Okay, I realize I could have worded that title differently. But give me a break…it’s hard to think of a catchy, attention grabbing title every week. So yes, you should let your kids sell themselves and by that I mean letting them sell the cookies, and popcorn, and candy, and all that jazz that parents know oh so well.
My 6-year old niece recently sold Girl Scout cookies for the first time. My sister-in-law posted this to Facebook, so I knew that Izzy was selling the crack known as thin mints. But my 6-year old niece also got an Ipod touch for Christmas. Texting with a 6-year old is an adventure of itself and a blog post for another time, yet I digress. My thoughts were “if you can send me a smiling pile of poo emoji, then you can text or call me to ask me to buy cookies.” Well, she did.
Oddly enough, during this same time, I met someone at a networking event who works for Girl Scout corporate. I related the above story to her and she completely agreed. She said that parents who sell for their children are defeating the goals of the program. We’ve all been there, at a work meeting or lunch and a colleague whips out the order form for whatever idem du jour their child is selling.
Per the Girl Scouts, the cookie sale program is part of their larger financial empowerment program and is designed to help girls learn 5 skills: goal setting, decision-making, money management, communication skills, and business ethics. Here are some reasons why your children benefit from selling items themselves.
It helps children with setting and working towards goals. Each Girl Scout has to set a target for sales and track their progress. Of course, you will help your child, such as driving them around to sell. Yet, selling for them means that you, and not your child, are the ones working towards their sale goals.
It helps children learn to reach out and ask for what they need. In this case, it is someone purchasing something. But this relates to all areas. People, particularly women, are notoriously bad at asking for what they need, whether it be a listening ear, dinner cooked, or a business connection. This can be uncomfortable and children can use this opportunity to face this fear.
When asking others, it is helpful to be friendly and polite and to show gratitude. I am sure that you are not going to argue that these are qualities that you want to nurture in your child.
It teaches them that it is hard work to make money, which prompts them to think about how they spend money.
It also helps children learn to deal with frustration, disappointment, and rejection when they are turned down for a sale.
And when someone tells them “no,” they have to carry on, which teaches them resilience and perseverance.
By selling for your children, rather than just helping them, you are taking away the opportunity for them to learn these lessons. (Unless of course you are Chris Rock and can help your girl’s Girl Scout troup sell over $65,000 worth of cookies during the Oscars. In that case, by all means, sell to Leo, and Christian, and Kate, and…)