Module 1 | Parenting, Family Dynamics and an Entrepreneurial Mindset

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Parents need to develop their parenting skills in a way that makes them ethical parents, assessing the consequences of their actions. It is parenting based on two main principles 

  • Principle A | Beneficence and Nonmaleficence and
  • Principle B | Fidelity and Responsibility. 

Principle A is about doing no harm and choosing to find and do the right thing. This is not as simple as it sounds as it often entails being critical of the parenting examples you have from your own parents, but finding a way of not rejecting these examples just for the sake of rebellion. Principle B refers to things such as keeping promises, being trustworthy, following through, and learning as much as you can about your job as a parent. It means you take your parenting profession seriously. As a parent you strive to operate at a high standard. You don’t cheat, lie, blame others for your shortcomings, and you model moral and ethical behaviour all the time. []

Alison Gopnik has identified two types of modern parent, the “Gardener” and the “Carpenter. The “carpenter” thinks that his or her child can be moulded. “The idea is that if you just do the right things, get the right skills, read the right books, you’re going to be able to shape your child into a particular kind of adult,” she says. The “gardener,” on the other hand, is less concerned about controlling who the child will become and instead provides a protected space to explore. The style is all about “creating a rich, nurturant but also variable, diverse, dynamic ecosystem.” Research shows that children raised by “gardener” parents are far more resilient and, not surprisingly, have much higher levels of entrepreneurial competences. In this training we are aiming for making parents understand the benefits of becoming more gardener parents.

The recommended approach includes a particular emphasis on learning through authentic play. Authentic play provides a rich basis for learning that is socially interactive, iterative, joyful, meaningful and engaging all of which it is believed to provide a solid basis for an entrepreneurial person. In such play, children learn better as they are in a state of flow (Csíkszentmihályi), challenged, but not over challenged, and find great pleasure in finding solutions themselves. Providing opportunities for young learners to develop a positive attitude to problem solving is believed / felt to be a key part of a parent’s role / task as an entrepreneurial educator. The project training is intended to support parents in finding the balance and providing their children with a nurturing environment for better learning.

In this module, we are building on the work of parenting theorists and practitioners of the last decades, approaching this topic from different ends, but arriving at the same solutions: parenting children in a trustful and nurturing environment, challenging, but not overwhelming them. We build on works of the following authors: Alison Gopnik, Alfie Kohn, Lawrence J. Cohen, Peter Gray, Pasi Sahlberg, Philippa Perry, Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ken Robinson, Wendy Mogel.

Financial literacy, (FL), is included in this module as the most relevant area of entrepreneurial education in the home. While it may seem a relatively simple topic, it also has its challenges and traps. The aim is clearly to help your child learn the value of money and how to negotiate their finances in the real world. At the same time the real challenge for parents lies in finding ways that are authentic, not using money for punishment or rewarding actions that are part of daily life (such as shared house chores or school results), but still helping our children to develop their skills in an age-appropriate way. In so doing a number of key principles can be readily addressed:

  • the significance of saving, i.e. delayed gratification, where a series of short-term sweet purchases are sacrificed for the satisfaction of buying a particular toy later instead;
  • recognition of the unlimited nature of needs or wants contrasted by the limited ability to satisfy them. A move towards a simplistic budget forces recognition of such realities, the need to recognise priorities and therefore to decide how to budget and spend scarce resources. 

FL has been consciously included in this module as it aligns so well with elements of ethical and sustainable education, which parents often need to access and go beyond their own experiences to be successful. The increased emphasis upon FL also reflects the social change being driven by the economic and policy environment.