The thing about raising kids is that you don’t know if you’ve done a good job or not until they’re 25-plus and living their own lives.
Before then we’re just playing a guessing game and hoping we are making the right choices for them.
That’s why it’s so fascinating to talk to parents of grown children who are independent and resilient and ask them about how they were raised.
Not only is Naomi Simson the founder of the mega-successful experiences website RedBalloon, she’s also a judge on TV show Shark Tank and an empty-nester, having raised two children who have now moved to Melbourne for universtiy.
When it comes to the question of how to raise independent children, she certainly has some amazing wisdom to share.
Simson says the key to raising children like hers is to just say “no” to everything they want you to do for them.
Obviously there’s more to it than that, but let’s start there.
RedBalloon founder Naomi Simson explains how she raised independent, resilient children.
She says she never focused on having happy children because happiness is merely one of the many states of human emotion.
“What I want is resilient children who are respectful, responsible and are on their own journey,” she told Holly Wainwright on Mamamia podcast I Don’t Know How She Does It.
“They know they will experience challenges. It’s how they pick themselves up that will make the difference and they will experience happiness but it’s not the end game. So my job is just to give them their value set and their work ethic so they can get a sense of accomplishment and achievement.”
“So, how did I support them in that? Pretty much by just saying “no” to everything they asked me to do for them.”
Simson left the corporate world to start her own business because she wanted more flexibility at the same time as working on her profesional life.
“Also while I love and adore my children, I think they’re really cute, and I did want to spend more time with them, it wasn’t the only thing I wanted to do. I just didn’t want to lose my sense of self.”
Naomi Simson started RedBalloon in 2001 and was CEO of the company until 2011.
Initially based at home, her two then-young children helped out by blowing up countless red balloons ready to be attached to the ‘experiences’ that would be sent out.
It must have been fun at first, having their mum at home every day but Simson says eventually as the business grew and took over their home they were more than ready for her to move the business out.