Bright Side

12 Mistakes Parents Make That Might Cause Money Problems for Their Grownup Children

Parents tend to care about their children’s future, and these worries often push them to look for the most universal upbringing methods that will help their offspring build a successful career and live happily ever after. But the world is changing, and the old rules of success have ceased to be effective.

We at Bright Side also have kids we’re worried about, so we dove into this topic and chose the most harmful parenting mistakes, that are likely to cause career problems for children in the future. The author of this article is a psychologist who included examples from her professional practice, after changing the names of her clients and some of the details of their stories.

1. Forcing their child to make a decision about their future career

The idea that a person should have the same occupation their whole life is likely to fail. Some modern occupations didn’t even exist 10 years ago, while others have already disappeared.

  • Since childhood, Max loved delving into computers and learning how different computer programs work. But his parents thought that his hobby was harmful. At one point, he found out about online courses in software testing, and now he’s successfully developing his potential in this area.
  • 37-year-old Laura worked as a sociologist with a large consulting company, but after the birth of her son, she couldn’t devote as much time to her job as she did before. Laura used to love photography, and she reignited her passion during her maternity leave. She started by taking unusual pictures of her child, and then she started doing photoshoots for the kids of her friends and acquaintances. After a couple of years, Laura opened her own photo studio. She earns on par with her husband now and she successfully balances her professional life with taking care of her family.

2. Not letting their child make mistakes

A demanding parent usually tries to be perfect themselves, but as the child grows up, parents may start to demand more and more from them — the kid’s paintings are always not good enough, their bed isn’t made perfectly, or they don’t study too hard. The child gets constantly criticized and scolded, but they have no opportunity to fix their mistakes. Children of the perfect parents either grow up into perfectionists themselves or turn into people with low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. And as we know, both of these outcomes are bad for their future career.

  • Mom always told Anna, “You’re so messy! Look at Mary, she’s always so clean.” All of Anna’s attempts to become more like Mary failed, and her mom ended up criticizing her even more. But Anna’s mom never gave her a chance to adjust her behavior and learn how to deal with simple chores. Anna is 25 years old now, and she still compares herself to other people. It’s needless to say that she never wins in this comparison.

3. Teaching their child to save money

The world doesn’t stand still, and ways to earn or save money from the past are unlikely to work today. No one knows what skills we’ll need to survive in the new economic conditions of the future. That’s why it’s important to teach our kids to be flexible and adjust to change, instead of just saving money.

  • Jessica’s grandfather had been saving money his whole life “just in case.” But when this “case” finally came, all his investments lost their value because of the financial meltdown. This situation happened in front of Jessica while she was growing up, and now, she’s expecting that the economy will collapse at any moment. The best investment for her is an investment in her own skills and knowledge.

4. Not letting their child express their feelings

Sometimes, adults try to persuade a child that their feelings are wrong — bruises don’t hurt, being mad at the kid who hit you with a toy in a sandbox is shameful, and feeling sad even if you have a reason for that is wrong. Of course, parents try to replace their kid’s real feelings with more “acceptable” ones because they mean well and want to bring up their kids properly. But we should understand that one of the main skills of the “modern” person is the ability to recognize and manage their feelings, emotions, and needs.

  • Kate is 37 years old, but she still remembers how her mom made her give her beautiful doll to some girl. She said, “It’s very wrong to be so greedy, and you shouldn’t be mad because of some stupid toy.” Kate never got her doll back. She has also spent a lot of time learning to say “no” to arrogant people, including her boss and coworkers. And every time she refused to do something, Kate felt guilty.

5. Not standing up for their child in front of strangers

Every child needs to know that in every conflict and no matter what happens, their parents will be fair and won’t trust the words of a teacher, a school principal, or a neighbor completely. When parents allow their children to stand up for themselves in front of authoritative people, if a child is ready to be held responsible for their own actions, they help them build healthy self-esteem and grow a sense of responsibility for their own life.

  • Maggy was raised by her grandmother, who had a favorite phrase, “But what will other people think?” Grandma adored Maggy and only wanted the best for her, but she was constantly making her conscious of public opinion. Maggy still hasn’t learned to make her own decisions, and even when she picks a dessert, she asks her friends for their opinion.

6. Using successful people as an example

Every generation has its own heroes that young people try to copy. In recent decades, the stories of the personal success of wealthy and influential people have become very wide-spread. And while it may look like we can just learn about their life path and become happy, things don’t work like that for some reason. Otherwise, all the people who read their books, would’ve already solved all their money problems.

  • Alex has loved computers since childhood. Once, his dad read him the story of Steve Jobs and since then, this young computer genius started to gather all the information about Apple that he could find. When it was time to choose a university, Alex decided that he doesn’t need higher education, because Steve Jobs managed to become successful without it. But he ended up going to college anyway to get a promotion. And now Alex jokes, “What is good for Steve Jobs, is a waste of time for an ordinary guy.”

7. Showing the struggles of adult life

There’s nothing wrong when children see their parents sad from time to time. But it becomes harmful when it happens all the time. In this situation, the roles in the family shift, and the child tries to become the “rock” for their parents, or they see how “horrible” adult life is, so they might start to be afraid of growing up. But to achieve something professionally, we need a mature approach and confidence.

  • Sarah’s parents argued a lot. She had to listen to her mother complaining all the time about how life is difficult and their family isn’t lucky in comparison with others. When Sarah turned 17, she went to college and moved to another city, but she had to work hard to stop shying away from more “successful” people.

8. Not letting the child get into conflicts

The ability to interact with people is probably one of the most important professional skills someone can have. But it’s essential to teach a child to not only make friends, but to argue in a healthy way. People often have different opinions, but there are various ways to express their emotions. And the earlier we understand that, the easier the communication with people will be, including business interactions.

  • Michaela was trying to avoid conflicts for her whole life. It was easier for her to agree with a person, than get involved in a dispute. She’s known since childhood that someone “has to be smarter,” but this approach brought her more harm than good. Once, Michaela read about active listening and decided to try this approach in her professional life. She was good at showing attention to what others were saying, but at the same time, she could express her feelings when someone tried to use her for their own benefit. People found this way of communication weird at first, but then the conflicts with coworkers became more productive and started to lead to mutually beneficial solutions.

9. Not learning outside of school

It’s important to distinguish studying at school and learning something new. School lessons and textbooks may seem boring, while visiting museums, theaters, and art galleries are great ways to spend time with family and broaden your kid’s horizons.

  • The author of this article will always remember how her grandfather took her to the museum of local history for the first time. Since that moment, she has been a big history fan, she loves watching documentaries, traveling, and she’s never bored. As a bonus, all this knowledge often helps her in her professional life.

10. Not allowing the child to use social networks

Social networks are the same platforms for communication now, as our yards and neighborhoods were for us when we were children. Kids can quickly learn different useful skills with the help of computer programs integrated with social networks. Of course, parents should remind their kids about online security rules, but depriving their children of this experience is, actually, cruel.

  • The mother of 10-year-old Aria was surprised to find out that her daughter had learned to film cool videos. But she was even more surprised when she realized that Aria learned to do that with the help of Tik-Tok. Now, the creation of short videos is their family hobby.

11. Trying to build a strong character with the help of sports

Despite the opinion that sports are good for discipline and that they build a strong character, professional sports are dangerous for both the physical and mental health of a child if there’s too much competitiveness, which can come from both the kids and coachs involved. Very few people become champions, and coaches often see the rest of the kids as unimportant. At a young age, it’s pretty difficult to deal with this unfair situation, and a child may develop low self-esteem pretty quickly. Besides, children who have to stop playing sports for some reason often don’t understand what else they can do with their lives.

  • Chrissy’s mom did rhythmic gymnastics when she was a kid. But she injured her leg and had to abandon her dream of becoming an Olympic champion. When Chrissy turned 3, her mom signed her up for gymnastic classes, but she failed to succeed in this field. As a result, Chrissy didn’t pay enough attention at school, felt like a loser, and couldn’t figure out for a long time what she does well. She’s studying to become a child psychologist now and is going to help parents avoid mistakes when raising their kids.

12. Giving the child money for good grades

There are still debates on this topic. But let’s look at the situation another way: think of yourself as a contractor, paying more and more for the product or service, while the child would be the supplier, providing it for money and benefits. It sounds like a bad idea, don’t you think?

  • Alexandra’s parents decided to encourage their daughter to study better by using money as an incentive. The girl was coming home with good grades, and it seemed like the experiment was working. But at one point, her parents found out that she was making up stories about an imaginary illness and telling these stories to her teachers. She even lied to her teachers saying that her parents criticized her for her bad grades all the time. Of course, the teacher felt sorry for the “poor girl” and raised her grades a little bit. Since that incident, her parents have stopped giving Alexandra money for her good grades and have decided to consult with a child psychologist.

Which mistakes from this list do you find harmful? Do you have your own methods for raising successful kids? We’d love to read about your experiences in the comments.