University Park resident Kay Wyma decided she needed to curb her children’s “entitlement attitude” after her teenage son suggested that he would look good driving a Porsche when he turns 16 years old.
In an effort to help eliminate youth entitlement from her household, Wyma executed a yearlong experiment by making her children learn a variety of invaluable life skills, which she chronicles in her new book titled Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement.
Wyma’s book talks about how she decided to teach and make her children do 12 duties, ranging from cooking meals to doing laundry, by introducing one new set of responsibilities each month for a year in order to help her kids become better prepared for the future and reach their full potential.
At the end of the year, Wyma found that the experiment resulted in a lifestyle change for her family, which has significantly benefited her kids and helped remove the youth entitlement attitude that used to be a commonplace at her home.
“My children have more confidence, are quicker to try things that they think they couldn't do, and they are so much more independent,” Wyma said.
Wyma said today's children have garnered the reputation of "Generation Me" for reasons, such as "everybody gets an award for everything," which have fostered a sense of entitlement in many present-day young people. Parents today are working so hard to guarantee success for their children that they are actually "ill-equipping" them for the future by doing so many things for them, such as making sure they are on the "right teams" to even filling out their college applications, she said.
"True self esteem comes from learning and accomplishing things yourself," Wyma said. "My kids, they don’t have any idea what they can do. When you don’t ask them to do anything, that’s how much they think they can do — nothing."
Cleaning House highlights how the 12-month experiment helped Wyma's children, and the book addresses what the family learned, but Wyma said getting the process started was not easy. Wyma describes herself as a "recovering procrastinator" who found it challenging to implement the experiment. Also, her children were not too fond of the idea of having these new responsibilities at the beginning, though that is not necessarily the case anymore.
Wyma said that the whole experiment has helped make her children more "grounded," and they now feel a sense of accomplishment from just completing their responsibilities.
"The kid that wants to drive the Porsche — I haven’t heard him talk about a car in year or a year and a half," Wyma said.
Wyma's book is on sale in both hard copy and electronic versions and can be purchased here. You can also follow Wyma on her MOAT blog, which is featured on BubbleLife under the "Neighborhood Voices" section.