your time and active attention. It has become all too common for busy parents to pay for programs that aim to enrich their kids, but their busy lives prevent them from participating in these programs along with them.
Five must-ask questions Norman recommends that can help parents engage with their children and demonstrate a deeper level of support include:
- What are your Snapchat and Instagram names?
- Where do your three best friends want to go to college, and what do they want to study?
- What was the score of the last game you attended or played in?
- What was the reason for your latest break up with a girlfriend or boyfriend (or a split from
a best friend)?
- Who is your favorite teacher, and why?
The reason: Questions like these yield concrete answers and details that enable parents to understand their kids on a deeper level. To really know them from their perspective, in terms of what is important to them, as teenagers, discuss what is most important to them. If your son values soccer and you’re unaware of how he or his team did in the last game, you may be sending a message that you’re not interested in what is going on in his life.
Such deep insights can allow you to build stronger relationships with your children that can help them make better choices and can also help you see red flags and potential warning signs in your kids.
Consider the discussion regarding college. By knowing what a child’s best friends want to do with their lives, you gain insights into what that child is hearing about and what the future might look like from his or her closest peers, day in and day out.
A Creative Way To Build Bridges
Finding the answers to these and similar questions can be easy in some cases. For example, your child’s phone will tell you his or her Snapchat and Instagram names. And making a plan to attend at least some of your child’s events will help you demonstrate your investment of time and attention in them.
All that said, as a parent, you may have noticed that kids aren’t always exactly eager to answer your questions about their lives, which means you’ll need to get creative.
One smart move that will cost you next to nothing: pizza night. Once every week or two, tell your child you’ll take him and five of his friends out for pizzas and sodas. If you listen and observe as a “fly on the wall” at these events, you can quickly uncover information like:
- Who your kid’s best friends are and how they act
- Which kids are “in” and “out” of your child’s social circle, and why
- Your child’s favorite teacher
- Breakups and new love interests
Your end game: Do these pizza nights regularly, and over time your kid’s friends will likely come to trust you and see you as the cool mom or cool dad. (In case you forget your own teenage years, kids are often more likely to open up to their friends’ parents than to their own.)
Just as money doesn’t guarantee a happy and healthy child, neither does taking the steps outlined here. Raising kids — like investing assets — can be quite unpredictable at times. But, by actively involving yourself in your children’s lives in ways that demonstrate how much you care about them, as people and as individuals, you know you are doing everything within your power to keep them on a positive path for life.
The views expressed represent the opinion of Resolute Wealth Advisor, Inc. (RWA). The views are subject to change and are not intended as a forecast or guarantee of future results. This material is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute investment advice and is not intended as an endorsement of any specific investment. Stated information is derived from proprietary and nonproprietary sources that have not been independently verified for accuracy or completeness. While RWA believes the information to be accurate and reliable, we do not claim or have responsibility for its completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Statements of future expectations, estimates, projections, and other forward-looking statements are based on available information and the RWA’s view as of the time of these statements. Accordingly, such statements are inherently speculative as they are based on assumptions that may involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results, performance or events may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Investing in equity securities involves risks, including the potential loss of principal. While equities may offer the potential for greater long-term growth than most debt securities, they generally have higher volatility. International investments may involve risk of capital loss from unfavorable fluctuation in currency values, from differences in generally accepted accounting principles, or from economic or political instability in other nations. Past performance is not indicative of future results.