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Parenting Entrepreneurial Kids: Nancy O’Neill Shows the Key to Success Is Support

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If you're a mom like me, one of your biggest dreams is to raise responsible children who are happy, healthy, and contribute to society in ways that fulfill them and help others.

Nancy O'Neill is one such mom. But, you can't tell her story without first telling her son's.

You see, Nancy's son Jason is a motivated teenager who has had his own business for the past six years and who has, as part of his business and influence, helped get contributions for and then donated over 2,600 teddy bears to his local children's hospital. Nancy makes a difference for others simply by supporting and helping his efforts.

Jason got his entrepreneurial start because of his mom.

In 2005, at age 9, Jason had an idea to help his mom make a product for a craft fair, thinking that she would split the money she made with him. Instead, she suggested he come up with his own product to sell. So, he created Pencil Bugs, something that he hoped would make homework fun for kids. They created and sold the product and later added Pencil Bug t-shirts and greeting cards. In 2010, Jason's book Bitten by the Business Bug: Common Sense Tips for Business and Life from a Teen Entrepreneur was published.

As his business grew, Jason donated to local charities that helped kids, like HUGS Foster Family Agency in California. In 2008, he heard about Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, and used his own money to buy toys, games, books, etc. and put together gift and activity bags for the kids in the hospital. At Christmas time, for three years, he has also held a social media fundraiser to buy teddy bears for the hospitalized kids. And none of this would be possible without his mom.

Nancy, when asked what her attitude has been as she's helped Jason with the Pencil Bugs and the fundraiser, replies, "I'd rather do things for other people than to do my own projects, so I enjoy helping him do what he can so he can help other kids. I was raised not to give up so that's what we've tried to teach Jason. In reality though, he hasn't had that many challenges, or at least not difficult ones, so we've been very fortunate. I guess the hardest challenge is just helping him get through these teenage years which can be tough in themselves."

And when asked what tips she would offer other parents endeavoring to raise responsible, motivated, or charitable kids, she offers this wisdom:

There will be days when you wonder what they're thinking, why they don't see what you see, why they aren't doing more or something else. The answer to all those questions is that they are first and foremost just a normal kid and sometimes will have the same struggles and problems that any other kid has. Sometimes parents of entrepreneurial kids tend to forget these basics.

It's easy to see them more as a grown-up because of what they're doing or situations they're in. But again, just remember to let them have their childhood, because they will have lots of years to be an adult with all the responsibilities that go along with that. And if you teach them the right things, it will all fall into place and their entrepreneurial and charitable spirit will continue for years to come.

Sometimes, as Nancy and Jason show, the best way we as mothers can effect change in the world around us is to encourage the efforts of those closest to us, including our own children.

How do you keep your children motivated? What ways do you offer encouragement to help gain self confidence?

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