Toughen Your Kids Up, Mentally

First, let me begin by wishing all our “mom readers” a belated Happy Mothers Day. I know from firsthand experience how much pressure moms take on with the decision to bring a child into the world. On top of the endless responsibilities that come with adulthood, it’s amazing that we’re able to survive the chaos. If you’re like me, you probably spent your Sunday catching up on work and sitting next to half-wilted, grocery-store-bought flowers that were supposedly picked up that morning for the sake of “freshness,” or so your husband claims. I’m talking to the seasoned moms who’ve had this gig for a while. Getting back to business, I’m here to discuss making your life easier for the long haul – to prepare for the day your kids fly the coop and, ideally, support themselves on their own.



Speaking of moms, Kris Jenner has patented something so amazing, unique, and monumental that we have to give her some credit – she has made a fortune on drama. But despite the fact that she’s loaded, I beg you to not look at her for example (on either careers or motherhood). The reason why I acknowledge this “drama mama” as an anomaly is because I know the real truth – there is nothing that gets under an employer’s skin more than the emotional baggage people bring to work with them. I’m not saying that there are no compassionate employers out there, but simply that the workplace has no room for negativity and incessant complaining. It’s a slippery slope, and too many working Joe’s fall for it. Dan with the horrible in-laws and daddy issues is quickly dubbed “Dramatic Dan.” As the venting sessions at work rage on, everyone begins to wonder why everything happens to poor Dan. Little by little, Dan’s personal life begins to affect the business and his hard-working coworkers avoid him around the office.

I always believed the old stereotype that women are the emotional ones, that is, until I hired a divorced single father. I was amazed by the level of drama, from the heavy issues, like the girlfriend, x-wife, and kids right down to his transportation. All of the sudden, those all became my problems, which, quite frankly, I didn’t have the time or the patience to handle on top of running a company. That may be a sustainable business model in Kardashian land, where work and home are equivalent and more drama meant higher ratings. But in the real world, the fuss that comes with emotional baggage costs employers a great deal of money in lost productivity.

Moms, since you’ve undoubtedly read all the child-rearing advice you could your hands on, I urge you to take a moment to listen to a few words from a career coach and fellow mother. And please know that this harsh reality comes from a place of tough love, but love nonetheless. Everyone doesn’t get a trophy in the work world and whatever Little League Coach suggested that brilliant idea unknowingly set our future workforce up for unrealistic expectations. It’s tough out there, which means businesses require candidates with tough mental attitudes.


Use losing as an opportunity to teach versus commiserate. It’s in a mother’s nature to protect her children from any type of disappointment and pain, but, in the long run, it limits their personal growth. Rather than feed into your child’s pity party, teach him to pick himself up and move on from each loss. It’s not easy to do, but it’s a valued soft skill in today’s work world.

Don’t focus so much on grades. Emotional intelligence is a much better predictor of success than intellect. Being different can be an incredibly powerful incentive to entrepreneurial companies. There are a lot of great jobs at all intellect levels, but tenacity is still the difference between good talent and great talent. Babying your kids will hinder their ability to think for themselves and solve a problem head-on, behaviors that are required today. If you take care of every obstacle that comes their way, how can you expect they’ll be prepared to build a sustainable career?

Give them skills that stand the test of time. Technology is taking the place of many entry-level jobs. While social media skills and Microsoft Office proficiencies are important, many young people can barely string together a full sentence or make eye contact. Arm your kids with both written and communication skills – in the business world, those will never become outdated.

Keep their minds open to other occupations. Rather than focusing on those old-fashioned job titles deemed prestigious by mainstream society – doctor, lawyer, investment banker, etc. – encourage your kids to get different experiences and learn about a variety of industries. More kids are graduating with degrees that sound more like hobbies than anything that connects to our evolving business world. Use the internet to research employment trends, job creation, and skills that are actually in demand. My candidates always try to convince me that everyone is vying for the same job, but the truth is, my recruiters have more trouble today pinpointing quality talent than they’ve ever had in the past – and we’ve been around since 1962.

So the next time your son or daughter calls to complain about a terrible boss, remember, if you want them to move out of your basement, you need to provide them with the real tools to make it happen.

More From Joan Graci & Career Reform on: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

We’re launching a campaign to get our young people into career jobs worthy of their unique talents and education. If you know an entry-level, workplace newbie looking for that perfect first gig, register for our FREE webinar, Adopt A Grad on May 15 at 12 p.m. We also built a cool infographic to give you a sneak preview.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed