Many parents were encouraging their children to work early even though they are still in school. Is this a negative thing or does it teach youngsters the value of earning a living?
Recently, Bao Ngoc, 11, from Tuyen Quang City in the north of Vietnam, went on the game show Shark Tank.
She pitched an idea for an online food agency, chè bưởi (sweet soup made from grapefruit peel, coconut and sugar).
Despite her tender age, she received an investment of VND300 million (US$12,890) from two investors for a 30 per cent stake in the company.
The teeny businesswoman didn’t hide the desire to work with all four Sharks and the dream of becoming a successful and intelligent investor as Shark Linh.
Ngoc said she started her career at the age of seven with about 20 cups of chè bưởi mainly sold to friends and relatives.
She developed her business through Facebook and now sells around 100 cups a day, often waking up at 5am to prepare the dessert which originated from the south-west region.
Even though she worked with her mother, she was the boss, dealing with marketing, contacting suppliers and even cooking the soup herself.
Ngoc’s mother, Duong Thanh Thuy, said “Knowing how to manage finance will help my daughter plan more clearly for her future.”
At the game show, an investor told Ngoc that “I like your mother’s education method.
“Vietnamese kids often don’t like to live this way, which depends on parents’ help but you choose the independent way since childhood, which is very respectful.”
However, he advised both Ngoc and her parents that the youngster still has to make school her top priority.
Tran Van Anh, editor of the Kilala Culture and Lifestyle Handbook, agreed that children under 16 shouldn’t go to part-time work because at the age, they didn’t possess the knowledge and social skills to be able to protect themselves.
Parents should help children focus on learning and participating in extracurricular activities. This was the way to create practical experience for children.
On her Facebook page, a mother shared clips of her 15-year-old son playing violin at pedestrian street in Hanoi, saying that her son could earn money since he was a first-class pupil from this extra job. Most money he earned was donated to charity.
Parents should let children work part-time for their children’s independent-character growth and talents’ development.
In addition to helping children have job experience, the part-time work during school-age also helps students stay away from electronic games and smart-phones.
But many disagree.
Some successful parents argued that it was not necessary to encourage children to make money early.
“Let your child has a complete childhood, develops in the childhood sense. Don’t let your kids have to be busy, worry about practical thinking about money soon, that will affect the results of learning at school,” said Nguyen Viet Hung, 45, an official of Ha Noi Tax Department and father to two teenagers.
Hung definitely didn’t agree to his son, a first-year university student, working part-time at a restaurant.
Different from Hung, a mother living in HCM City, has contrasting opinions.
Le Khanh Tam, 47, works for a media company, said as a mother, she wanted her children to have an early experience in making money.
Most of the children, especially children in cities, were living in prosperity and fullness brought by their parents so they felt less stressed in life.
“I force my child to understand the value of money. It doesn’t come down from the sky, it originates from hard-work,” Tam said.
Under the agreement with mother, Tam’s 11-year-old girl took all her savings and her lucky money [money given to children during the Tet (lunar New Year) festival is believed to bring luck and wellness throughout the year] , to buy raw materials for making cakes by herself, and then sell on a school festival.
“My girl earns money from her hobby, we neither prohibit nor support. But the child must commit studying well. She knew that good knowledge is needed to prepare for her future path.”