Kay Wyma, author, blogger, and mom of 5, spoke last month to a group of Fairhill School parents about curbing entitlement in our children while building up their confidence. While this attitude doesn’t apply to all families, judging by the turnout, it certainly appealed to a significant number of our Fairhill families.
A good portion of the presentation was spent reviewing examples of how youth entitlement has become part of our culture and may be keeping our children from functioning successfully in adult life. Ms. Wyma believes that by giving children developmentally appropriate responsibilities, they experience success. They become more confident as people because they have additional checks in the “Can Do” category. She also believes that by having our children complete tasks that keep family life moving smoothly (cooking, laundry, taking out the trash, etc.), they learn the importance and reward of serving others (even if it is a sibling). Isn’t this what parents want for their children – to become functional adults with good hearts?
As a mom of three teens, I realize that I gave my kids a pass from family chores because my husband and I thought the kids had too many demands on their time or because they were working so hard in school. Then when we asked/required them to help out, we were met with groans and complaints. After all, my husband and I had been serving them all this time.
So here’s what I took away from the presentation:
- Kids CAN help. Remember your youth? Can you imagine your parents thinking your sports schedule or social schedule was more important that your Saturday chores?
- Parents need to allow their kids to help – for the parents’ sake AND for the kids’. Sharing the load is supposed to be part of being a family. Aren’t we trying to help children develop their wings? Home is a great training ground. Let the kids help.
- It’s more about the process than the result. So your child doesn’t fold the towels perfectly? If he’s giving it a decent try, relax. In time his skills and attention to detail will probably improve. If you demand your definition of perfection, you will probably be left doing everything yourself AND leaving the impression with your child that he CAN’T do it.
- Assume kids are going to grumble. So be it. Keep your eye focused on helping them develop into fully capable adults.
Ms. Wyma’s book, Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement has inspired a group of Fairhill School parents to meet and take on the challenge of getting their families on board. This group had its first meeting this week and will continue to have monthly meetings throughout 2016. Email email@example.com if you would like any additional information.
Contributed by Lori Hamilton, Fairhill Staff