Dismayed by Our "Entitled Society"? Why This Mom Stopped Blaming the Government.


My kids are good kids.  Smart kids.  Capable kids.  Yet I have been treating them like little entitled princes without realizing it.

Until recently, I have had to beg them to make their own beds.  I had to scream at them to pick up their toys.  I would find their dirty socks under the couch and their legos in the corners of their rooms.  I would tell them over and over again to pick up their dishes and put away their school stuff.  They didn't help in the kitchen unless we are making cookies.  I would beg them to feed the dog and they would forget and the dog would starve. They would see a cheap toy in the store and I would go ahead and buy it for them that moment. But all along  I thought I was being such a great parent.  Does this sound anything like your life?

So I watch the news and there are all of these arguments/discussions about our new entitlement society where people don't want to work yet want to receive free stuff.  I looked at my husband and said "You know, that is our boys!".  And it suddenly hit me; the President/government are not creating these lazy, entitled adults.  The government is not raising our kids; we are, and how they turn out as adults has everything to do with how we raise them as children.

What really convinced me to change my parenting method was a simple trip to Barnes and Noble where I found this amazing book: Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement.  This is probably one of the best parenting book I have ever read and I finished it in one evening.

Quoted from the book:  "Do your kids expect clean folded clothes to magically appear in their drawers?  Do they roll their eyes when you suggest they clean the bathroom?  By racing in to make their lives easy, have you unintentionally reinforced your children's belief that the world  revolves around them?  Dismayed at the attitude of entitlement that had crept into her home, Kay Wyma got some attitude of her own."  I answered yes to all of those questions and I decided to get some of my own attitude.



You have to read this book because Kay has so many great ideas to get your kids off their lazy rear ends and learn basic life skills and the ways "meaningful work can increase earned self-confidence and concern for others".  I think Jillian Michaels says something in 30 Day Shred about we can do so much more than we think we are capable of doing.  And our kids are so much more capable than many of us probably realize.  We just have to be patient and teach them.

Kay mentioned this idea of putting thirty $1 bills in a jar for each child at the beginning of each month.  To keep the money, the kids have to do daily chores.  If they don't do their daily chores you take a dollar out at the end of the day.  For some reasons people generally work harder to keep their money than to earn it (I didn't know this but found it true with my boys).

To keep their daily dollar my boys must make their beds before breakfast and clean their rooms and the common areas of their toys/books/projects before going to bed.  They must also put away all of their own laundry after helping me sort and wash it.  They must take care of the dog and cat.  And now that I know what they are capable of doing, I will gradually add more daily chores each month.

Kay suggests giving the earned money to the kids for spending money, but I worked out something even better for our family.  They have to take 10% off the top to save for their favorite charity (they will pick one every six months).  The rest is divided in half; with one half going to their savings account for college/car and the other half for spending on things they want now (toys, ice cream, mini golf, books, etc.).  So at minimum $3/month to charity, $13.50/month to savings and $13.50/month for spending money.

Birthday and Christmas money is thrown in the jar that month and divided along with the rest.  And they can earn extra dollars if they want.  Weeding, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming the stairs, etc. can earn them a dollar or two which is thrown in the jar.  Bored, just ask mom for a chore to earn some extra money!  And the boys are learning those dollars can really add up.

When we started this experiment I found out that Imp (who is 5) can in record time clean three toilets until they are spotless.  Duke and Imp can vacuum all of the rugs/carpeting.  Duke can sort and wash/dry laundry.  Imp can scramble all of the eggs for breakfast and add just enough salt/pepper/spices to make them delicious.  Duke can make our afternoon Keurig coffee and add just the proper amount of cream.  Imp can help make muffins and put all of the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher. Duke can vacuum the two flights of stairs and steam mop the bathroom floors.  Both Imp and Duke can help Daddy fix things around the house and do yard work.  Who knew?

I get so busy with being a mom, homeschooler, and working at home that my housework/yard work really suffers.  I even called a few maid and lawn services and received quotes for bimonthly house and yard cleaning.  But when I calculated the yearly cost I went into sticker shock and reminded myself my mother would never have hired a maid or lawn men.  Why?  Because she had us!

Suddenly with excitement I realized I could pay my kids to help me keep the house spotless and the yard beautiful for a fraction of the cost of a paid service.  It is frustrating at first because I had to be patient and teach them the proper techniques, but once they learn they do a great job and are also at the same time learning basic life skills.  I don't want to raise future men who don't know how to cook, clean, do yard work, or fix basic household things.  After all, they might very well marry an entitled young woman who can't take care of herself, let alone them (and their future kids).  ;-)

I was second-guessing myself about the money part of this since I think kids should do daily chores and not expect to get paid.  But once I realized how hard kids will work to keep their money and earn more, I realized raising my own little capitalists who work hard, know how to save, AND donate money to charities is not all bad.  I would probably spend the money on them otherwise, but this way they learn the importance of saving and I have already seen them think twice about purchasing junk when they have to use their own money.

So back to my initial point.  If my kids grow up as entitled adults, it is not the government's fault.  No, the blame lies on my husband and me.  I want my kids to grow up to be hard-working, caring individuals who will hopefully take care of themselves and also help those in need.  And if my house and yard are cleaner and my husband and I are happier, then so be it!

Happy New Year!!!

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44 Comments:

Donna December 31, 2012 at 6:19 PM  

I don't have kids, but I ADORE your post! Bravo to you, teaching them responsibility and breaking the entitlement mentality! I wish I could give you a big hug right now!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I needed a good news story to start off 2013.

MTWaggin December 31, 2012 at 7:12 PM  

No kids here but I still read every word and loved this post!

Smt December 31, 2012 at 7:15 PM  

I thank you and so do those who have any dealings with your boys now and in the future. My parents raised us this way and we felt pride at a job well done. We learned the value of a dollar and how to give first. We were happier for it. Now if only my MIL had applied this advice!

tina December 31, 2012 at 7:49 PM  

great post - gotta read this book!

Kay December 31, 2012 at 8:20 PM  

Thanks for sharing. My parents believed in hard work and personal responsibility, and passed that on to their seven children. My own children are grown, but I still found your post very interesting. Just imagine what a better world it would be if more adults had learned what you're teaching your boys. Way to go!

Kay December 31, 2012 at 8:21 PM  

Thanks for sharing. My parents believed in hard work and personal responsibility, and passed that on to their seven children. My own children are grown, but I still found your post very interesting. Just imagine what a better world it would be if more adults had learned what you're teaching your boys. Way to go!

Anonymous December 31, 2012 at 8:53 PM  

LOVED this post!! I teach first grade and I know that little ones can do amazing things when I empower them and have high expectations! You rock!!

Linds December 31, 2012 at 9:28 PM  

I LOVED this post! I';ve never thought of giving the money at the beginning of the month and then taking away if they don't do their chores. We're probably going to start a similar system with our oldest this coming year, as he turns 4 in April. Thanks for the tips!

Mandy Ferry December 31, 2012 at 10:01 PM  

I was nodding my head all the way through this post.
We set up jars for them to earn money, but the novelty wore off. I'll be trying this and I'll be checking out this book. I feel like my children are so ungrateful, my focus for 2013 is my parenting technique and making the changes that need to happen. Thanks for your timely post.

Janet January 1, 2013 at 12:26 AM  

WOW, I wish this would dawn on more parents! I have no children by choice but I came from a family with six children (I am 60 now) and this is how we were raised ... without the gift of money to do it! I must say my parents knew how to raise kids - six of us, no smokers, only very casual drinkers and many that don't drink at all, never in trouble with the law and all married now for at least about 28 years! Those were the days. The trouble I feel (and have for about 36 years) is that back when I first got married I found that we had children raising children. And probably you have hit the nail on the head....the parents did not teach their kids how to grow up to be adults. Not saying all kids but we have a lot of them and I believe in the US that is why we are having such an entitlement society (and I am paying for it!) Thanks again and hopefully others will have a light go off to the same mentality!

Kim A January 1, 2013 at 7:06 AM  

I have to admit that growing up, I had no chores and no allowances. My mom did almost all of the housework and my dad did all of the yard work. Yet, they still did instill in me a good work ethic and drive in me, and I am a successful teacher and wife today. I don't think having chores is necessarily the way to raising responsible adults. However, I did enjoy your post. It makes a lot of sense. I wonder what I will do when I have kids? Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous January 1, 2013 at 9:34 AM  

Thank you for this post...I was actually thinking yesterday that my five year old thinks he should just get things. I was trying to figure out what I have been doing wrong.

Barbara January 1, 2013 at 9:50 AM  

Yay, you!!! Your kids will thank you, you will have a clean, peaceful home, and you will be a better mom for all you are doing!

kimi kreations January 1, 2013 at 10:05 AM  

Brilliant!!! I shared on my FB wall!!!!

Barbs January 1, 2013 at 10:12 AM  

Awesome - what a gift to your children and I'm sure your family unit is stronger and closer than before!

Jen January 1, 2013 at 11:20 AM  

I LOVE this!! I just purchased the book and can't wait to start it with my boys. Thanks so much for sharing!! :)

Arthéa January 1, 2013 at 2:59 PM  

Very interesting post ! Children are the same in France. They become lazy teenagers if we do not teach them that only work brings money. I fully approve your method, I had never thought of giving the money at the begining of the month.

Linda January 1, 2013 at 7:14 PM  

Wow, wish I had known that tip when my kids were young!

Penny January 1, 2013 at 9:18 PM  

Bravo!

Anonymous January 2, 2013 at 8:46 AM  

I wish I had the discipline to require my daughters to do chores around the house when they were younger, but I just didn't. Everything was handed to them, and everything was done for them. In spite of that, they are the most hardworking adults I know (they're both in their 20's). My oldest daughter started an online business at the age of 11 and was making 40k a year by the time she was 17 (it's not a lot, but it helped her so much during her college years). My youngest started work at the age of 13 and is still in the same field. Somehow my entitled girls managed to do very well for themselves. I still believe requiring them to do chores around the house is much, much healthier if you can manage it. Good luck!

Donna January 2, 2013 at 12:03 PM  

Bravo!! I've followed your blog for over a year and this post hits right at home. Over the holidays we (my husband and I) how entitled his sister is. His parents enable this behavior. Being the oldest in our families we were taught how to be self sufficient. We had responsibilities. We had high expectations to meet. We remind ourselves we want the same for all our kids. Too many people feel they are entitled or they want instant gratification without working for it. Hence, my SIL is 32, fully degreed, has never worked a day in her life, yet manages to have her parents fuel her life with what she wants. Sad thing is the day they are gone who will do this for her? It's scary to imagine.

Ted January 2, 2013 at 1:18 PM  

Hooray, Bravo and Kudos!! We home schooled our two children and they thought we were just horrible to make them do chores. Now, my son (26 years old) thanks us because he has a work ethic that is uncommon in todays work place. Your children will do well learning that there is value in work.

Tanis Saucier January 2, 2013 at 1:21 PM  

You are doing such a great, great thing for your boys! I applaud you. Their futures will indeed be bright because they will be capable, reliable and know what it means and how it feels to be an active member of a family! Cheers to you Rita, cheers :)
Tanis

Rita January 2, 2013 at 1:57 PM  

Wow, I loved reading all of your comments! And I love hearing your own personal stories. I get so excited when I have new comments pop up.

I also think that children can turn out wonderfully without having to assist with chores in the house, as noted by several readers. There is no one perfect way to raise children, and if they are self-motivated they will probably be successful no matter what you do in raising them.

But for our family this has method is really working. My boys are learning so much and I am also learning to be patient and teach them these important life skills. It is so much easier to do many of these things on my own, but taking the time to teach them is making them so much more independent.

I know I have to raise them so they can leave the nest one of these days, so hopefully I am giving them the skills to make it on their own, but also be generous, kind young men.

Jenna@CallHerHappy January 2, 2013 at 3:41 PM  

I just love this. So so awesome! I have had that book on my to-read list for a while, and this really moved it up in line :)

Anne January 2, 2013 at 4:35 PM  

Awesome post! I taught 7th & 8th grade for 12 years and saw this everyday. Too many parents want to be their kids best friend and not their parent so they don't have any sort of guidelines, expectations, or structure for them. I wish I could make all parents read this!

Anna-Leigh McClelland January 2, 2013 at 4:41 PM  

Thanks you so much for sharing about this book! My little one is 3.5, I like to think I try and steer her in the right direction, but I too feel like i find myself doing everything to make it easy and peaceful in the house! I'll have to check out the book and see if I can make it work with my little one ;-)

McBDesigns January 2, 2013 at 5:07 PM  

I shared this on my FB too and this was my comment:
THIS I think I can do :) We've tried the 'earning' rewards through tokens and it wasn't successful because 1) I'm lazy and didn't run to the coin jar to cough one up each time it was earned & 2) They didn't SEE the reward... just plastic tokens that *I* knew could be redeemed for the reward

THANKS!!!

Sue in Canada January 3, 2013 at 3:33 AM  

what an amazing post....I hope it goes viral! I just posted it to my Facebook page!!

Mariah January 3, 2013 at 3:57 PM  

Thank you so much for posting this! It made so much sense to me. I also bought the book and my husband and I are planning on making this work!

Anonymous January 3, 2013 at 4:07 PM  

I wish you had written this and I had read it 20 years ago when my kids were still babies.

Danielle January 5, 2013 at 6:11 PM  

Normally, I enjoy your blog for its photo elements, but this post has really spoken to me. As a SAHM, it is easy for me to do everything for my family during the day while they are at work/school. After all, that is my "job." Thank you for helping me to see that another part of my job is to train my children to be able to do these tasks as well! I plan on downloading that book and incorporating it into our routine throughout the year.

Tricia Schumacher January 5, 2013 at 9:22 PM  

Hi Rita! I just wanted to let you know I loved this post and we have also started a chore jar. At first my 7 year old was not buying into it because he told me "it is just a dollar mom, not a house". Today he used up all his money buying an app and now he is a little more interested. I have also started charging rent on my phone and on the TV :-) (he likes to play games on my phone and we do not let them watch much TV) . Thanks for the awesome post!
Oh, I also love your photo and blog stuff too. :-)

Rita January 5, 2013 at 9:26 PM  

Love love love reading your comments! And Tricia, I love the idea of having the kids "rent" time for tv and phone. Brilliant! So many great ideas.

I am reading some of the books suggested in the comments and I am so excited. I see such a change in my boys already. I will be posting updates on how this experiment is going. R

Abby Braman January 6, 2013 at 10:55 AM  

Love! Thank you so much!

Anna Bobbin January 7, 2013 at 2:03 AM  

That probably works OK in a middle class environment, but I'm a single parent without a penny to my name, I can't find $90 a month to put in jars!!
Also, I don't think it's right that kids get paid to clean and tidy their home, after all, nobody pays me to cook and do laundry and walk the dog and shop and do everything.
I think telling your child they will get paid for doing what they flippin' well should isn't right, they see that their parnts don't get paid for cleaning the bathroom, all it instills is an attitude of "I won't help my loved ones without getting paid to do so" which is just another symptom of an entitled society.
I have 3 children, my 16 yr old has worked after school non stop since she was 13, she knows if she wants clothes or holidays or rave tickets she has to work to buy them.
With my 13 yr old I trade favours, if he wants me to drive him to the shops then he has to walk the dog etc etc and my 7yr old just helps me, without question, without me asking, and without expectation.

Aimee January 7, 2013 at 2:07 PM  

Thanks for sharing. My husband and I discuss this often. We thought we were teaching our kids to respect themselves, respect others, earn their keep, be self-sufficient, but somehow we missed the mark. This morning my eighteen year old, college student daughter, who almost slept through her dentist appt., asked me if I was going to give her gas money so she could go to her appt. across town! Really??? Do you think this book could help me at this point...she's only home on breaks? I think there are parents, us one of them, that honestly did our best to instill these values, but our kids are growing up in an entitlement society and sometimes we just lose the battle.
www.atime4allseasons.blogspot.com

Dorothy January 8, 2013 at 7:36 PM  

Oh my. I totally get what Anna was saying about not having the money to pay out to the kids for helping. When I was raising our 5 kids we didn't have money like that, either. I was a SAHM and did what I could, but all of the kids were expected to help around the house. That's just what families do...help one another. (And they weren't always cheerful about it, but they did it anyway!) We did the best we could and every one of the kids has grown into very nice adults. They hold down good jobs and are raising lovely children of their own. Phew! Being a grandmother is much easier than being a mother. My hat's off to all the Mom's out there.... use your own inspiration/intuition, do what feels right for your family, and things will work out. Good luck!

Rita January 8, 2013 at 8:19 PM  

Anna, I know it sounds like a lot of money, but remember we put 45% of it in their savings account for college and 10% goes toward a charity. The 45% they have left is used for spending money. So instead of me buying them ice cream or getting them gum, they have to pay for it. I spend less money on them now then I did before, and I am super frugal (cheap!). Plus we are "forced" to put some money away for them.

And I agree, kids should do this without being paid, but as Dorothy mentioned, you have to do what works best for your family. My kids love earning their own money and now they don't ask for every toy/candy/icecream cone/etc. they see out there. They know they have to pay for it out of their money and they now realize that money does not go far!

And Aimee, it is not too late! Heck, this would work for someone in their 20's living at home. Think of all of the parents out there paying so much money for yard work and house work when they could put their own kids to work for pennies. ;-) Best of all, your kids will learn to take care of themselves.

Lisa January 9, 2013 at 11:34 AM  

I absolutely LOVE this post!! I couldn't agree more. I don't have kids yet, but am definitely filing it away for future reference. Heck, I might even test it out on my husband until then... ;)

Ashley Brown January 10, 2013 at 12:30 PM  

Rita,

This was an awesome post, I do not have children yet, but I am bookmarking it for the future! This was the way I was raised and I applaud you for being such a great parent! If many more people apply this to their life I can only image the amazing future we can all have!

Jackie January 11, 2013 at 6:01 PM  

Awesome, I will have to get a copy of the book.

Jenny G January 29, 2013 at 7:55 PM  

I hope the whole world reads this post. What a better place it would be!

Heidi Kingery February 3, 2013 at 6:52 AM  

Thank you for this post! I have tried several methods to get them motivated to *want* to help. Some have worked okay and some haven't worked at all. Every child is different and I have noticed that my oldest is the most willing to work for what she wants. The idea of dividing the money up that way is great and I am definitely going to look for this book. I appreciate you sharing!!