In homes across America, youth entitlement is on the rise. Parents, don’t lose hope! There is something you can do to help.
Mother of five Kay Wills Wyma set out on a yearlong experiment to rid her home of youth entitlement. She shares how learning her children’s differences helped her become a better parent, and helped her children become more responsible young adults.
“When I started out, the whole thing it was like, ‘This is the way we’re doing it; it’s a make or break deal.’ As I started adding on the tasks, I started to realize that they couldn’t do it all at the same time. Then I started to realize some of them are actually really gifted in certain areas, so why not even teach them that our house works as team? Which was an enormous part of the entire process.”
Kay was beginning to realize that taking a biblical approach to this experiment would produce even greater results. She refers to Matthew 22:39.
“On the other side of almost every task that is occurring in your house is someone receiving it. Involved in all of that is the beauty of the greatest commandment: to love others. When we’re even doing the laundry it was like, ‘Put your brother’s socks away the way he wants it put away because you’re serving him and it gets your eyes off yourself.’”
Aside from chores at home, there may be other areas of your child’s life where they aren’t quite ready to take on the full responsibility. As parents, it’s important to use discernment and be available to guide our kids along in the process. Kay shares a helpful example –
“On things like college applications, there’s so much heat involved in that. I learned that the hard way with our oldest. At first I was like, ‘You do the whole thing yourself,’ and then I watched him starting to tank. I realized there’s something involved in that that’s not speaking truth to him.”
“Every box, he had to check on what he accomplished or didn’t accomplish and it wasn’t doing anything good for him, it was showing him all the things he hadn’t done. I really was sitting there going, he needs me walk alongside him on this because the message he’s receiving is not true.”
Kay’s son needed her loving guidance and encouragement in this area, but this was not the case for her daughter.
“For my daughter, she wanted nothing to do with me regarding that. I had no idea when she turned in anything. I have one kid that if I put her at the head of a corporation she could easily run it, then I have others that are very artsy and happy to have things done for them.”
“A lot of it goes into knowing your child and figuring out what the best way to love them is. On the other side of this, you want individual human beings that are capable to productively live life with their eyes on others and on the Lord.”
Youth entitlement doesn’t have to rule our homes any longer. We can guide our children in the right direction by showing them our love and helping them discover their God-given capabilities.
Kay Wills Wyma is a blogger, mother of five, author and vodcaster. She is author of several books including I'm Happy for You (Sort Of.Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison and Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement.