Problem:  Our family usually does well working with each other.   Of course, there is the occasional disagreement between parents and children where situations in the business result in an impasse where cooperation becomes impossible.

Solution:  Family business cooperation and discipline are really no different than in any family.   Warning: Do not in any situation strike another person or blame the other parent for a mistake even though it may be apparent that they are responsible.

Hitting anyone or blaming the other parent

For anything that goes wrong

Results in family discord and potential destruction.

Business or no business.  Creating cooperation and happiness are essentially the same in both types of families.  The parents must help the child be secure and confident that they can do what is necessary to be a cherished family member.

Admitting your own mistakes

To the child is the best example

A parent can make.

Be sure to apologize and repair the mistake

Make sure the child accepts the apology, so they have an example and learn to do the same.  In that way, when a parent feels the child has made a mistake, it can ask the child if they are aware that something else could be more helpful.

The key here is

Getting through to the child

Not just apologizing

Yes, there are differences in business families.  The skills children must learn to contribute to the business can be more extensive and demanding.  But the parental skill of showing the child how to respond correctly is no different.  And the responsibility of the parent to ask the child to show they are capable is the same.

Do not just tell

Show and tell

Just like the school exercise is called

It also helps to remind a child that what they just performed was well done.  And thank them for their continued performance.  The retelling is what builds the child’s confidence.  But the parent must still check occasionally by asking the child if they are aware that they did well.  And ask until the child says: “stop asking that.”  When the child can correct the parent, the child shows their confidence is in place.

Have Questions?

Resolving many such complicated issues requires experienced professionals with extended experience working with family businesses.

If you have questions or would like to follow up and learn more, get in touch.


One thing is different in business families:  pay for the child’s work should be appropriate to the work performed, not just an allowance.   And it is important that the parents help the child to open a personal account at their bank and discuss the need for saving.

Opening the account could be a good time to discuss the possibility of going to college and who is responsible for paying for it.  Parents are usually still responsible for college expenses.  But the business may require some additional discussion of going away or remaining in the hometown for the school choice.  Making that decision is beyond the scope of this article.

Discussing the uses of the money in the child’s bank account should be accomplished.  Does the child feel they are been paid enough for their work?   What might they use their money for and what will the parent be responsible for in addition to their wages.  Will the child wish to move out of the family home, the need/desire for a car and other issues of not living with the family are all questions that will come up and should be agreed on.

Cooperation and belonging to the family are issues that need to be discussed at every stage of a family’s life.