Do your kids think that clean, folded clothes magically appear in their drawers? Do they roll their eyes when you suggest they clean the bathroom? Do you think it's your job to pave their road to success? As parents, so often we hover, race in to save, and do everything we can for our kids--unintentionally reinforcing their belief that the world revolves around them.
When Kay Wyma realized that an attitude of entitlement had crept into her home, this mother of five got some attitude of her own. Cleaning House is her account of a year-long campaign to introduce her kids to basic life skills. From making beds to grocery shopping to refinishing a deck chair, the Wyma family experienced for themselves the ways meaningful work can transform self-absorption into earned self-confidence and concern for others.
With irresistible humor and refreshing insights, Kay candidly details the ups and downs of removing her own kids from the center of the universe. The changes that take place in her household will inspire you to launch your own campaign against youth entitlement. As Kay says, "Here's to seeing what can happen when we tell our kids, 'I believe in you, and I'm going to prove it by putting you to work.'"
- A great listen. Informative and entertaining!
I have listened to this book twice now and will keep it in my audiolibrary for future listens! Great storytelling, wonderful ideas and challenges, and great use of bible verses. Thanks for reminding me to teach my youngsters how to take care of themselves and be good citizens!
- Interesting View On Youth Entitlement
Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma is a fascinating book about modern day parenting, youth entitlement and ways to raise strong, independent children. It is presented in a journal style as Kay conducted her year-long experiment to remove the youth entitlement that was evident in her children’s lives.
She rightly points out that today’s parenting involves doing everything possible for your children and making sure they are happy at the expense of actually learning anything new. As part of the experiment the book is based on, she gets the children involved in chores around the house ranging from small chores like making beds and helping clean-up to large chores like preparing meals, doing washing and helping with handyman tasks where possible.
I found this book very interesting as I am no longer a teenager but not yet a parent, so I approached it more from the teenager’s opinion than the parent’s opinion. Initially my opinion of the book was quite sceptical in terms of using children to do meal preparation and handyman tasks but I can definitely see the benefits for both parents and children in this experiment. In the end children playing video games all day will not help them when they have to fend for themselves in the future.
The narration was very good once again. Tavia Gilbert is very good at making these books come to life and she adds a lot of expression to the audio.
This book is a great resource for parents with children or teenagers who believe that money grows on trees and that their mother is just there to serve them day and night. In a culture based around selfishness this book has a refreshing focus on helping others and in the process creating strong children.
This audio book was gifted as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. More information can be found about this and other Christian audio books at christianaudio.com.
- Excellent Information and Concepts!
I am not sure how many other people have noticed the problem of youth entitlement in kids these days, but I have. I don't like it. In fact, I saw it even before I had my own children and decided that I was not going to have spoiled rotten brats that took everything for granted. Some people might say, "Easier said than done," but in reality, it has not been impossible, it is just a lot of work. I believe this may be what parenting in the old days was like before sports and expensive activities took over family time. But, as I did not live in the old days, my parenting style is most definitely not mainstream.
So, when I first saw the opportunity to review this book, I was skeptical at first as most books by Christian authors tend to produce children that I honestly cannot stand to be around. I decided to give this book a chance and was pleasantly surprised that we agree on many things. Of course not everything, but we absolutely agree on the idea that people were created to work and not to be given handouts as a reward for their existence.
Cleaning House: A Mom's 12 Month Experiment To Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement, by Kay Wills Wyma is the perfect beginner book for parents that have realized that yes...they are in fact enabling youth entitlement in their home. This is also the perfect book for new fathers and mothers to teach their children that everyone must contribute something to keep the peace.
In her twelve months of experiments Kay tackles everything from keeping rooms clean and making meals, to home maintenance and running errands. Through the process she also shares how it is not just a struggle for her five children to learn time management (a life skill) and get their responsibilities taken care of, but also for her to let go, stop enabling and allow her children to prove they could do it both for her and for themselves.
What I loved about this book was all of the quotes from various articles, books, and specialists that seem to be ignored in our culture. They have been warning about the dangers of youth entitlement for decades, but are usually received with a deaf ear. We are now seeing the dangers as youth suicide is on the rise, petty theft is happening in younger and younger ages (because they "deserve" what someone else has worked for), and crime from children who are bored and have nothing better to do with their time.
What I was not comfortable with was that this book was written by someone with overly privileged children. Yes, I know that sort of family is more in need of this advice, but for parents like us that do not own a huge house (where every child has their own bedroom and bathroom) with a pool and every gadget known to mankind to entertain their children...it made me feel very small. Also, as their children both attend public schools and watch television (with commercials that say, "buy me!") it was hard for me to identify with the attitudes of her children. My children are not perfect, but they don't succumb to "normal" social pressure which I will elaborate on in an upcoming post.
Overall, I did like the concepts in the book. The narrator (as this was an audio book for me) did an excellent job in conveying the information and great voice inflection. I do encourage anyone who has been frustrated with their children thinking that everything must be done for them, or children who just do not appreciate anything to snap this book up and read it right away (or listen to the audio version)! After you read this book, do some heart searching and then implement a plan, your children will be able to truly handle life in the future in ways that no amount of sports or activities will be able to prepare them.
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- A fun read with lots of good insights and ideas.
Sensing that her five kids are descending into selfishness and complacency, Kay Wills Wyma decides to embark on a year-long “experiment” to rid her house of the youth entitlement attitude, chronicling the journey in Cleaning House. She tackles a different task each month from laundry to manners to serving others. Her kids, ranging in age from 3 to 14 even learn to shop, cook, and run errands. Along the way Wyma pontificates about the current state of society, the role of parents, and her own hang-ups and insecurities, sometimes stopping to throw in a dash of spiritual insight here and there.
Speaking of spiritual insight, scripture references are few and far between in Cleaning House, particularly during the first third of the book. There are probably less than a dozen mentions of God or Jesus throughout, with some of these mentions bordering on being trite. As a result, the spiritual aspect of the book feels a little tacked-on sometimes.
This is one of those books that ramp up as it goes along, however, and Wyma seems to hit her stride in the second half of the book. Highlights include her struggle with her husband to let their teenage son help with handy-man tasks when the husband just wants to do it himself, and having each kid plan and host a party so they learn hospitality.
Some of the stories of her kids wrestling with “the experiment” are downright hilarious, made even more so by the brilliant narration of Tavia Gilbert. Gilbert does different voices for each of the kids, making the discussions and arguments come alive. She also affects a southern drawl for some other characters who wander through the story. Charming and effective narration.
This book seems to be written primarily for women. Despite this, I really enjoyed it and learned a lot of principles I want to put into practice with my own three boys. Especially helpful were the practical tips and ideas submitted by readers of Wyma’s blog and others. I recommend this book for any parent who wants to raise their kids to be responsible, respectful adults. It could be a great weapon in your arsenal for the war against entitlement.
Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.
- Raising Independent Children
The author argues that it is our responsibility as parents to "parent our children as if they're inherently strong instead of inherently weak". She contends that by always stepping in and doing for our children, we are keeping them from reaching their full potential, and that raising independent children is counter-cultural these days. She also says that she rose to this challenge when she realized that by setting such a low bar of expectation from her own children, she was raising children with low self-esteem and an entitled attitude. So, she redefined her parenting style and saw amazing results in herself and her children.
Instead of sending her children the message of: "I love you so let me make life easy for you" her message should be: "I love you, I believe in you, I know what you're capable of, so I'm going to make you work."
This audiobook was expertly narrated and was enjoyable to listen to. Ms. Gilbert even manages to get the inflection of the whiny children down perfectly. At 8 hours long, this audiobook does take a chunk of time to listen to, but is so well worth it.
- Good Premise But Not as Practical as I Expected
I really appreciated the premise of this book. The truths in this book are needed in today's give me, help, me serve me attitude.
The author really hits the nail on the head and I really appreciate the authors no nonsense approach in her home. She wanted to teach her children how to work and build character in them and she meant business and would not back down.
Me, being a father and listening to this book helped me to realize that mothers are taking on way too much of the responsibility in the traing of their children.
I want to call husbands to be men and don't expect your wife to take on this duty of training your children alone. You should be leading out in this area and that is what convicted me in this book.
Over all I was able to take her good points and we will be making some changes in our home but I was hoping for a more step by step approach.
Thanks to the Christian audio reviewers program which made it possible for me to review this book but did not solicit a biased review of any sort.
- An Engaging Idea Filled Book!
Remember back when I had to walk to school, uphill both ways, with no shoes, in the snow and everyone said “Ma’am” and “Sir”, and not a single instance of back talking ever? I do. It was in my grandparent’s dreams.
All jokes aside, there is an issue with kids “these days” (Ugh! I’m not old enough to say that!) It’s called entitlement.
Maybe our parents, (I’m Gen X,) wanted to do for us better and more than their parents did for them and now we want to do more for our children than was done for us. It comes from love but even though our intentions are good and our efforts are made out of love we have somehow gotten off point. Our kids aren’t just more loved, but more sheltered; not just more cared for, but more spoiled.
Wyma’s moment of clarity came when her teen son wondered aloud whether or not he would have a Porsche or a BMW for his first car when he turned 16. Where would he get this car? From Mom and Dad of course. With no effort on his part, unless you count living 16 years. So Wyma decided to do something about this unrealistic sense of entitlement: she would put her children to work.
This isn’t a book about how we can utilize our children to get more chores done. This is a book about preparing her children for the real world, teaching them responsibility and self confidence based on reality: you are awesome because you do awesome things, not because “Mommy loves you!”
Wyma takes readers through 12 months of her life as she moved from basic skills like cleaning their room and picking up their clothes to ever more complicated tasks through getting a job. Her monthly goals were achievable, malleable enough to fit the age of each of her children (4-14) and just hard enough to inspire a true sense of accomplishment when the child completed the task.
The end result? Confidence based on real achievements, self respect and respect for others, creativity unleashed, and a family bonded tighter than ever. This book was so inspiring that I’ve chosen to adapt several of the steps to my own system of reward/punishment at my home (which was similar to some of the systems shown in the book, where there are stars given for completed tasks and stars removed for incomplete tasks, then a tally is done at the end of the month which determines cash payout.)
The only down side to listening to the book, available at Christian Audio .com, is that I found that I really wanted to make notes and refer back to them. This is a book about planning and doing, which may not fit well with the audio book format. If you aren’t a big reader, or you listen to books in the car then this one is well read and a good choice. But all things even, the paperback is the way to go in my opinion.
A great idea book, written in an engaging way, this book is highly recommended.
This audio book was provided by the publisher, Christian Audio .Com, as a review copy.
- great content, superb audio
Can your child handle life? Honestly? Do you give up authority to your child? Do you hover or overpraise? Coddle? Is it possible that making your kid's life easier now stunts their maturity growth? Kay Wills Wyma explores these questions, and more, in her one-year experiment on removing the entitlement disease from her offspring.
Entitlement is surely a disease. After all, it is not in G-d's plan for us, and destroys us, leading us down a path of prideful sin. We believe that we deserve everything, and should work for nothing. Where does this come from? My my RealMarriage series, a study off the "Real Marriage" book by Mark & Grace Driscoll, this selfishness gene seems to sprout from childhood, when we coddle them the most. And Wyma seems to agree with this.
It is counter culture, but we need to change. We need to treat our children as if they are inherently strong, not inherently weak. We need to believe in them, and not constantly be there to catch them. Essentially, we need to challenge them to grow up. When we do, they will. When we fail, the won't. It's really that simple.
Gilbert's narration is on par with her voice talent. It's a great listen, as she always provides. Speaking with a medium-fast pace, she performs with excellent intonation and clearly understood dictation. Gilbert delivers dialect and accent change based off the characters (mom, son, etc.), to make the listener engaged. I recommend this audiobook based off her talent alone.
While content is fours stars, the narration is superb. This audiobook is recommended for parents of all ages, including dads.
christianaudio commissioned this review. Read this review and more like it at scriptedgenius.com.