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Freedom Of Choice

Don't force your kids to join the family business -- let them decide.

Expectation is a powerful repellent . . . especially in a family business. "If kids grow up thinking everyone expects them to join the business, they'll wind up resenting it," says Sheila Strauss, whose two daughters have joined her husband's family business as the fourth generation involved in The Strauss Insurance Agency in New York City. Still, the Strausses admit it was a wonderful feeling when the kids came to the business of their own free will. "I didn't feel the need to pass the baton when they weren't in the business," says Sheila's husband, Marvin, "but now I'm happy they're here to accept it."

How can parents be assured their children don't feel pressured but, at the same time, present a choice that's appealing and might eventually lead to a career in the family business?

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This article was originally published in the June 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Freedom Of Choice.

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