Happy siblings having fun while holding hands with their parents and running during spring day in nature.

This is written by an attorney who handles estate planning and represents clients in guardianship, will contests, and trust and fiduciary litigation. In my world, I see a lot of children who come up short when a parent ages. The children fight over money, argue over control, neglect their parents, steal, and exploit.

Tips for Preparing Your Child to Be an Adult Guardian

The children’s bad behavior does not mean that their parents did not raise them right. I worry, however, that some of the parenting advice that is going around now is going to promote a crop of entitled, selfish adult brats. Here is what I wish parents would consider for raising their children to be good adults and reliable agents under powers of attorney, trusts, and wills. 

Don’t Be a Helicopter Parent

If you’re a helicopter parent,  your child will enter adulthood without the necessary skills to problem-solve or act independently. Likewise, don’t be a disengaged parent because chances are good that your child is going to be a disengaged adult.  

Do Show Affection

Openly show your child affection, encourage your child, discipline your child, and let your child take chances and fail. Don’t buy into child-raising fads. Choose your child’s neighborhood and school wisely. Give your child a stable home environment. Don’t do your child’s schoolwork. Give your child lots of free time to play and think.

Read Together

Read together every day. There is no reason why you should not start reading The Wall Street Journal out loud to your child in the cradle. When your child starts pronouncing words, let your child read to you.  

Engage in Dinnertime Discussions

Discuss concepts and world events at the dinner table. Your child needs a background in world history and religion, American history, logic, debate, dispute resolution, geography, government, business law, personal finance, social studies, math, writing, marketing, science, and ethics.

Set Reasonable Goals

Don’t encourage self-absorption or focus on feelings, either yours or your child’s. If you teach your child that the goal in life is happiness, then you are setting your child up for constant failure. Your child is not going to experience happiness cleaning the house, doing a tax return, or pouring over your medical records. However, practice humor when you can. 

Teach About Money

Tie your child’s allowance to your child’s chores. Say no to untoward purchases. Don’t rescue your child from spendthrift behavior. Give your child a share of stock and teach things like investing and reading financial statements. Your child will never be able to handle your finances if your child can’t handle his or her own.

Teach About Taxes

Show your child the grocery store receipt and your property tax bill. Take a dollar’s worth of pennies and separate the portion that goes annually to income taxes and payroll taxes. Talk about deficits, interest, borrowing, cutting expenses, and increasing revenue.  

Encourage Socialization

Put your child in peer-group situations. They will learn how to read social cues, experience relationship disappointment, cooperate, lead, follow, plan, handle bullies, help others, and contribute.

Give Responsibility 

Give your child responsibility with consequences. Your child is part of the family. Everyone does their share. Everyone shows appreciation to others who do their share.  

Tell Your Child About the Real World

Life is sometimes unfair, and people are sometimes bad. Your child should learn about war, theft, accidents, scams, murder, fraud, sickness, and death from you and not the Internet. Nothing is charming about a naïve adult.

Be Compassionate

Model compassion that stops well short of stupidity.

Hammerle Finley Law Firm is Here to Help with Adult Guardianship 

Our team may not be able to help you raise your child, but we can help with adult guardianship. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you every step of the way. Contact the experts at Hammerle Finley Law Firm today. 

None of this guarantees your child will grow up to be a compassionate, discerning, thoughtful adult who will joyfully serve as your agent. But it sure couldn’t hurt. 

Virginia Hammerle is an accredited estate planner and represents clients in estate planning, probate, guardianship, and contested litigation. She may be reached at legaltalktexas@hammerle.com. This blog contains general information only and does not constitute legal advice.