Cleaning House

Kara Swanson

4.5 Stars

August 10, 2012

Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma is a must-read for all parents! Subtitled "A mom's twelve-month experiment to rid her home of youth entitlement," this book takes the reader through a mother's efforts to teach her four children children basic life skills like how to do laundry, make a bed and clean a house.

I was intrigued by this book because I see this sense of youth entitlement everywhere. I see it in my own kids, even though they're still young. And I've seen it at the college level where I used to teach and work with parents and alumni. This sense of entitlement and self-absorption seems to grow along with the child. At age five, they think they're entitled to a new toy and then by age twenty-two, they feel entitled to a great, high-paying job just because of who they are.

As a parent myself, it's so easy for me to just do something, like make my kids' beds, because I can do it faster and more efficiently than they can. But in the long run, it's the child who really loses out. They develop a sense of entitlement and they don't learn the most basic skills necessary to care for themselves. Wyma's objective is to help the child see that they're not the center of the universe, but that they are an integral part of the family unit. That family unit needs to work together to achieve common goals.

This reminds me of a study I read recently somewhere. I wish I could remember where because it really gave me a lot of food for thought. Adults who reported the happiest childhoods were more likely to have chores at home. When children are given responsibilities, they develop better self-confidence and feel important. Wyma illustrates these principles over and over again. Her writing style is conversational and entertaining and her stories are often hilarious.

I highly recommend this book to all parents and look forward to implementing many of her ideas in my own family.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Multnomah Press book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.