“Mom, I charged a fair market price. Because I thought of you as my client, not my mom.” -Ehi, a 13 year-old middle school student.
Parenting is tough; sometimes, I learned how to parent from my children. They made me a lifetime learner. What about you?
Many years ago, my 13-year-old son schooled me on the mindset of a business person. I was humbled, and I learned.
How can we learn from our teenagers? The fixed mindset may trick you into saying things such as; “I was in the world before you came along.” “ Wisdom comes with age.” “Learning from an inexperienced teenager, sound stupid.”
Yes, the same feeling crossed my mind the first time my teen daughter challenged our core Christian value, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Full disclosure, I am a Nigerian Tiger mom in recovery.
Sometimes, parents’ egos get on in the way of learning new skills from their children, for example, learning social media and advanced computer skills. You are not alone. It is similar to a “boss” learning from a new employee or a CEO learning from a Janitor.
3 Things I Learned from My Children
You may enjoy them, laugh or cry, or stop reading. As parents, our personality and culture differ, so look for what works for you and your family.
They challenged the status quo and can make you a better person.
Many parents follow societal expectations; for example, go to school, get a job, buy a big house, get marry, retire, and die.
My daughter, a freshwoman in high school, believed, the babysitter job did not pay a living wage. And I thought the same when I was her age. She set up her businesses: tutoring, selling her science notes online, and self-taught makeup artist.
No argument; she created businesses that pay her what she’s worth.
As a college student, she works on her businesses and makes more money than I ever made when I was her age. She works only 7 hours per week while her roommate works more hours with less pay.
You have the power to live your life on your own terms.
They go against the grain.
As a parent, I learned from my teens to look at everything with fresh eyes and also look back on how I lived as a teenager.
For me, my teens helped me try new things, questioned all my long-held values, and relived my teen years. Life is fun when I choose not to take myself seriously all the time.
Do you remember some children who colored outside the line? That boy who refused to tuck in his shirt for the musical concert. Or, a girl who insisted on wearing a pair of pants to the 6th-grade concert. I remembered those children who always made their parents and teachers mad.
My son asked me to repeat questions several times and then said, “I don’t know or let me think about it.” My son questioned everything, and he will kindly dispute my explanation or came up with his idea or googled it.
My son requested that his dress shirt to a concert be changed because of a brand logo. He said, “That logo interferes with my name.” Yes, it does with his brand. He was a third-grader.
How do you define your brand?
As a parent, I learned from my children to look at everything with fresh eyes and check my unconscious bias. And often, I discovered new things and determined never to settle for less.
My teens never settle for less. They worked for or created what they want.
Keep your emotion out of business or contract negotiations.
Many years ago, I hired my teens to work for me. I gave two of them the same project, and at that time, she was 15, and he was 13: my daughter, a savvy entrepreneur, and my son, International Affairs expert.
I gave two of them the same project and expectations. My son charged me six times what my daughter charged. When I compared the fees, I was shocked; my partner was upset and said, “I’ve seen the same pattern of behavior from talented women faculties, and they always asked for one-third of what men asked for.”
I took permission from my son, and I discussed his fees with my daughter. She was shocked because her brother at that time, was 13 and less experienced. My daughter assumed her brother did an average job. Yes, he did a mediocre job, but he had the audacity to asked for a ridiculous amount. She was mad, but I learned a lesson from both of them.
- Women, please keep your emotion out of business or contract negotiations. Learn more about your clients or business partners!
- Know who you are and your worth.
- It is not all about money, but how you value yourself.
Then I asked my son how he came up with the fees. He said, “Mom, I googled the fair market price; I spend time teaching you what to do. I used the google document and gave you the file/copyright. Look at the invoice. I made it professionally and addressed it to your business. I triple the fees because I know who you are — -you do not pay a full price for anything.” With a calm voice, he added, “I treated you as a client, not my mom.” That ended the conversation for me. He reminded me of my teen years, doing business with my mother. We reap what we sow!
Remember — -
We do reap what we sow. Sometimes, our children reflect who we are. Yes, you can learn something from your teenager. Have an open mind. I believe I can learn from everyone and everything. What to do and what NOT do. Share one thing you have learned from your teen or your new hire or subordinate.
Help yourself grow.