Drew and Jonathan think their folks are the GOATs (greatest of all time), and credit them with their strong work ethic and even stronger sense of humor. Here, Mr. and Mrs. Scott answer your parenting questions.
Q: My kids are begging to earn an allowance for doing chores, but I think helping out at home is just part of learning responsibility and being a member of the family. Am I wrong? Should I pay my kids to clean their rooms, cut the grass, or fold laundry?
JIM: I believe kids are entitled to earn pocket money each week for their own use. And maybe certain chores could earn them a trip to the zoo or some other fun outing.
Q: What’s the best way to teach a child to save money? Do you have guidelines for young investors?
JOANNE: A piggy bank is a good start. Opening a bank account is the next step. They can earn extra money for special tasks. For example, our boys were about 10 years old when they acted as servers at dinner parties. They took it seriously and surprised us by dressing up in white shirts and dress pants, and each had a white napkin draped over one of his arms!
Q: What are the most important things I need to do to raise an independent, entrepreneurial person? Are there good jobs for kids that lead to business savvy?
JOANNE: One: Support and encourage their hopes and dreams. Two: Make sure they know there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Three: Any business must start with a plan and build on that. We always ate dinner together. That’s the perfect time to brainstorm about what things your kids love or would love to do and how it could be turned into a job. Bouncing ideas off of each other can be really inspirational. Our guys’ first business started at the dinner table: JAM (Jonathan Andrew Mom) Enterprises. They decorated metal hangers with lovely colored nylon material and finished with a flower made from the same material. Through a family friend they met a woman who had stores in Japan and gave them huge orders.
“Our family has always been behind us in everything we do. Our parents taught us by example to love and support each other no matter what.”—Jonathan
Q: How did you decide which of their schemes to support and which to let fade away?
JOANNE: I always tried to encourage my boys’ interests and dreams. A good way to start is by helping your kids put their ideas down on lined paper. At the top, mark it as Current Project or Future Project. Have them add the current date and the working title of the project. Then below that, make separate columns for pros and cons. Pin the ideas on a corkboard so they can easily be added to. Let your kids carry on from there. Writing plans on paper makes them more real and attainable.
Q: Was there ever a time when you had to decide whether to let your kids quit something? How did you handle it?
JIM: I was an instructor in Shotokan karate. When the boys were eight, they wanted to join. I said if they started, they could not quit. They watched a number of classes and decided they wanted to join. Their older brother Daniel (JD) was 10 and he had joined at 8. Over the next 10 years, all three boys earned black belts and became instructors at the dojo.
During that time, they won many awards and trophies in competitions. Ultimately, it was their choice to join, so it was up to them to be honest with themselves and ask, “Is my heart in this? Am I giving it my all?”
Q: There’s such a fine line between being involved in your child’s life and becoming that helicopter parent. How can I strike a balance?
JIM: When kids are young, it’s nice to find activities that you can be part of too. Doing these things together gives you opportunities to guide them in the right direction. Then, take a step back at an opportune time so they can spread their wings.
Q: Between school and sports, my children’s activities have taken over our family life. When your kids were at this stage, how would you reserve time for yourself and your marriage?
JOANNE: Arrange date nights. You deserve them, and they should be guilt-free. One of our favorite outings used to be enjoying a nice dinner. We’d get dressed up for each other and go somewhere we could sit next to each other and enjoy being close.
“One thing I always looked forward to was one-on-one time with Mom or Dad. I don’t know how they managed it, but they always made us feel like special individuals.”—Drew
Q: Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall. What are some things I can do to spark conversation with my kid?
JIM: From the beginning of their lives, parent-child relationships are a work in progress. Keep interacting with your kids and looking for opportunities to talk about what they’re interested in. To keep their attention, it shouldn’t be a one-way conversation; that’s when their eyes glaze over. Speak respectfully, with no shouting. And always take time to listen when they want to talk. If you feel the need to have a serious discussion, lead into the conversation with something less heavy.
Q: Our family loves board games. But no one likes to lose. What’s your advice for avoiding that end-of-game tension?
JOANNE: We love, love, love games. As much as we enjoy them, the games themselves aren’t as important as all the laughter and interaction that take place when we play. There’s no fighting—ever—in our family games. If the same person continually wins, we change to another game for a while. Failing that…ice cream for everyone.
Photos Courtesy of the Scott Family