Parents are to blame for poverty in America – not Wall Street, not the 1%, not big business, not government policies – parents! Of course, there are exceptions, such as family disabilities, medical issues etc., but exceptions aside, poverty is the direct result of bad parenting. America has nearly 46 million people in poverty. Of this, close to 14% are between the ages of 18 and 64. When this group is poor, their children are also poor, contributing to the overall national poverty rate.
Why are parents to blame for poverty? Parents are not doing the bare minimum, which is to raise their kids to be self-sufficient and able to survive in the real world. Surviving in the real world means having the tools to make a decent wage that can provide for a family in America without having to rely on public or private sector hand outs. There is a generational cycle of poverty in our country that is the direct effect of bad parenting, or Poverty Parenting. Kids are always watching their parents and mirroring their habits, behaviors, choices and thinking. What are some of the Poverty Habits parents must avoid so that their kids can live a poverty-free life? Below is a list of some of the most damaging Parenting Poverty Habits I uncovered in my five year study on the daily habits of the rich and poor:
Parenting Poverty Habit #1 – Not Making Your Kids Read Every Day
One of the most common habits the rich and successful have is the habit of reading every day for self-education. Thirty minutes or more a day is all it takes. 88% of the rich had this daily habit, while 98% of the poor did not. Ben Carson, a famous neurologist who may very well become our next President, shares a story about this Parenting Rich Habit that he learned from his mom in his bestselling book: One Nation (http://www.amazon.com/One-Nation-What-Americas-Future/dp/1595231129/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414439823&sr=1-1&keywords=dr+ben+carson+one+nation). Dr.Carson lived in one of Detroit’s ghettos. His mom was afraid that her son would become just another casualty of ghetto life. To prevent this, Mrs. Carson made Dr. Carson read every day for self-education. To ensure her son did his daily reading she also required that he write a one page summary about what he read that day so she could read it. Each day, Dr. Carson would hand this summary to his mom for her to review. This daily reading eventually became a habit that helped give Dr. Carson the confidence to pursue higher education and eventually medical school. He continues to read every day. Years later, Dr. Carson would learn that his mom was illiterate. She never actually could read any of his summaries. Intuitively, Mrs. Carson knew that if she could instill in her son the daily habit of reading it would help get him out of the ghetto and realize the American Dream. And it worked!
If you want your kids to escape the generational cycle of poverty, this Parenting Rich Habit alone will keep our kids out of poverty. It’s that powerful.
Parenting Habit #2 – Ignoring The Law of Association
Another very bad Parenting Poverty Habit is allowing your children to associate with other children who are on the wrong path in life. The rich understand something called The Law of Association that poor people don’t get. The rich surround themselves with other success-minded people who are trying to better and improve their lives. But what if you live in a poor neighborhood, whose environment isn’t exactly bursting at the seems with success-minded people? Big Brother, The Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other non-profit mentoring groups offer an environment that fosters achievement and self-improvement. Get your kids involved in these groups asap. My twenty-five year old son is mentoring a poor black teenager in NYC through Big Brother. They’ve become friends and their mentor/mentee relationship is paying dividends for both. This teenage now has someone to model and turn to when he needs help or guidance. Ross Perot (billionaire), Gerald Ford (38th President of the U.S.), Michael Bloomberg (billionaire and former Mayor of NYC) and Neil Armstrong (first man on the moon) were all eagle scouts. Jennifer Lopez (celebrity), Usher (singer), and Mario Lopez (celebrity) were all members of the Boys or Girls Club.
Parents who do not monitor and control who their kids associate with are not doing their job as parents. Mentors can be good or bad. As a parent, you need to ensure your kids are being mentored by individuals who are good role models and not bad ones.
Poverty Parenting Habit #3 – Violating the One Hour Rule
Are your kids spending more than an hour a day watching T.V. or on the Internet (social media, youtube etc) or playing video games? If you don’t know the answer to that question then you are not doing your job as a parent. Parents who raised kids who became wealthy and successful in my study, limited how much time their kids spent watching T.V. To a large extent the Internet and video games have replaced T.V. consumption in today’s culture.
Parents need to curtail the wasted time their kids spend engaged in these activities. That time should be better spent either studying, reading, volunteering or involved in constructive groups like Big Brother.
In my recently released book: Rich Kids – How to Raise Our Children to be Happy and Successful in Life (http://richhabits.net/rich-habits-books/), I share hundreds of strategies, tips and tools that rich, successful people learned from their parents. I also share many of the Parenting Poverty Habits you need to avoid if you want your children to grow up to be happy and successful in life.