YOU Magazine - March 2008 - Ensure Your Family's Future Happiness and Success
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Kathleen Petty     Kathleen Petty
AVP/Sr Mortgage Originator
Alaska USA Mortgage AK#157293
Phone: (907)261-3458 Cell: 223-4440
Fax: (907)929-6699
License: NMLS Unique Identifier #203077
k.petty@alaskausamortgage.com
www.kathypetty.com
Alaska USA Mortgage AK#157293
March 2008



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Ensure Your Family's Future Happiness and Success

Ensure Your Family's Future Happiness and Success

We all want the best for our children. This is a worthwhile sentiment despite its sometimes paradoxical nature. Here's an example. Most parents believe in teaching their kids the virtue of manners, as well as the concept of respecting authority. The same parent may simultaneously teach about verbalizing one's feelings or standing up for a belief. For a child, this can result in a mixed message that translates to, "Don't speak unless spoken to – except, of course, if it's about something really important or you believe in what you're doing."

Let's address a larger issue which involves wanting the best for our kids, yet raises some of the same difficulties as the aforementioned example. The question is, how do you prepare your children for their future without taking away from them any semblance of a "normal" childhood?

Sigmund Freud once said, "Children are completely egoistic; they feel their needs intensely and strive ruthlessly to satisfy them." Upon first glance, it almost appears to be a reason not to have children. But upon further review, you may want to consider using this quote as your mantra for shaping their future.

Remember, we all want the best for our children. In terms of the life path a child will choose, this sentiment has two meanings for the parent. The first has to do with the child's happiness, and their ability to carve out a niche in a field that truly makes them happy. The second is the child's financial stability as an adult; the ability to make choices as teens and young adults that will set them up for a relatively comfortable future. Sadly, these two ideas don't always go together. For that reason, we'll address them one at a time.

We've all heard that when it comes to happiness regarding one's chosen profession, it's all about getting paid for something you'd do for free. If you agree with this philosophy, then applying it to your children requires figuring out what they'd do "for free". What makes them tick? What are they drawn to? Where do they naturally excel? So often we can look at other parents and see them living vicariously through their kids. The really hard part is figuring out if we're doing the same thing.

Are your kids involved in every activity imaginable? Do they have somewhere to be (aside from school, of course) every day of the week? Take a step back and ask yourself not only if those questions apply, but does it sound like fun? So much of childhood is about fun experiences. Sometimes it's actually the "fun" part of life where kids learn their most valuable lessons: kindness, team work, self-esteem, etc.

No one is saying extra-curricular activities are a bad thing. Actually, when handled correctly, they also teach the aforementioned lessons a child needs to learn. What's important, however, is to think less about where you want your kids to excel and more about where they're inclined and what they enjoy. If you're going to crack down on anything, make it schoolwork. That's something you can make a case for no matter where a child's interests lie.

This attitude, along with attentiveness to the child, is where to begin when trying to figure out how your child thinks. Take notice of the things they like. Are they an athlete or an artist; a musician or a mathematician; a teacher or a humanitarian? Or, do they show shades of a few things? Remember, it's not important that your child does everything with skill. Sometimes, it's more important they just have a good time doing it. Once you figure out the happiness part, guiding them in the right direction gets a little easier.

The second issue that's a part of wanting the best for our kids has to do with financial stability. Everyone's heard the adage, money can't buy happiness, but how many of us truly believe that – at least, to a certain extent? Truth be told, it's not the money that buys happiness as much as it is the peace of mind that comes from financial stability. So let's start there. Let's start with the idea that it's not important for your child to make a ton of money; rather, it's for them to become financially stable. How do we accomplish that?

For starters, it never hurts to begin teaching them about finances at an early age. Get them to understand the idea that money doesn't grow on trees. Rather, it's something you work for, oftentimes really hard. An allowance is a good place to start. Let them deposit their own money in the bank, and show them how to keep track of it. As they get older, don't be afraid to demonstrate things like how to balance a check book. Have discussions regarding some of the pitfalls of credit cards. The point is that it's important to address this stuff, and don't assume that your child is going to learn it on their own. Once a child has an understanding of how to make money, as well as how to hold on to it, you are well on your way.

The next step is helping them figure out what they'll do to earn a living. For this, go back to the first item we discussed, figuring out what makes them tick. If your child wants to be a doctor, chances are that as long as they get into medical school, they're going to be alright. But what if your kid is an artist or a musician – potentially lucrative professions, with the emphasis on "potentially"? This is where having a "Plan B" comes into play. Support your child's dream with the utmost energy but encourage them to develop a back-up plan, utilizing the very same talents. Musicians, artists, and those with similar talents can teach these subjects, write about them, own businesses pertaining to them, and the list goes on. Whatever the case may be, it's your job as parent to point out the different options.

"Children are completely egoistic; they feel their needs intensely and strive ruthlessly to satisfy them." Allow your children to find their egos. With a little parental guidance, they will "feel their needs intensely"; and, even more importantly, "strive ruthlessly to satisfy them." Good luck to everyone who's a parent, for your job is more difficult than any profession your child will ever choose.




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