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Expert who interviewed 70 parents reveals three ‘extreme’ parenting decisions that work wonders

These parenting tactics will instill a growth mindset for a child to follow their passion and also be successful in it.

Expert who interviewed 70 parents reveals three ‘extreme’ parenting decisions that work wonders
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Andrea Piacquadio

Knowingly or unknowingly many parents tend to curb their child's passion at a very young age. It is a difficult task to keep our parenting styles in check so that we don't end up being discouraging parents. This is where parenting experts come into play and it's okay to seek their support. Margot Machol Bisnow is an author and a parenting expert who wrote the book "Raising An Entrepreneur: How to Help Your Children Achieve Their Dreams." Speaking to CNBC Make It about her book, Bisnow highlights the three "extreme" parenting tactics to help children follow their dreams and succeed in them too. 

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Bisnow's book is based on 99 stories of parents who raised successful kids which included interviews with parents of 70 highly accomplished entrepreneurs. On identifying a common parenting attribute that most of these parents share, the author says, "Those parents gave their kids the freedom to pursue passions, sometimes to seemingly extreme degrees, like leaving home at a young age or dropping out of college." She emphasized that the parents, rather than imposing their will when it comes to their children's careers, listened to their children and took their opinions seriously. "What’s sort of sad to me is, this shouldn’t be 'extreme' parenting. This should be normal parenting," says a concerned Bisnow. Let's take a look at the 3 "extreme" parenting techniques that have actually worked.

1. Support your child's passion

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kindel Media
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kindel Media

According to Bisnow, filmmaker John M. Chu bewildered his immigrant parents when he wanted to pursue a career in creative arts, unlike their expectations of a "traditional" career. His passion for capturing family videos grew into a desire to make movies which got him criticized. Bisnow mentioned that when Chu wept and expressed his love for the creative arts, Chu's mother bought him some books on filmmaking telling him, "If you want to do it, learn all about it and be the best." Bisnow explains, "People who stop encouraging their kids’ passions because they might not make enough money as an adult or be seen as conventionally successful, send the wrong message." She adds, "Not everyone makes a career out of their passion - but showing that you trust your children can give them the confidence they’ll need to succeed as adults, no matter the path they end up following."

2. Let your child learn to win and lose

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kampus Production
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kampus Production

Talking about how her interviewees gave their kids a lot of independence from a very young age, Bisnow refers to the parents of Simon Isaacs, CEO of TaskForce and co-founder of Fatherly. Isaacs' parents let him leave home for two years to train as a skier in Colorado. Skiing for Middlebury College, Isaacs hoped to make it to the U.S. Olympic team which didn't work out as he expected. However, that experience laid a foundation for his entrepreneurial success, according to Bisnow. She said, "Having that degree of passion about something taught him grit and focus and hard work and determination and all the things it takes to succeed in life,” and added, “I know it was hard for his family to let him go. But they did."

3. It's okay if the child doesn't have straight A's

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Emily Ranquist
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Emily Ranquist

Though not every college dropout ends up successful like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Bisnow highlights the importance of not forcing them to graduate or get straight A's. For this, she refers to the mother of Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic, who was skeptical of letting him drop out of the University of Houston in his second year. Mullenweg, even during his college days, was developing a web content management system that grabbed the eyes of CNET who were ready to pay for his work. Seeing his passion and commitment, Mullenweg's mom eventually let him pursue his passion and helped him find an apartment in San Fransisco. Mullenweg worked with CNET for a year and kick-started his standalone business, WordPress and grew to be the CEO of a billion-dollar company. "A lot of parents, their kids want to drop out and they’re just apoplectic," the author said and added, "They’re like 'No. You can’t do it. You won’t be able to be successful in life,' clearly, [for Mullenweg], it was the right decision." 

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