COUNT DOWN TO A HAPPIER FAMILY: 10 STRATEGIES TO TACKLE ENTITLEMENT AT HOME IN 2013
Kay Wyma, ‘Recovering Enabler’ Now the Author of ‘Cleaning House,’ Shares Top Tips for Teaching Kids How Capable They Can Be
DALLAS – Dec. 20, 2012 – A Dallas mother of five kids who worked in the White House and earned an MBA in international finance has tackled a really tough task—pushing back against the “entitlement mentality” she helped to develop in her children. In its place, Kay Wills Wyma instills competence and confidence born from helping them develop the skills and traits needed to launch from home successfully.
In her book Cleaning House A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement Kay details her yearlong effort to help her kids learn the joy of accomplishment and capability. Following are 10 strategies for parents resolving that 2013 will be the “Year Entitlement Ended” in their homes.
10. Be honest . . . with yourself and with your kids. The first step to change is admitting, “I have a problem.” Welcome to Enablers Anonymous. It might not be pretty, but we’ve all driven here on the road paved with good intentions.
9. Have a family meeting. Announce the plan and involve the participants. If everyone owns it, the seeds sprout and grow.
8. Gather like-minded friends. It’s lonely doing anything seemingly alone, especially when swimming upstream. So grab some friends and do it together.
7. Keep your eyes on the goal by looking back. George Washington at 16 was surveying Culpepper County, Va. – without his parents!; at age 12, Blaise Pascal worked out the first 23 propositions of Euclid by himself; at age 15 Louis Braille invented the Braille system; at age 14 my friend Jackie worked at her local dry cleaner—responsible for daily deposits and closing up the store. The point is . . . kids are more than capable.
6. Set the bar high. Kids, like all of us, thrive on high expectations. Seriously, who likes to work for someone who takes your stuff and does it over or steps in and completes it for you? Our kids don’t like it either.
5. Think teflon. Don’t be fooled by the whines; let the "noooooo" and "why me?!" barrage hit and slide right off. Those kids are only feigning disdain. They actually crave feeling useful and needed.
4. Pack any baggage and park it outside—forever. Whatever fears buckle a parent’s knees (“my kid will be left out,” “their feelings will be hurt,” “they will never get into college,” “they will fail if I don’t – or pay someone to – do it for them”) can and should be disregarded. Kids can do so much more than we or they think. Teach them how to do a task. Train them by getting out of the way. Then watch mountains formerly seen as obstacles morph into opportunities.
3. Welcome and keep your hands off a kid’s failure. There are few prouder moments than witnessing your child fall, get up, fall, get up, stay up and capitalize on newfound strength, determination and real self-esteem.
2. Learn to use and mean the words, “I’m happy for you.” Despite our best efforts to make it a competition, parenting isn’t about one-upping each other. It’s about loving our kids and celebrating their unique gifts and talents. It’s OK to celebrate our friends’ talents and teach our kids to do the same. More than OK . . . dare we admit, liberating.
1. Get ready to catch yourself saying: “Who knew?!” “Who knew my kids could do so much?” “Who knew they could serve their sibling?” (I mean how else can you describe a boy folding his sister’s underwear, or a girl cleaning her brother’s bathroom!) “Who knew they could be so happy?” “Who knew gaming, texting and social media could take a back seat?” “Who knew they just wanted someone to believe in them . . . and that family responsibilities were just the ticket?”
About Kay Wills Wyma
Author Kay Wills Wyma has five kids and one SUV with a lot of carpool miles. Before she transitioned to stay-at-home mom, she earned an MBA, worked at the White House and worked in international finance. Happily married to Jon, this recovering enabler is committed to equipping the next generation to achieve great things in the future by piling on the responsibility today. Kay enjoys inspiring other parents of adolescents and teens through her blog TheMoatBlog.com.
To learn more, visit: WaterBrookMultnomah.com