Do your children have rich grandparents? If so, worry

My thesis stems from seeing many children growing up in an environment of abundance that had no connection to the level of work that was required to achieve such material success.

Many of their parents conveyed the correct messages about academic success and its correlation to hard work and overall success. But, the children would experience life differently.

Big material things. No work needed.

To be clear, many of his parents worked reasonably hard. But the children would soon realize that the boat, the maid, the 10,000-square-foot house, in part or in large part, were derived from more than just the efforts of their parents. Teens also noted that their car, X Box and Blackberry “magically” appeared with no connection to the work needed.

By comparison, the students I worked with whose parents created wealth had two things going for them:

1) observed that their parents worked hard, often very hard, to achieve material success and

2) Perhaps more importantly, his parents had the psychological make-up of those who strive for success. These psychological frameworks are naturally transmitted to children.

This is the part that hurts some parents. If you and/or your spouse grew up in a home of great wealth, it’s only natural that you didn’t work very hard for material success. To be clear, many children of wealthy parents work hard and the stereotype of the spoiled millionaire’s child is exaggerated.

But, look around you. It is likely that a part of his wealth is due to the good fortune of being born into a fortune. He may see himself as a hard worker, but it is likely that his material abundance is not entirely due to the sweat of his brow. He probably didn’t go into debt for college or graduate school. He may have had help buying the house from him. It is possible that he was able to start his business because he knew that he had a safety net.

And guess what? Your children have noticed.

He might also have been considered a kind and generous father in buying his sixteen-year-old son a Porsche. But what message did you convey? Magical things happen, but not because of hard work.

Here’s an example of a crazy parent from someone who should know better. Sean John Holmes was born in the public housing projects of Harlem. He managed to get out of a difficult environment, among other things, his father, a drug dealer, was shot to death when he was young, and gained admission to Howard University. He then commuted between Washington, DC and New York to work as an intern at Uptown Records. He became Puff Daddy, P. Diddy and now Diddy. Say what you will about him, but he certainly worked very hard when he started. Now it is worth 340 million dollars. His success was largely due to his willingness at a young age to connect hard work with success. In a few years, he might reflect on that fact along with his recent purchase of his 16-year-old son’s first car: a $360,000 Maybach Zeppelin.

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