Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jay-Z and 3 other highly successful people share their best parenting advice

Thirteen things mentally strong parents don't do

Warren Buffett, Jay-Z, Bill Gates, Michelle Obama, Maye Musk and DJ Khaled have each had great individual success in influencing the world's business, health, music and tech industries.

Another aspect of life that they all share is parenthood. Here's how these influential individuals have shared their values and empowered their own children over the years.

Warren Buffett

Peter Buffett, Warren Buffett, and Susie Buffett attend 'Becoming Warren Buffett' World Premiere at The Museum of Modern Art on January 19, 2017 in New York City. (
Jamie McCarthy | Getty Images

Warren Buffett, who has three children, shared with Forbes in 2013 how important it is to encourage children to do what they want to do.

"We never gave any instructions on specifics, but I think they did pick up the values that were meaningful to their mother and to myself," Buffett said.

The business magnate noted that one of the things he is most grateful to his father for was his unrelenting support for whatever he wanted to do.

"He was not trying to live his life through me. I tried to pass that on to my children," Buffett said and he did.

Love is the greatest advantage a parent can give.
Warren Buffett
CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Peter Buffett, his son, echoed this mindset in a Reuters interview for his book "Life is What You Make it: Finding Your Own Path to Fulfillment."

"I am my own person and I know what I have accomplished in my life," Buffett's son told Reuters.

"Economic prosperity may come and go," Peter noted in his book. "But values are the steady currency that earn us the all-important rewards."

Many people were shocked when Buffett disclosed to Fortune Magazine in 1986 that he planned to leave much of his wealth to the Buffett Foundation instead of to his children. But that's when he expressed the faith he had in his children and how he raised them.

''My kids are going to carve out their own place in this world, and they know I'm for them whatever they want to do," he said.

At the time of the interview, Buffett agreed with a psychoanalyst that worked with the children of wealthy families when he said, "Pay attention to your kids, spend some time with your kids, love your kids."

Buffett's response: ''Love is the greatest advantage a parent can give.''


Blue Ivy Carter, recording artists Jay Z and Beyonce speak onstage during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards.
MTV via Getty Images

Business mogul and hip-hop artist Jay-Z may have a net worth valued at $810 million today, but he refuses to let his success obscure the story of his humble beginnings for his children.

"The most important thing I think out of all this is to teach compassion and to identify with everyone's struggle and to know these people made these sacrifices for us to be where we are and to push that forward — for us," Jay-Z said in an article published ahead of his cover story in New York Times Style.

Jay-Z told Baquet "there is a delicate balance" to making make sure his kids understand where he came from.

For over 20 years, well before he released his first album at age 26, Jay-Z has used his lyrics to illustrate the beauty and challenges of growing up in Brooklyn and public housing in the 1970s.

"You have to educate your children on the world as it exists today and how it got to that space, but my child doesn't need the same tools that I needed growing up," Jay-Z said.

In teaching his kids compassion, Jay-Z wants them to learn to "treat people as they are, no matter who they are, no matter where they sit in the world."

Michelle Obama

Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, mother-in-law Marian Robinson, first lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama attend the national Christmas tree lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House December 3, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Olivier Douliery | Getty Images

Since she was 3 years old, the former First Lady says she was allowed to speak her mind at home because her parents understood that teaching children at a young age that their voice was valuable and important, she said at the Obama Foundation Summit earlier this month.

"I think that's something that a lot of people take for granted. They think that having a voice just happens," Obama said. "In order to know how to use [your voice] and how to use it carefully and how to debate, you've got to find it."

My mother always said she was raising adults, she wasn't raising children.
Michelle Obama
Former First Lady of the United States

She noted that she didn't live in a home where kids were taught to be seen and not heard. Instead, her parents taught her to share her opinion and asked her and her brother for input about things that involved the family and their life.

"We knew about money and paying bills, we knew about issues of the family. It had to be respectful, but the notion that a 5-year-old wouldn't have feelings about how their life went was not something that my parents believed in," Obama said.

"My mother always said she was raising adults, she wasn't raising children," she added. "So she spoke to us as people, because that's what you needed to practice."

As a result, Obama and her husband former president Barack Obama have long taught their two daughters Sasha and Malia that they have a responsibility to shape the world around them.

"Part of what we try to communicate is that being responsible is an enormous privilege," Barack Obama said earlier this year, adding that owning that responsibility is what marks them or anyone a "fully grown human."

Obama also said that knowing her parents always valued her decisions boosted her confidence.

"I always knew that I had a defender, I had an advocate which made me ready to use my voice," she said.

DJ Khaled

DJ Khaled, his wife and son visit the New York Stock Exchange opening bell.
Mike Coppola | Getty Images

American record producer and entrepreneur Khaled Mohamed Khaled, professionally recognized as DJ Khaled, is known for broadcasting positive messages, especially on social media.

With a net worth valued at $15 million, as reported by Forbes in 2016, Khaled has found success as an author, restaurateur, CEO of We the Best Music and advocate for higher education, among other ventures.

Notably, he has his parents to thank for his business savvy.


"My parents raised me to be a hardworking person," Khaled tells NBCBLK's Alex Titus. "They had so much going on all at once and were still able to maintain a great household. That rubbed off on me and that's why I'm able to juggle all of these different things going at the same time."

Today, Khaled has an 8-month-old son who he says he wants to raise the same way his parents raised him: in the middle of the family business, he shares in a June segment of CNBC's Squawk on the Street.

"His father is the definition of drive, and my father was the same way," Khaled tells Newsweek, referring to himself in the third person. "I want to give my son all the joy and happiness and anything he wants, and I'm also gonna show him the hard work you have to do to get these things."

Bill Gates

Phoebe Adele Gates, Bill Gates, and Melinda Gates attend the Goalkeepers 2017, at Jazz at Lincoln Center on September 20, 2017 in New York City.
Jamie McCarthy | Getty Images

Though Bill Gates, father of three, has found much success as a tech mogul turned philanthropist, it was the encouragement from his parents to try different opportunities as a kid — like trying different sports such as swimming, football and soccer — that ultimately led him to his passion for computers and software.

"At the time I thought it was kind of pointless, but it ended up really exposing me to leadership opportunities and showing me that I wasn't good at a lot of things, instead of sticking to things that I was comfortable with," Gates told Fortune in 2009. "It was fantastic, and now some of those activities I cherish."

When it came time to take on more professional conversations as a young entrepreneur, Gates said he felt "equipped" while "dealing with adults" because his parents had shared with him how they thought about things.

"I think family traditions that get you to come together and talk about what you're up to — going on trips together, always sitting at dinner and sharing thoughts — really made a huge difference," Gates said.

Earlier this year, Melinda Gates told Time Magazine that when raising a feminist son, she often thinks back to how her own parents taught her that she could do anything her brothers could.

"Bill and I had always known that, like our own parents, we would raise our children to believe they could do anything without their gender limiting their options," Melinda said. "We also decided over time that, for the sake of our son as well as our daughters, we were going to be a family that readily talks about gender equality at the dinner table."

Maye Musk

At 69, Maye Musk is a model, nutritionist and full-time fan of her three entrepreneurial kids Elon, Kimbal and Tosca Musk. While Elon works on launching rockets and digging urban tunnel systems, Kimbal is pioneering a sustainable food movement and Tosca is making moves in the film industry with her upcoming launch of PassionFlix, the Netflix for romance movies.

The Musk siblings have their mom to thank for teaching them at a young age the importance of creating your own opportunities.

When they were young, modeling was a side gig for Maye, a single mother who raised her kids with help from her twin sister Kaye, reports Emily Jane Fox for Vanity Fair in 2015.

"They grow up knowing you work hard, and the harder you work, the better you do and the luckier you get," Maye told Vanity Fair in 2015. "They also had to be responsible for themselves, because they had to help me."

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This is an updated version of a story that appeared previously.