How Barbara Corcoran — who's worth millions and lives on Park Avenue with a maid — keeps her kids from acting spoiled
- Barbara Corcoran is a real-estate mogul and a star investor on the ABC series "Shark Tank."
- She's also the mother of two kids.
- She has two strategies for not spoiling those kids: model the value of hard work and treat everyone the same.
A lot of parents fear raising spoiled kids. That fear is especially salient if you're a multimillionaire and something of a celebrity — if you're, say, Barbara Corcoran.
Corcoran is a real-estate mogul and a star investor on the ABC series "Shark Tank." In 2001, she sold the company she started on her own — The Corcoran Group — for $66 million.
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Corcoran, 68 years old, has a son and a daughter. On an episode of Business Insider's podcast, "Success! How I Did It," she told US editor-in-chief Alyson Shontell how she's kept from spoiling them.
"With my children, I try to go out of my way to teach good values, and I think they're not spoiled kids — I hope to God you know, and all I know is I am doing the best I can — but where did they really learn those values? They stepped into my life, older in my life, when I had a lot of money. I had my first child at 46 and my second at 56 — they stepped into an affluent lifestyle."
Long before her days of fame and fortune, Corcoran grew up in Edgewater, New Jersey, one of 10 kids in a two-bedroom house with one bathroom. She said of her kids: "Where would they learn those struggle values? They don't see it among their friends."
So Corcoran deploys two specific tactics.
1. She models the value of hard work
"I try to demonstrate how hard I work for what I do," Corcoran said. "I'm working as hard now as I ever worked. OK? And I certainly am older than most people working this hard, OK?"
2. She treats everyone the same
"I tried to do my best by kindness to other people, always being even-handed to everyone," Corcoran said. "I don't care who they are. I treat everybody the same, and of course not to think they're more important than the next guy. That is such a terrible trait in people, and it can happen very easily when people do well and make a lot of money. Too easily, I'm afraid."
Corcoran isn't the only affluent parent trying not to raise kids who act entitled. As Business Insider reported, Rachel Sherman's "Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence" suggests that many rich parents both want their kids to see themselves as "normal" and to appreciate their advantages.
Most importantly, Sherman documented that many rich parents don't want their kids to act entitled — even if they are.
As for Corcoran, there have been moments when she's understood that making her kids feel "normal" is, well, hard. She told Shontell a story about her son, then 17, asking her permission to buy new shoes for school and coming home with $600 loafers.
Corcoran said she saw "that bag and I want to kill him. I'm, like, 'You didn't say you were shopping for those loafers — you said "loafers"! Do you know how old I was before I had that brand of loafer!'"
Her son responded: "Mom, if you want me to have your values, you could raise me in Edgewater with 10 kids. Rather than Park Avenue with the maid. And I thought, 'Sh--. That's kind of true.'"
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