I think it is safe to say that, as parents, we collectively strive to provide our children with the support and motivation they need to build a successful future for themselves. But when it comes to inspiring our children, even the best parents need a little help sometimes. That’s where Neelam Sethi comes in.
Born in India, Neelam Sethi has always been fascinated by children. She wanted a large family that she could put her “heart and soul” into raising. Throughout her children’s lives, she followed her instincts when it came to parenting. Without any real training or parenting guides, she was able to raise four successful children – including the New York Times best selling author Ramit Sethi, founder of the Masala Body health and fitness program, Nagina Sethi Abdullah, Maneesh Sethi founder of the Pavlok self-shocking, behavior change device and Dr. Rachita Sethi Reddy, nephrologist and founder of Reddy4HealthyBalance.com. By any measure her offspring are more motivated and entrepreneurial than your average brood. Today, Neelam is a parenting expert who has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post and So Money podcast for her advice on how to raise motivated children.
Having learned a lot from raising her own children, Neelam shared few of her most effective insights to help parents learn how to inspire entrepreneurship and creative thinking in their kids.
1. Encourage goal-oriented conversations about the future. One of the most important things that Neelam did as a parent was to engage in conversation with their kids, specifically about the future. Everything started off with “when you go to junior high” or “when you go to high school” or “when you go to college”. Through these conversations, she taught her children that you only get a few years to take advantage of networks and opportunities; make the most of your time at each point and remember that life is give and take.
2. Teach valuable negotiation skills. Growing up in India, everything was negotiable. Neelam and her husband brought that mentality over to the United States and shared it with their children. She taught her children to ask for what they wanted and that there was no harm in being told “no”. This empowered them to go after what they wanted and offered her the chance to give her children more opportunities within their financial means.
3. Harness their natural talents. Children recognize and appreciate big achievements in their lives. Neelam discovered her children’s natural strengths and interests and helped them learn how to take these skills and excel in them. She saw this ability to build a strategy working with what was available and making it go to great heights as the ultimate entrepreneurial spirit.
4. Focus on specifics. Rather than just asking her children “how was your day?” Neelam would encourage an open dialogue by asking specifics, such as “what game did you play at recess?” and “who did you sit with at lunch today?” Another tactic she used in their home was to give each child a title for the day, depending on their jobs. These titles – such as kitchen coordinator or table setter – helped them find excitement, satisfaction and purpose in otherwise mundane chores.
5. Incorporate positivity. Neelam suggests that including meditation and gratefulness into your child’s daily routine helps them learn how to avoid letting negativity overpower the rest of their day. Even if it is only 2 minutes a day, spending some time asking your children “what are you thankful for today?” can make a child more thankful, empathetic and less greedy than they might otherwise be.
To learn more, check out the full podcast interview on Financial Fluency here Raise Top Kids with Neelam Sethi!