Kay Wyma received a wake-up call one morning while driving her children to school. Her fourteen-year-old son started a conversation about luxury cars that demonstrated to her that somehow her lectures about the true happiness in life had not sunk in. Frustrated, Kay took a look at her home and her five children and realized that perhaps children learn better by doing than by hearing. A self-professed enabler, she decided to gradually transfer to her progeny the responsibilities she had never assigned to them. It was not just a matter of getting them to make their beds every day and keep their rooms clean, but an opportunity to teach them independence and a sense of self-worth through meaningful work.
Kay began a year-long “experiment” by which she introduced new chores to the children each month: managing their rooms, cooking, laundry, cleaning bathrooms and making small repairs around the house. While many parents may wonder how these kids got away with having no personal responsibilities for so long, many of their own friends were shocked at what Kay expected her children to undertake – and how well they rose to the occasion. Each of her children grew in their self-esteem and confidence as they realized just how much they could do for themselves.
Kay explains with great humor her battle with youth entitlement using anecdotes with which every mother will identify. Her belief that adults in today’s society have failed to equip children for the real world by doing everything for them and not allowing them to struggle permeates this book. In the face of protests, eye-rolling and attempted mutiny, Kay slowly overcomes the tendency to take the easy way out and do everything for her kids. In the process, her children have learned many skills for which they will undoubtedly be grateful as they move on to college and adult life. Even parents who have demanded effort from their children at home will find her writing style entertaining and may just discover an area where they too can raise the bar.
A former teacher, Jennifer Minicus is currently a full-time wife and mother living in Ridgewood, NJ.