A myth behind youth entrepreneurship implies that your child will be ensnared in hours of tasks, taking away from his limited childhood. After all, he has time to learn the 8 to 5 role when he reaches adulthood and is forced to make his own way.

There’s more to youth entrepreneurship than your occasional lemonade stand that occupies little Jimmy’s time for a few weekend hours. Sure it’s adorable watching him craft his stand and signage and overly sweeten the lemonade that will make his customer’s thirstier than when they arrived. But for those few hours, he’s learning some very valuable lessons that he’ll take with him the rest of his life.

For most kids, having true ownership over something is rare. You may be teaching your kid about responsibility and financial management through delegating chores, but chores are a micro-managed activity. There’s not a whole lot of creativity in emptying a dishwasher, making a bed or folding the laundry and putting it away. They are tasks that are dictated on performance and time. Though chores are necessary and an excellent way to teach important skill sets, they are not activities that a kid has complete control over.

Part of what is so enticing about entrepreneurship is ownership and having that ownership over ideas, actions and the ability to make decisions. It’s about freedom to call the shots and build something out of nothing. Over 700,000 people each year in the US take a stab at starting a business, partly due to the desire to be one’s own boss. A sense of ownership doesn’t begin at age 18; it’s a powerful force than transcends all ages.

Think back to when you got your first business card and the feeling that came from it. For some, it’s a sense of accomplishment and a sign that you are creating a professional path for yourself. Think about what it can do for a kid who came upon an idea, acted on it and created something from it. He may not be bringing in a six figure income yet, but he did something significant all on his own.

There’s nothing like true ownership. It builds self-esteem and self-awareness. From that sense of ownership, mixed with youth entrepreneurship, we find other life-long benefits emerge. That lemonade stand teaches financial literacy, decision-making, strategic-planning, creativity, mathematics, innovation, communications, accountability, risk-taking, teamwork and delegation. All this from mixing up some sugar and lemons and sitting on the sidewalk waiting for passerby’s. What other activity will your child be doing that teaches all of these important skill sets?

The limited time your kid has to enjoy his childhood is undoubtedly valued; he likely won’t see this carefree time in his life until he retires. Yet, the bulk of his life will be spent making his way through the world, independently taking care of himself and his family. All of the lessons learned from his childhood will carry over into adulthood and help steer him towards who he will become. Most will become employees who will work for those who possess an entrepreneurial mindset and took a risk to start something new.

While as parents we don’t know with certainty who our kids will become, we do know what they will need to know to get ahead and be competitive. And that’s part of our job to teach them.

Author's Bio: 

Melissa Rose comes from multi-generations of entrepreneurs and started her first business 22 years ago while in college. She is the inventor of Biz in a Boxx, a patent-pending, experiential youth entrepreneurship product that teaches kids, starting at the age of seven, how to start and run their very own business. She lives in Arizona with her teenage daughter, who runs three businesses of her own.