Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Cleaning House" by Kay Wills Wyma- book review

Have you ever looked around your house and realized, "Holy cow, my children do nothing around here"? Maybe it is just me. And Kay Wills Wyma. The difference is Kay did something about it, and I still have to remind kids to replace the empty roll of toilet paper. 
Kay's book, "Cleaning House", describes her yearlong experiment teaching her five children twelve different responsibilities in “Cleaning House”. While knowing these life skills are important, Kay was motivated by the sense of entitlement she saw in her kids. Like most kids, certainly my own, her kids seemed to think a magical fairy flew in and cleaned dirty dishes, picked up clothes, prepared meals and generally kept the house running. Instead of taking the easy route by continuing to enable this attitude, Kay tackled a different skill or habit each month for a year. Teaching her kids to clean up after themselves or prepare dinner (my personal nightmare) was not without an occasional bad attitude or complaint. However, Kay describes these experiences with humor and a realistic description of how most of us experience our children for good or bad. 

One thing that really hit home with me was Kay's description of how some of us tend to do everything for our kids because we can do it better, faster, easier. I can be quick to not enforce a chore because it will take me half the time (and half the hassle). Kay makes the point that by constantly stepping in, we are telling our children they are not capable. She gives an example of when she took over writing her daughter's English paper. When Kay's daughter Snopes brought home an A, she wasn't proud because she knew Kay did the bulk of the work. I'd never thought of it in that sense. I think my kids should do chores because they are part of the family and they need to learn how to do things for their own knowledge. However, I never looked at it as building their confidence. My kids are going to be very unhappy I read this book- it is motivating me to shift more responsibility onto their little shoulders.  I recommend this book to any parent who needs a laugh and some motivation to encourage their kid’s self-sufficiency. 

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

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