Author, Cleaning House (2012)
Creator of The Moat Blog – a blog for Mothers of Adolescents and Teens with weekly guest bloggers that discuss tween/teen related issues
Has worked at The White House, The Staubach Company, and Bank of America
Education: Holds bachelor's degree from Baylor Univ. and holds an MIM from the American Graduate School of Int'l Mgmt (Thunderbird)
Married to Jon
Five children ages 4-14
Rid Your Home of Youth Entitlement
The 700 Club
THE ATTITUDE OF ENTITLEMENT
For this new generation of young people, author and blogger Kay Wyma says the definition of the American dream is changing. Fifty years ago, people would be offended to think of the idea that other people “owed” them something or that others had to give them what they needed. They were more self-sufficient and worked for their needs and wants. Today there is an attitude of entitlement that is changing the country. A few months ago Time Magazine had an article that talked about the “me, me, me generation.” It is a generation of narcissism where people are consumed with themselves. As a result, the rate of depression is on the rise in our society. Kay says many parents are raising children that expect rewards without earning or working for them. Numerous parents today don't let their children try, fail, be resilient, problem solve, or have achievements on their own. With the best intentions and in the name of love, parents have developed a tendency to overprotect, enable, hover over, and arrange successful outcomes for their kids. Achievement becomes the priority and parents orchestrate ways to ensure success. Because of this, children won't have a true sense of self, know who they are, or realize what is truly important in life – to love God and serve others. Also, they won't be able to have healthy relationships or stand on their own in the world.
One morning in 2011, Kay was shocked to learn how she was raising her own children. She was driving her kids to school and her fourteen-year-old son was her last stop. On the way to his school, many of the other drivers on the road had luxury cars. Breaking the silence, Kay’s son perked up and asked her what car she thought he would look best in. Then he told her he decided a Porsche was the car he was going to get when he turned sixteen. Taken back, Kay asked who was going to pay for this car. He didn't answer. After she dropped him off at school, she called her sister-in-law to vent her frustrations about this incident. She found that her problem wasn't uncommon. What was more disheartening to Kay was learning that she was raising her kids against her belief system. She thought she was raising her children to be self-sufficient with godly values and found that she was raising her children to expect others to take care of them. She didn’t realize the message she was really sending her children and that she was saying one thing but teaching them another. Immediately, this prompted a change.
This realization caused Kay to redefine her approach to parenting. Instead of communicating to her children, “I love you, so let me make life easy for you,” she wanted her message to be, “I love you. I believe in you. I know what you’re capable of. So I’m going to make you work.” Kay decided her kids needed to learn about life and learn things that would be key to productive and independent living. Not long after that, Kay sat down and made a list of tasks her kids weren’t doing that she thought they needed to master before they left home. She made it a year-long “experiment” (which in ended early 2012) to make the children productive at their house. Each month Kay introduced a new job that she thought would help them reach their full potential. Kay’s children started with making beds. She gave financial incentives to keep them motivated. Kay says this was good for her kids because it also taught them how to manage money. By the time the year was over, Kay saw positive changes in her family.
THE NEW NORMAL
It has been almost two years since Kay’s experiment, however she says it is an ongoing effort. She originally did it to rid her children of youth entitlement, but it became so much more. The big lessons that came out of it were 1) less of self and 2) more of serving others. She gained a greater understanding of the value of meaningful work.
For parents who want to get their children off the path of youth entitlement, Kay says just to start. Let go of expectations and fears and just start with the message, “Yes, you can.” This is not “a system.” It is just living life in God’s truth, the way He intended. As God showed her practical ways to equip her children, God will show you. God gave these children to you, so you are the best parent for them and nobody can do it better than you. Kids want to be involved and belong. They need to learn that life comes through serving others. As it says in Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” We need to show our children the way and not do it for them. We need to let them grow into the people God created them to be. We are raising up mighty warriors! And we can change the culture one family at a time.
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