In a 2013 survey conducted by the Associated Press, they found that 80% of America’s adults struggle with joblessness, poverty, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives.
While you may see yourself as good parents, stats don’t lie.
Eighty percent of America’s parents clearly are failing their kids.
For this 80%, the American Dream is dead and dependency is their only refuge.
I spent five years studying the habits, thinking and behaviors that 177 self-made millionaires and 233 poor individuals learned from their parents.
I discovered many things that separate the rich from the poor.
Below are ten key areas I identified where parents are failing their children:
Fail #1 – Toxic Friends
Children are influenced by their environment and that includes who they associate with on a regular basis.
The parents of those 177 self-made millionaires in my study were wholly preoccupied with who their kids associated with.
Were their friends good or bad influences?
Were their friends exposing them to good or bad habits?
Were their friends good or bad students?
The friends your child spends the most time with are the ones you need to be worried about.
How well do you know your child’s friends? How well do you know their parents?
If the answer is not very well, then you are failing your kids.
Fail #2 – You Children Don’t Read
How many books does your child read a week, a month or a year?
In my study, sixty-three percent of those self-made millionaires were required by their parents to read two or more books a month.
But not just any books.
They had to read books that increased their knowledge in some way.
What books should you be making your kids read?
- Biographies of other successful people.
- History or historical fiction books.
- Science fiction or science-related books.
- Hobby books.
- Personal development books.
- Literary classics.
- Philosophy books.
- Sports legends.
- Travel books.
It didn’t end there.
The parents of those self-made millionaires engaged their children in a discussion about the books they were making them read.
They became accountability partners for their children. Famous Neurosurgeon and Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson’s mother did this.
Dr. Carson was raised in the ghettos of Detroit and his mom made both he and his brother read every day and then required them to provide her with a weekly summary.
Are you making your kids read every day?
If not, then you are failing your kids.
Fail #3 – Poor Health Habits
In my study, the parents of self-made millionaires made their kids eat right and exercise every day.
Seventy percent limited their consumption of junk food to less than 300 calories each day.
Too much junk food leads to obesity, can result in Type II Diabetes and can damage your child’s heart and arteries.
Seventy-six percent of the parents of those self-made millionaires required their children to exercise thirty minutes or more each day.
The predominant exercise was cardio-related: running, jogging, etc.
Blood’s major purpose in the body is to carry nutrients (glucose and oxygen) to the cells and to carry waste out through our lungs in the form of carbon dioxide.
When we exercise we increase blood flow throughout the body.
The more you exercise the greater the blood flow. This means more nutrients and more waste removal.
Exercise also increases blood flow into the Dentrate Gyrus.
The Dentrate Gyrus is part of our brain’s Hippocampus, a region involved in memory formation and neurogenisis (birth of new brain cells).
Exercise also stimulates the production of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDFN).
BDFN is miracle grow for brain cells.
Exercise is, in many respects, like candy for the brain.
Are you feeding your kids the right candy? If not, then you are failing your kids.
Fail #4 – Video Screen Overload
In my study, 67% of the parents of self-made millionaires limited their kids TV time to one hour or less a day.
Other modern day time wasters like cell phones, Facebook, video games and iPads were not in vogue at the time these self-made millionaires were children, but they are just as wasteful.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average 8-10 year old spends around eight hours a day staring at video screens: TVs, cell phones, iPads, video games, computers, etc.
Most of this time is non-learning time, which means it’s wasted time.
That time should be put to better use such as reading, studying, school club activities, volunteering, etc.
Do you limit how much time your kids spend staring at video screens?
If not, then you are failing your kids.
Fail #5 – No Control Over Words and Emotions
Eighty-one percent of the self-made millionaires in my study were taught by their parents to control their words and emotions.
As a result, these millionaires were able to build strong, powerful relationships with others.
Their parents made them understand that not every thought needs to come out of their mouth and not every emotion needs to be expressed.
Doing so damages relationships; relationships that could otherwise open important doors for your children down the road.
Are you teaching your kids to control their thoughts and emotions?
If not, then you are failing your kids.
Fail #6 – No Purpose in Life
Eighty percent of the self-made millionaires pursued some major purpose in life.
This was some dream or vision they were chasing.
They built goals around their dreams and never quit trying.
Having a main purpose in life, I discovered from my research, creates persistence, a key success trait.
Where parents fail most often is in pigeon-holing their kids into two or three activities, typically sports activities.
How can a child ever find out where their talents lie if they are limited to two or three activities?
Only by exposing your children to dozens of activities during their childhood will they be able to find their inner talents.
Everyone has unique, special talents.
Are you exposing your kids to different activities every year? If not, then you are failing your kids.
Fail #7 – Negative Thinking
Seventy-one percent of the self-made millionaires in my study were indoctrinated by their parents to be optimistic about life.
They were taught to believe in themselves. As a result, they enthusiastically pursued their dreams and goals as adults.
Their optimism infected everyone around them. They became magnets for other success-minded people.
This helped them in creating teams that would eventually lead them to success.
Are your children being raised with a positive mental outlook? If not, then you are failing your kids.
Fail #8 – Me First
In order to get, you must first give.
You must give value to others if you want to succeed in life.
Giving always comes first. It was no surprise that 79% of the self-made millionaires in my study were required to volunteer for charities or non-profit groups when they were young.
This forged a habit out of giving their time, money and expertise.
Many of the individuals who run non-profits or charities are successful people.
They have developed strong relationships with other success-minded people.
These contacts can help open doors for your children.
Are your children volunteering?
If not, then you are failing your children.
Fail #9 – Entitlement Mindset
Entitlement Thinking is a Poverty Habit that creates dependence.
The successful individuals in my study avoided Entitlement Thinking.
They were raised to believe that the world did not owe them a living.
They were raised to believe that they alone were responsible for providing for themselves.
Entitlement Thinking is a cancer that will program your mind for poverty.
Are your kids being raised with an Entitlement Mindset?
If so, then you are failing your kids.
Fail #10 – I am a Victim – Poverty by Circumstance
Thirty-one percent of the millionaires in my study came from abject poverty.
Forty-five percent came from the middle-class.
That’s 76%. These 177 self-made millionaires were able to rise above their impoverished or modest financial circumstances in life and become rich.
They didn’t do it by blaming others, the government, Wall Street or rich people.
They did it by taking responsibility for their lives and breaking free of the habits, thinking and behavior that limit your success in life.
When blaming others for your circumstances becomes accepted doctrine, you’re resting your butt on a broken stool.
That stool will eventually collapse, dragging you to the ground.
Accepting individual responsibility for your life, your habits, your behaviors, your choices and your thinking gives you a ladder to help you climb out of your current circumstances.
Blaming others for your life circumstances relegates you and your children to a life of poverty, since you have accepted the fact that your poverty is outside your control.
You were born poor and there are forces at work who are intent on keeping you poor.
You’re a victim of poverty.
Are you raising your kids to believe that they are victims of society?
If you are, then you are failing your kids.
It’s up to parents to mentor their kids to succeed in life.
If parents don’t step in and mentor them, someone else will.
Someone who may not have their best interest at heart.
They’re your kids and they’re your legacy.
Make that legacy matter.