Parenting and Mentoring

A parent has the ability to pass down essential skills and knowledge to children. Like sponges, children observe and absorb small details when it comes to decision-making, such as thinking through the advantages, disadvantages, as well as consequences and risks. Therefore, it is vital to continuously improve parenting skills and maximise the effectiveness in delivering key skills regarding entrepreneurship.

Why is it important to demonstrate entrepreneurship skills in the early development of a child? According to Robyn Shulman, a former contributor on Forbes (2020), entrepreneurship reflects uncertainty in the global labour market and the change in labour demand, such as the rise of the gig economy affecting the future workforce for Millennials and Generation Z. Modern employers seek transferable skills and entrepreneurial thinking in young people, yet education systems in many countries do not implement them in class settings. These reasons imply that entrepreneurship skills can be taught and transferred via parenting.

Parents may utilise hands-on and practical activities to deliver entrepreneurial skills efficiently as active learning is more likely to maintain children’s attention and engagement. For example, the parent can ask the child to solve a situation and observe how they would express themselves. From time to time, parents can also consider changing the learning environment, both indoors and outdoors, to provide challenges and opportunities while exploring various learning opportunities (A Curriculum for Excellence, 2017). These suggest that utilising space and resources are important in delivering transferable and entrepreneurial skills.

Having a role model is another important element because humans enjoy learning from a person who has mastered specific skills with niche experiences that are inspirational. Parents are also powerful role models for children because soft skills such as accountability and optimistic mentality can influence children to an extent in how they would behave in the long term. Of course, no one is perfect. Therefore, parents must be aware of their weaknesses and seek support to ensure children will be less likely to pick up undesirable habits or mindsets that counteract entrepreneurship, like procrastination and poor time management. Parents should observe and reflect whether their children are showing signs of entrepreneurial skills- it is important to have strong support, encouragement, and rewards from parents as they develop the skills in the long term.

On top of attending ParENTrepreneurs’ workshops and sessions, parents may also consider peer support, which is a method to exchange experience and knowledge and build connections with other parents who want to become more entrepreneurial. Building a network surrounded by like-minded individuals may also introduce the idea of communications and relationships in terms of networking.

While considering family relationships and individual connections, mentorship is another a vital element in delivering entrepreneurship skills to children. Anthony Tjan, the CEO and managing partner of Cue Ball (2017), summarised the following principles at becoming an ideal mentor:

‘One principle is putting the relationship before the mentorship. No amount of mentorship training outweighs the value of an authentic connection between mentor and mentee.

Secondly, focus on developing your mentee’s character and not just their job skills. Invest in your mentee’s self-awareness, empathy, and capacity for respect. The next practice of good mentors is sharing their optimism much more than their cynicism.’

The principles suggest that mentorship is as important as maintaining the relationship between parents and children. When the relationship is healthy, parenting and mentoring become more efficient as children are more likely to listen and respect the connection.

Overall, there are various approaches in improving parenting skills to improve efficiency and effectiveness in introducing the entrepreneurial spirit and skills to children. Some approaches are more social, and some are more intellectually stimulating. There is not a ‘best’ method. But instead, it is down to the parent and the child’s learning styles and preferences.

References

A Curriculum for Excellence, 2017. Active learning in the early years. [Online]
Available at | https://www.education.gov.scot/Documents/btc2.pdf
[Accessed June 2021]

Shulman, R. D., 2020. 5 Critical Reasons Parents Should Model Entrepreneurship Skills Daily. [Online]
Available at | https://www.forbes.com/sites/robynshulman/2020/01/19/5-critical-reasons-parents-should-model-entrepreneurship-skills-daily
[Accessed June 2021]

Tjan, A. K., 2017. What the Best Mentors Do. [Online]
Available at | https://hbr.org/2017/02/what-the-best-mentors-do
[Accessed June 2021]