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How to ruin your kids life


LongHaul
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Imagine yourself in a hospital bed many years in the future and you are on your death bed with about 1 week to live.  What will you be thinking of - material possessions or the money you have?  Probably not.  You will likely be thinking of your family and the mistakes and regrets you have that you will want to come to terms with.

 

Children

One thing that surprised me when I became a parent with school age children was how many horrible parents are out there.  They are selfish, ignore their kids, teach them very little, don't give them the love and time and validation they need, etc.  This can literally have permanent effects on children from finding the wrong crowd to much worse.  Children don't need fancy toys and expensive gifts.

 

If you are not paying enough attention to your kids you really only have yourself the blame.  It has to be made into a priority and you have to put the time in.  Put the electronics down and media down. 

 

I am not sure why this seems to be undermentioned by the media but this is probably one of the biggest factors of why kids don't do in well in school and life as they could.

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I should start by saying that I don't have kids but I'm somebody who wants to have kids.

 

I've actually been thinking about this a lot over the past couple of years and I actually have a few thoughts on the issue.

 

I come from a good family butI was growing up for a number of reasons we didn't have a lot of a lot of money. So growing up for me was kinda tough. When I was younger, my plan in life was for me to work hard and make sure that my kids had a good life and I would provide all the things and that I wasn't able to have and the kind of life I wasn't privy to.

 

Now I'm older (not old) and looking around seeing how some of those people evolved I an CONVINCED that that is completely the wrong approach. I now believe that the absolute worst thing you can do to your kids is spoil them and puff up their ego. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be there for your kids, show them love, kindness, and attention. I absolutely think you should. But it should be in a strict framework. Showering them with cool stuff and undeserved adulation will not lead to a good outcome.

 

Another aspect to not screwing your kids up is to find the right wife which will be a good mother. I assume LongHaul has been successful in this endeavor. But in this day and age it's a lot harder than in the past (even the not so distant past). It is something I wasn't able to do personally. Hence the absence of offspring. It would be crewel to have children with someone who you know isn't right, just because you feel an attraction.

 

I fully agree with Longhaul that as a parent you must invest in your kids in order for them to be successful. This is a reason why I'm quite pessimistic about future generations. After you work 50-60 hours a week (does anyone really do 9-5 anymore?) plus commute, then you have to feed them, bathe them. All of a sudden mathematics starts to really work against the investment part.

 

Anyway, that's all i have for now. Hope someone else writes a more cheery post talking about throwing toasters in a bathtub.  :-[

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I think rb is too pessimistic.

 

I completely agree that it might be best for kids to have loving, kind, attentive, and yet strict parents who are great in raising them.

 

However, I think that current generation over lionizes past parents and their parenting. Maybe (parts of) 20th century were golden times of parenting, but overall the past parents were not as ideal as current generation imagines. If you look longer time back, the whole notion of loving, kind, attentive parents who spend time raising their kids is pretty much a fairy tale. On the side of aristocracy and richer parents, kids were raised by nannies and hired teachers. On the side of poor, kids were afterthought and free servants who did the chores and went to (grueling) work once grown a bit.

 

If you read biographies from the past, see how many people grew up in families that you'd call (close to) ideal. Even the ones that are written as good possibly are made more positive than they were in reality.

 

IMO the good thing about current time is that the pressure to have kids has gone down. (The same as the pressure to marry). Which means that only people who really want kids ideally should have them. Yeah, I know there's still too many unwanted pregnancies, pressured children, and even parents who-think-that-they-want-kids-but-really-have-no-clue-or-no-clue-how-to-raise-them. But possibly fewer than in the past.

 

Other than that, I think generalizations are very hard. I've known kids who were spoiled rotten as kids and grew up great people. I know some modern examples of nannies raising kids that IMO worked better than if parents did it. I've known kids from the same family where one kid was great/easy/perfect and another one was total disaster. With unlimited analysis, you might figure out what exactly went right(wrong), but making the best decisions as life unfolds is very hard.

 

BTW, CoBF members complain a lot about lack of financial education. IMO lack of parenting education is even more prevalent. And it is likely even tougher job than managing your finances. 8)

 

(Obligatory Buffett jab: so Warren should have spent more time with the kids? Screw Berkshire?  8) )

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Kids don't come with a 'user' manual; neither do spouse.

Even a smartphone comes with better instructions!

 

Mom gives you life, Dad gives you independence.

Mom doesn't want her 'investment' getting hurt. Dads view? Martha, we need to make another one - this one's a dud!

All one need do is expose kids to life, full throtle, and get out of the way. They will find their own level.

 

Most kids are simply waiting for something to happen, and devices are just something to kill the time.

You're competing against the 'exciting' drug dealer; do nothing - and the dealer wins.

Make the drug 'life itself', and the dealer's dead in the water.

 

Mom/Dad/Gran/Grandpa give you 'life guidance'

Of course they are 'out of touch!'; mom/dad were 'you' 25-30 years ago, and for many it's mom OR dad ONLY.

Their 'instruction book' isn't nicely 'structured' either!

 

The biggest limitation of university undergraduates, upon graduation, is poor 'life guidance'.

YOU have maybe 5 years of 'freedom' until kids and significant other start arriving; and don't get it back until retirement. So plan it.

YOU will have at least 3-4 careers, and will be back at school at least 2-3 times more. So use it.

YOU make your life decisions, not someone else! So experience it.

 

Occassionally I'm asked to make graduation 'addresses'  ...

I suggest deceiding on what you like, and simply doing it. If you like blue-eyed blondes, then you really need to go live in Scandanavia where the WHOLE PLACE is blue-eyed blondes! Pick the age, the weight, the size; settle down with one to learn the language, and just let life happen. A job is just a job; experience is something else!

 

.... kind of like Charlie Munger meets Keith Richards.

 

SD

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I guess I'm exposed to different children than people on this board. I always think the children are fantastic. Its the adults that are I'm not fans of. The children seem optimistic, fun, happy, brave and daring. The adults just seem like all that life has been wrung out of them.

 

If I see any great danger in this society it is that it has made things too easy. Humans have an infinite capacity for laziness. Any formerly easy thing can be re-conceptualized as impossible. Sometimes when I read all the disadvantages that are now considered impossible to overcome: addiction, mental illness, poverty, race, sex the list goes on I marvel that we were ever able to build civilization or even survive as a species. Either living has become more difficult or we have gotten a lot weaker.

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Very thought provoking post. I would argue that all that attention is more important to your kids future happiness rather than their future success. I would bet extreme results (extreme success or failure) frequently come from a tougher environment, happiness from a more loving and attentive one. However, I guess you might be able to reach reasonable success with appropriate stimulus in a loving environment (that is my bet). I would rather have happier kids than high achieving unhappy kids.

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If you don't have kids you wont fully realize what it is like until you have them.  It is tough and great.

People gloss over the tough part but there is a lot in that. 

 

I think you want to maximize the odds that your kids turn out well - emotionally as well as everything else.

Personally this is not something I would want to outsource to Nannies.  Will they care about your kids as much as you? 

 

I have heard/seen the effect of child maltreatment quite a bit over the years.  Innercity schools, rich kids and other experiences.  One police office told me something interesting - if you don't get to your kids, someone else will.

 

Joe Plumeri (old CEO of Willis Group) had a son die, from I believe a drug overdose.  In his book he said he was working a ton and if he had spent more time at home his son would be alive nose. He hit himself really hard but

I think he was being truthful.

 

As far as women, I am no expert, but whoever you marry will be mother of your kids.  So be careful - the last thing you want is a selfish, highly materialistic woman who puts the kids last.  (same with husband).  And in the swirl of courtship this can be tricky to figure out.

My 2 cents.

 

 

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I have four kids, and it is the best thing I have done in my life.  As is much discussed, it takes a ton of time and work.

 

Most of the parents I know love their children very much, and do their best to be good parents.  So, I generally don't like to specifically criticize other parents, even if I don't agree with everything they do.  Also, of course, I make plenty of mistakes myself, and can certainly be wrong in some of my views.

 

That being the case, here are a few quick thoughts on where things can go wrong (IMHO).  Interestingly, I think some have investing parallels:

 

(1) Goals:  As a parent, I am trying to raise kids with a goal towards helping them achieve their potential and become adults I can be proud of.  For me, I  would like them to develop a strong faith, good character and compassion.  I would also like them to be hard-working, determined, independent and resilient.  Those are the types of things I think about.  Sounds pretty straightforward, but I think almost nobody else thinks this way.  My list is almost totally different than other parents.

 

I believe most other parents look for: (a) good grades; (b) excel in sports or other activity (music, dancing, etc.); © friends/happy.  I'd also like my kids to have these things, but as a by-product to the qualities above.  The best player on one of my son's soccer teams this fall was difficult - criticized refs, teammates, was lazy at times.  I'd rather a hard-working, ok player, playing his best (good thing, cause that is what I had;  the coach noticed, was very complimentary and gave him some good chances; plus he had a lot of fun).

 

(2) Short term thinking:  This is a tough one.  It is often tempting to give in to say whining.  You're tired and want to go to bed.  But, this generally leads to more whining and much more trouble in the longer term.  I sometimes give in myself, but try not to set myself up for longer term problems as best I can.

 

(3) Following the crowd:  There is lots of crowd following.  What are the Jonses doing?  Should we be doing the same?  That's just what people do now (without thinking for themselves).  An incredible amount of time is spent on kids sports.  That's fine.  I like sports.  However, if you are going to spend all of your time and money on something like club and travel sports, you should do it because you've decided it is the right thing for your kids and family.  Not because everyone else is doing it.

 

(4) Pain avoidance:  We all want our kids to be happy.  We all want to shield them from pain.  But, challenges are a part of life.  It's ok if they don't get everything they want.  It won't make them less happy, and will hopefully help them build some of that resilience and independence I mention above.  Also, trying to avoid all problems can drive you crazy and lead to spoiled kids.

 

Anyway, just some quick thoughts.

 

Off to watch the big game.

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Quick adds to this ....

 

Your kids are NOT little versions of you, and are NOT there to follow you into the 'family profession/business'.

Great if they choose to, but it's THEIR decision, NOT yours. Seems obvious, but lots of parents just don't 'get' this.

 

Kids screw up; all the time. If they aren't - they aren't learning.

But it's often better to let the 'market' clear the screw-up; as the 'real' learning is in how you fix your mistakes.

School-yard bullying, and mental abuse, is part of life. But they cant bully, if they cant walk, and have to breathe through a straw.

 

There is also nothing wrong with giving kids their heads.

Just be aware that their 'undertakings', may be a lot more than what you might have been expecting.

Bootlegging tends to rock parents a bit.

 

SD

 

 

 

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As a father of an eight-year-old, in my experience, a kid is going to observe how the people around him behave. How those people behave will have a formative influence on that kid. The rules that parents formulate around how the kid should behave, less so. Particularly if there is a large discrepancy in the behaviour of the rulemakers and the rule they impose on the kid.

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As a father of two now adult children, I agree that you need to put in the time with your children.  But in the US, especially among the upper middle class to wealthy, some people take this way too far.  Children need unsupervised time without you or other adult supervision to play, both alone and with friends.  You shouldn't be hovering around your kids at all times and scheduling their every waking hour with activities.  There is a balance to this that is hard to achieve.  You need to make the time that you do spend with your children count, but you also need to give them space and room to grow and learn how to make their own way.

 

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I have a 2 year old and a 5 month old. They're a ton of fun but super exhausting. Both the best and hardest thing I've done. I'd like to think I'm an above average parent...but doesn't everyone?

 

Not everyone thinks that they are above average parents, but everyone does think they have above average kids. :)

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I have four kids, and it is the best thing I have done in my life.  As is much discussed, it takes a ton of time and work.

 

Most of the parents I know love their children very much, and do their best to be good parents.  So, I generally don't like to specifically criticize other parents, even if I don't agree with everything they do.  Also, of course, I make plenty of mistakes myself, and can certainly be wrong in some of my views.

 

That being the case, here are a few quick thoughts on where things can go wrong (IMHO).  Interestingly, I think some have investing parallels:

 

(1) Goals:  As a parent, I am trying to raise kids with a goal towards helping them achieve their potential and become adults I can be proud of.  For me, I  would like them to develop a strong faith, good character and compassion.  I would also like them to be hard-working, determined, independent and resilient.  Those are the types of things I think about.  Sounds pretty straightforward, but I think almost nobody else thinks this way.  My list is almost totally different than other parents.

 

I believe most other parents look for: (a) good grades; (b) excel in sports or other activity (music, dancing, etc.); © friends/happy.  I'd also like my kids to have these things, but as a by-product to the qualities above.  The best player on one of my son's soccer teams this fall was difficult - criticized refs, teammates, was lazy at times.  I'd rather a hard-working, ok player, playing his best (good thing, cause that is what I had;  the coach noticed, was very complimentary and gave him some good chances; plus he had a lot of fun).

 

(2) Short term thinking:  This is a tough one.  It is often tempting to give in to say whining.  You're tired and want to go to bed.  But, this generally leads to more whining and much more trouble in the longer term.  I sometimes give in myself, but try not to set myself up for longer term problems as best I can.

 

(3) Following the crowd:  There is lots of crowd following.  What are the Jonses doing?  Should we be doing the same?  That's just what people do now (without thinking for themselves).  An incredible amount of time is spent on kids sports.  That's fine.  I like sports.  However, if you are going to spend all of your time and money on something like club and travel sports, you should do it because you've decided it is the right thing for your kids and family.  Not because everyone else is doing it.

 

(4) Pain avoidance:  We all want our kids to be happy.  We all want to shield them from pain.  But, challenges are a part of life.  It's ok if they don't get everything they want.  It won't make them less happy, and will hopefully help them build some of that resilience and independence I mention above.  Also, trying to avoid all problems can drive you crazy and lead to spoiled kids.

 

Anyway, just some quick thoughts.

 

Off to watch the big game.

 

Lot of Wisdom in Stevie's post and others.

 

One thing we are trying to instill is a love of learning.  Buying books and stuff that is of interest to them and encouraging their interests.  If you really think about the love of learning - that will take someone very, very far especially over a very long time and even more so if in you vocation.  Blow past 95% of Ivy Leaguer's if you have that.

 

 

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Love reading this topic, I am in the middle of this with 3 kids [10,8,6] and they are so much work and so much fun at the same time.

 

One thing I have been thinking about is how to teach my kids to think in an entrepreneurial, problem-solving way. So I started writing on it. I would be interested in what you think about these two ideas.

 

http://www.sethgetz.com/2018/11/entrepreneurial-kids-developing-mental.html

http://www.sethgetz.com/2019/01/entrepreneurial-kids-moving-from.html

 

I have some more ideas that I still need to write about, I just need to get the time.

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Love reading this topic, I am in the middle of this with 3 kids [10,8,6] and they are so much work and so much fun at the same time.

 

One thing I have been thinking about is how to teach my kids to think in an entrepreneurial, problem-solving way. So I started writing on it. I would be interested in what you think about these two ideas.

 

http://www.sethgetz.com/2018/11/entrepreneurial-kids-developing-mental.html

http://www.sethgetz.com/2019/01/entrepreneurial-kids-moving-from.html

 

I have some more ideas that I still need to write about, I just need to get the time.

 

Kids 'fall' into entreprenurialism, they can't be pushed; much as you can lead a horse to water, but can't make it drink.

Curiosity both leads the way, and sets the pace; the same way a 'hand's-on' exhibit at a science museum encourages experimentation. And the person 'teaching' it is often the artisan/trades-person doing it, not the parent.

 

Around the world, entrepreneurs almost instantly recognize each other.

Hence, a budding 'entrepreneurial' kid couldn't get a better instructor, and the more precocious the kid, and less parental 'control', the better. 'Class' and status has no bearing, and everything is about you - the person. I was taught how to brew native beer in 44-gallon oil-drums, and serve it by the calabash at zulu 'beer drinks', by two 'traditionally-built' black african women; under apartheid, where racial 'mixing' was not supposed to exist.

 

It was a short-step from that into boot-legging (applied physics/chemistry) and calling horse races at the local nearby track (applied statistics). Because I was 'known',and could speak 'zulu', I'd hear from the 'stable-boys' how the various horses were performing; and place Saturday morning bets for eveyone 'accross the fence'. Sadly it had to eventually be shut down because we were winning too often, and the stable-boys were using the money to return home. Evey now and again, there would also be an interesting 'update' with the folks.

 

Siblings compete, so where one is successful; expect the others to follow.

It emerged many years later that my sister was way more 'entreprenerial' than I ever was, and I had no idea! She had also been 'adopted' into a different native tribe, as I had; and the various tip-offs received over the years, kept the family free of terrorist ambush. Entreprenurship is simbiotic.

 

Main point here, is get out of your kids way.

Lead them to water, let them make their own decisions, and keep a 'light touch'.

 

SD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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