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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Practical Advice for Raising Responsible Children

Practical Advice for Raising Responsible Children

Author Kay Wyma offers advice to parents on training their children for adulthood by teaching them the value of hard work and taking responsibility for their lives.
Original Air Date: February 15, 2016

John Fuller: I’m John Fuller and today on Focus on the Family, we’ll explore a common, often unexpected challenge that parents face. When your children refuse to work or help around the house. Now maybe you can relate to this conversation that Focus president Jim Daly had with mommy blogger Kay Wyma.

Jim Daly: Well, you have an eight-year-old son and I, I love something that he said. Uh, it was about making his bed, I believe. And he said, “Well, that’s your job, right?” (laughs)

Kay Wyma: Oh yeah. “That’s your job.” And then I had another friend whose child, when she said, “You need to do the dishes,” to this boy he said, “Do what to the dishes?”

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: And then … And she said, “Well you-”

John: Oh, gee. (laughs)

Kay: I know. (laughs) And she stood at the sink going, “Clean them and put them in the dishwasher.” And he looked at her and said, “Well, that’s a girl’s job.”

Jim: Ooh.

Kay: So needless to say, he did the dishes for a few months after that.

Jim: She broke that little boy. I mean-

Kay: Oh, yeah.

Jim: Uh, John, that’s a classic example of youth entitlement where some kids develop this mindset that they can do or have whatever they want without any limitations or responsibility on their part. And I know it sounds crazy, but in some kid-centric families, parents are actually enabling their children to behave this way. And now, I get it, sometimes we’re just too exhausted or too distracted to give our kids the responsibility that they truly need. Uh, you may think, “I can do the job so much faster and without all the fuss,” but if that becomes a pattern, what are you really teaching your kids? So I appreciate how Kay has, uh, very intentionally confronted the entitlement she observed in her own family. Uh, several years ago she wrote a book called Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. Uh, Kay wanted her five kids, who were ages 5 to 15 at the time, uh, to learn important life skills that would empower them to take care of themselves rather than expect mom and dad to do it.

John: Yeah, and she had a rather novel approach, uh, starting with the basics like cleaning, uh, uh, their room every day and learning-

Jim: (laughs)

John: … how to cook-

Jim: Go mom.

John: … and doing their own laundry. But then she kind of graduated them to more difficult things like looking for a job outside of the home, hosting a formal party and learning how to serve others.

Jim: That’s right, John. And Kay wanted her kids to develop confidence and self-reliance where they weren’t expecting other people to serve them. And the good news is the experiment worked. So today, we’re going to share this story again so that more families like yours can benefit from Kay’s insights and experiences and even learn from some of the setbacks she faced along the way.

John: Now, if you’d like to learn more about Kay and her book, Cleaning House, just stop by our website; focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And Jim, here’s how you began the conversation with Kay Wyma on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Jim: Kay, welcome back to Focus on the Family.

Kay: Oh, it is always fun to be with you guys.

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: Thanks for having me.

Jim: We enjoy it when you’re here.

Kay: (laughs)

Jim: Uh, where do you think this entitlement mentality comes from? What, what started it? Is it Adam and Eve (laughs) or did it come later?

Kay: Well, I think if you look back just in our country alone, the entitlement really started in the 1940s, um, when there was a very well-meaning pediatrician who put to the forefront the best way to raise … to have your home is with a child-centric home, okay? So it started making us pave the path for the kid instead of the kid for the path and it’s just progressively gotten worse because t- i- it … Within the United States, the American Dream, we always thought the American Dream was the opportunity to be able to come to this country and do whatever you want. And it’s since changed a little and has turned to the words, “You’re owed, and you deserve the dream.”

Jim: Mm.

Kay: And when it started to do that, this issue of entitlement really began to seep in and it’s a lot of well-meaning, you know, loving families that are, are buying into this message from society that says, “You have got to prepare the path for your kid, and not the kid for the path.” And, and thus, the kid is groomed into thinking, “I do. You d- I’m, I deserve it. I’m owed these kinds of things.” And they don’t even consider the fact that, uh, they could do it themselves.

Jim: Well, now let’s parlay this into the theme of your book; Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment, uh, to Rid her Home of Youth Entitlement. Uh, you talk about work in the home.

Kay: Right. Yeah.

Jim: And, uh … This is a fun one, so all the moms-

Kay: (laughs)

Jim: … and dads are now leaning in. And, you know, Jean and I … I don’t know about you and Dena, John, but I mean, this is a constant thing, besides saying please and thank you. This would be right … The runner up to that-

Kay: It does seem like it, doesn’t?

Jim: … is getting chores done around the house. And I can say the boys are doing a much better job than when they were a little younger, but it’s a constant parenting thing.

Kay: Yeah.

Jim: Getting the kids to participate, to do it well.

Kay: Right.

Jim: And to understand the benefit of work.

Kay: Yes, and, uh, and there … It’s interesting. The Wall Street Journal did an article not long ago talking about why kids need chores and actually it is proven that they are more successful adults.  These kids that have chores when they’re age two and three are more successful adults which for me, uh, I, I might sit there and go, “Oh, gosh. I can’t go back.” (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: We’re so far down the road.

John: It’s too late. (laughs)

Kay: Did we mess up?

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: But the truth is you can start at any time. So it’s not like-

Jim: Mm.

Kay: … oh, if you don’t start by two or three … And I’ve watched these families. I’ve had great opportunity to go speak at different venues throughout the country and these parents and moms that are stepping in, letting their two- and three-year old’s do things that normally for safety reasons, you know, they wouldn’t be allowed to do, because you can’t cut the strawberries. It involves a knife. And yet, what happens to a kid when they do that, it’s v- … All this independence and self-confidence that you hope for them to have, that we think that’s coming on the other side of these, quote, successes, but when they do these things on the, on their own, boy, you can’t pay for that. It’s unbelievable what it does to their confidence level. They will look at mountains and see them as opportunities rather than obstacles. And, and that is the American Dream. Go back to the Founding Fathers. I mean, it was like you show me the furthest boundary, I’m going there. You … Do you know what I mean?

Jim: I do.

Kay: The, the society has absolutely changed, because you can’t even go and find your child, your 14-year-old a, a job because of the regulations and the issues that come with insurance, that you can’t employee a 14-year-old. And it seems like such a disservice. It’s like that kid needs to be bagging groceries because you know what. Mrs. Magillacuddy’s is gonna yell at him when he puts the milk on the grapes and, and he might listen to her instead of the yappy m- you know, the mother, “Don’t do it that way.”

Jim: Well, how do we do that then, in this environment? Where it’s safety conscious and regulation orientation? I mean how do we get our children those opportunities to fail, to put the milk on the grapes or the eggs?

Kay: Yeah.

Jim: And, uh, in a way that, uh, is, you know, safe and controllable, but-

Kay: Yeah, ’cause it’s seeming like the opportunities to fail are getting fewer and far between, and that sounds kind of mean, but it really isn’t mean. And it, and it’s kind of informing them, by the way, these paths to the people that you see that are successful really is paved by failure. I mean, if a kid likes the, the Harry Potter series, for example, she was turned down hundreds of times. Not two or three, but hundreds and kept going back with a manuscript. “Will someone look at it?” And, uh, we send the end of the day where it looks all beautiful, but you know … The lights that we are looking at. Thomas Edison. Failure, failure, failure, failure, failure, failure, failure. Oh, then it works. And so the failures so precede the successes and it, and it, it lets you know that you can get up. And so what do you do? Work together. I mean-

Jim: Well, and that’s teaching tenacity.

Kay: It really is and so-

Jim: Let me ask you though, you- your background, you’re coming from a different perspective because you were raised in a home where-

Kay: I was, yeah.

Jim: … y- you didn’t have to do a lot of work.

Kay: Are you gonna tell everyone how I was raised?

Jim: I think it’s important.

Kay: I was- (laughs)

Jim: ‘Cause it sounds like you had it right, right from the beginning, but that’s not your story. You learned the hard way.

Kay: Well, sort … I, I was raised in a home … We … It was a different age. It really was a tiny bit different age where, uh, you had schools even th- that, uh, were allowed to let kids failed. The e- the education system these days doesn’t allow failure, even in Texas. Until you’re in seventh grade you don’t get a zero. You get a 50.

Jim: But doing work in your home.

Kay: Right. And so my dad … I grew up in a, in a home that was comfortable, all right? I, I really can’t remember a day where, where we didn’t have a lovely meal. Um, we … I’m just gonna say it. My first car might have had three letters that were German. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Kay: And so I was not hurting. Now that said, my father instilled in us a good work ethic.

Jim: Mm.

Kay: We were wor- … You know, Saturday mornings were chore days. Uh, if you went to school, if you didn’t produce your best … It was to go to do your best. You, you know, you don’t schluff. We do hard work. Uh, you don’t quit. Oh my goodness. He never let us quit. I’ll never forget being on a tennis court, literally sick, and he wouldn’t … He was like, “You will finish that match. You can retire after, but you will finish what you start.” And so that was groomed into us. And yes, we were very comfortable. Um, I married a missionary kid whose upbringing was very different than mine. I might have been going to Neiman’s getting my clothes and he was getting it out of the mission box. And so you bring these two worlds together and it’s very … But at the core, we both had families that were hard work. You’re honest, you’re … You know, the morals that come behind this great thing to instill in our children that your effort is worth something. And by the way, you have something to offer. And that’s the most exciting part about it.

Jim: Mm. So talk on the one hand about maybe the healthy and unhealthy parental instinct versus what you’re really trying to do is ready that child for life and that you have to r- r- restrain yourself as a parent to let them struggle a bit. And when they start whining and complaining, uh, what do you do?

Kay: Yeah-

Jim: Do you buckle and do it or do you hold the line and say, “No, little Johnny. You gotta do this now.”

Kay: I think it’s a fine line. I really do. And I think a lot of it has to do with the personality of your children. I think also one thing in allowing your kids to … in putting more on your kid’s plate than quite frankly even you think is the right thing to do, uh, will help you understand what that kid’s giftedness actually is.

Jim: So push a little more.

John: Mm.

Kay: Yes. And, and what I find so interesting, that I am o- more often than not the problem. You know, uh, the words, “Yes you can, you can do this. You can do this,” I’m needing to hear as much as the kid is. It’s like yes, they can, they can, they can. Get out of the way. They can do this. Because it’s hard, because you do love them so much. And so it’s this idea of rather than hearing that the m- the way to best love your kid is to do things for them, maybe for a second consider the way to best love this individual that is in your home, who you are steward over their life for such a brief period of time is to equip ’em. Put things in their backpacks so they can do all these great things that you know that they can do, so that they might know it too. But the only way for them to know it is to do it.

Jim: Mm.

Kay: And, and as ridiculous as the chores are (laughs) in the home, there’s so much involved in it, you know? Their friends aren’t doing it, so that right there is a step up. I’ve talked to so many moms whose college kids have, have written them the note, “Thank you so much for making me do those hard things, uh, because nobody else was doing it. I didn’t realize it.”

Jim: Mm.

Kay: Because … And, and I think of even the beauty of our relationship with the Lord and how that plays in. He lets us do a lot of stuff that he could do himself.

Jim: Mm.

Kay: A lot faster, a lot easier, much more efficiently, and quite frankly, do it right. But there must be some loving aspect in that of let me let you do it, because you’re going to realize what I prepared you in advance to do. And so how cool to watch that play out even in our homes with these very, uh, seemingly ridiculous things that actually play to a bigger, a bigger picture.

John: You’re listening to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and our guest is Kay Wyma, offering some great insights about preparing your children for the path of life. Now Kay has written a great book that we would recommend you get. It’s called Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. Details are at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. And now more from our conversation with Kay Wyma on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Jim: Kay, you’re a self-professed messy.

Kay: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: So I appreciate that vulnerability, but-

Kay: I like to call it creative.

Jim: You’re a creative messy.

Kay: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: I don’t care what you call it. But, uh, y- you know, how did you come to grips with this-

Kay: (laughs)

Jim: … when … especially if your kids say-

Kay: Oh my goodness.

Jim: … “Well mom, you’re not so good at this?”

Kay: It’s so true.

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: And, and it’s funny, because when … And here comes your kids’ personalities. We have five. We’ve got it all. And you know what?

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: I have one that follows in my footsteps. It is so hard for me when I walk past her room, uh, to not go in and fix it. My word, the clutter, it’s unbelievable. (laughs) And I have to think, “No, this is her space. Here are the … Here’s the rules that we’ve set into motion, and it will have to play out,” you know?

Jim: Give us an example of that. What are the rules like?

Kay: Well, the … At b- at, for her, at least once a week everything has to be picked up off the floor.

Jim: Once a week?

Kay: Yes, because if it was every day, it squi- it does something to her that’s not good.

Jim: Mm.

Kay: Now her sister, it … Totally opposite. She is so fastidious. Everything has a place. Everything’s organized. And I look at them. The one that has her stuff everywhere, she’s a phenomenal artist and, uh, there’s something in it. She’s always got something going. I, I go in her room. There’s, uh, creative fonts all over her room that, uh, that she’s taken post-It notes and put different things. And so she’s that way. My fastidious one, could truly be … She is, uh, 15 years old today. At 13, she could’ve run a company.

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: I- I’m not joking.

Jim: Yeah.

Kay: And, and that kinda goes back to your question, how do you get these kids a job? My friend. Your friends know what’s going on, okay? So there was one who, in their office, they needed help during the summer. Just clerical help. The stuff that no one wants to do. The CEO kid stepped right up and completely organized their office.

Jim: Mm.

Kay: And, and she was 13 years old and-

Jim: I, I don’t have one of those. Do you have one of those kids, John? (laughs)

John: (laughs) I have one of those out of the six.

Kay: Okay, but I wouldn’t have known.

John: One.

Kay: I have to say, I would not have known that about her if I hadn’t pulled away.

Jim: Yeah.

Kay: Because I, I think we are so quick to just assume that our kids are like we are and, I mean, why not. Because they’re, they’re a part of you and, and I don’t really know anything different than me.

Jim: Mm.

Kay: But to step back allows them to be who they are. And I just really wanna add, it’s not some prescriptive, you do X plus … A, A plus B equals C. We have the different personalities where one or two, it is harder for them. It is slower for them. It doesn’t look the same for everyone else, but they’ve tried it all. I keep telling John, you know, one of ours in particular knows how to do everything. It’s all right. He knows. He knows how to do it all. He knows how to cook; he knows how to do his laundry. He knows how to do it. Very hard for him to do it. Really, really hard. And so we back off of that one and only do the drops where needed, because there’s enough in his world telling him that he can’t do this. You know, so much stuff. I don’t want that message coming from home too. So it’s … it really is know your kid, teach them how to do the stuff. Equip them. They can do a lot more than you think they can. For sure more than they think they can. And you really have no idea what’s on the other side of that.

Jim: Hey, let’s go back to that question though of good enough. I mean, when you have a child … Let’s say they’re capable. 12, 13 and they’re missing a lot of that, um, accuracy.

Kay: (laughs)

Jim: Cleaning the bathroom, for example.

Kay: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) I wanna use that one.

Kay: Oh my goodness.

Jim: Everything’s clean, but the sink and maybe the toilet and you’re going, “Okay, this has to get done,” and they don’t like doing it.

Kay: I know.

Jim: They don’t like mopping; they don’t like whatever. Um, how do you move them from that mediocrity to something that’s a little better? Um, something that they, they are w- able to do and like you said, maybe not a child that is unable to do that for whatever reason. But you know this child is capable of it and they’re just choosing not to do it.

Kay: Yeah.

Jim: How do you move that 13-year-old-

Kay: (laughs) I-

Jim: 14-year-old.

Kay: Of course, you go to the 13 and 14. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah, well that’s-

Kay: I know.

Jim: I’m living it right now.

Kay: It’s really true and you know they’re not. And, and I think a big part of it is putting on these, these (laughs) non-listening ears. Sweet Jody Capehart, who I know you guys know. She’s so sweet and she … I asked her one time, “How do you do this stuff?” And … Because they push back with the most ridiculous reasons. “I don’t know how to.”

John: Yes.

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: And it’s like I … Okay, everyone here knows that you know how to. And-

Jim: How to wipe a counter.

Kay: Right.

Jim: “I don’t know how to wipe a counter, mom.”

Kay: I know. And, and, and you’re thinking … And they say it repeatedly.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kay: Because as if repeating it actually makes it true, you know?

Jim: Right. That’s right. (laughs)

John: That’s kinda, that’s kinda your clue as a parent that-

Kay: Right. (laughs)

John: … maybe that’s not true.

Kay: I know.

John: Yeah.

Kay: And, and it, and it’s sort of like as if on cue and you think, “Are we gonna do this again?” (laughs)

Jim: Yeah.

Kay: And she said to me, “Don’t engage. Don’t get in the middle of that stuff. Say it and walk away.” And she’s like, “I’m not saying not to love your child, but I’m saying let that stuff bounce off and roll like Teflon.”

Jim: Yeah.

Kay: Like don’t listen to it and just say, “Yes, you do. Do it. Do it. Do it. And if it’s not done …” And it depends on the kid. You know, you can throw in, “If it’s not done by this time, sorry, you lose this privilege,” or, or whatever system you have in your house that are res- rewards or consequences, what means something to them individually. There’s your card. And stay the course, you know? In a loving way. They’re, they’re kids and these teenagers, got bless ’em.

Jim: Well, I was gonna ask you that, because I think the next obvious question is toughness, ’cause a lot of, uh, parents in the Christian community particularly, w- we don’t see that as an attribute, a Fruit of the Spirit. Be tough with your kids-

Kay: Right.

Jim: … when they don’t do their chores. (laughs) It’s just not listed there. And, uh, y- so where do we find that ability as a parent to be a little tough on our kids? That’s what you’re talking about.

Kay: I think it is. I, I think you have to throw prayer in there and, and, and because I think in this effort, it really could become about performance, which is something that we all would probably do best to avoid. Um, and so how do you make them go through these … do these things in your home that you would like for them to do for their sake-

Jim: Mm.

Kay: … and bring alongside with it all the others for their sakes? And there’s one who certainly knows the heart and mind of each one of those children and it’s like a lotta prayer goes into that. Where do I push, where do I pull? Please let me not make it about performance, because I could have it be about the clean bathroom. What’s going on in this day? Why are they pushing back like this? Is it teenage whatever that is?

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: You know, where it’s not all firing correctly? And if it is, give ’em a break. You are loved. Where … You know, it’s one of those fine lines.

Jim: Um, you talk about a, a story with your son pumping gas, which I … You know, I thought about that the other day.

Kay: Yeah.

Jim: My two boys are capable of that, but I rarely have them get out of the car-

Kay: Yeah. And changing a tire too.

Jim: … ’cause it’s so much faster.

Kay: You know, there’s things-

Jim: But talk about the story of pumping gas. What was that about?

Kay: Well, (laughs) why would you pick that one?

Jim: ‘Cause it embarrasses us.

Kay: It was su-

John: I think it’s because-

Kay: Well, it was such an embarrassing day.

John: And so many moms are gonna relate to this.

Kay: Oh my goodness. That morning was one of those … You know how you have the classics where everything is going wrong? C- and we couldn’t find anything out of the house. I may not have found my clothes that morning and I could’ve been doing what I often do, possibly driving the carpool (laughs) in my pajamas.

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: And then I get in the car and it’s on E. Like the … like the orange E that had been on there for a while.

Jim: The light is on. (laughs)

Kay: Which you all may not do that, but-

Jim: No, we do that.

Kay: … I’ve decided it’s how a mom lives on the edge.

Jim: Yeah.

Kay: You know, how long can you go on E.

John: Will I really run out of gas?

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah.

Kay: We pull up at the gas station and, and I’m like, “Get out of the car and pump the gas.” He’s sitting there going, “I can’t get out of the car and pump the gas.” I’m like, “Yes you can! Get out of the car!” And by this point, you know, he’s complaining, opening the door, “I can’t pump the gas!” And, and so he’s-

Jim: He’s never pumped the gas before, maybe?

Kay: I don’t, I don’t think at that point he had pumped the gas-

Jim: (laughs) So he was actually-

Kay: … but he was doing it that day.

Jim: He was accurate. (laughs)

Kay: But he could. I know he can. I mean, how hard is it? You put the card in and then you pull it out. Well, we had to go through this exercise with me in my pajamas yelling out the crack in the window.

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: And by this time everyone at the gas station is watching us. I mean, it was horrifying.

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: And he puts the card in and pulls the card. You know, he’s like, “He-ho-he-ho-he-ho.” Putting the card in there. I’m like, “Stop doing it with the card!”

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: “It won’t work!” You know? (laughs) And so … I mean, it was a traumatic experience for-

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: … for literally everyone involved. I’m so glad. I thought that one I might have seen on the evening news. You know, they do have cameras on there. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: But at the end of the day, he did pump the ga- … It’s not that hard, right?

Jim: Right.

Kay: But the pushback … Uh, it, the pushback is almost always there. Does it ever end? Does the pushback end?

Jim: Well especially, especially a first timer, you know? And especially for boys. We’re not that confident.

Kay: Oh, if only that were the case.

Jim: Yeah.

Kay: Because the “I can’t pump gas,” occurred every single time.

Jim: Oh, okay. Well, that’s a little different.

Kay: And it, and it still sort of does. It’s like, “Well you … Okay, you do it.” And now they fight with each other. “You get out and do it. You get out (laughs) and do it.” But at … They do know, they will have to know how to pump gas. It seems silly to even talk about it, but there are things. How would they know how to do it if they hadn’t done it before?

Jim: What about doing errands, you talk about that in the book, is a good way to teach.

Kay: Oh, I d- I love the errands.

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: Okay, this was in my mind that day going, “What do they not know how to do? What do I do that they could do?” And, and so errands. We do errands all the time. The-

Jim: Well, you’re living in a place that’s close. We’re more rural, so to have them go to the store-

Kay: You really don’t do errands?

Jim: I mean, i- it’s hard. I mean, we’re not near a grocery store, so-

Kay: Yeah.

Jim: … it’s like 15 miles to the grocery store.

Kay: Yes, but still, going … I, I drive to the grocery store, and I kick ’em out of the car and they go do the shopping.

Jim: Okay. I like that.

Kay: But I had to show them how to shop first and get my hands off the produce. It was hard for me to allow them to pick the produce, you know. Because-

Jim: Do they ever blow it? Do they buy brown bananas?

Kay: Oh, absolutely.

Jim: (laughs)

Kay: And then we eat ’em and everyone complains and that’s the last time they do that. Maybe.

John: Does this allow you to stay in the car in your pajamas?

Kay: I do. It’s-

Jim: Yeah (laughs) there’s a, there’s a pajama theme here.

Kay: Yes, John, it does.

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Kay: It absolutely does.

Jim: Do you ever get dressed for the day, Kay?

Kay: Not often. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Kay: I like to-

Jim: I-

Kay: … set the bar low.

John: There’s, there’s a side benefit to-

Kay: I told y’all, it’s called missionary dressing is how I like to think of it.

Jim: (laughs)

John: There’s a side benefit to teaching your kids-

Kay: Yes.

Jim: Yes.

John: … how to do chores.

Jim: Join us tomorrow on Focus on the Family and we’ll teach you-

Kay: Yes, it’s hilarious.

Jim: … how to dress properly. (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Kay: You, you can set the bar so low that everyone is very happy they’re not you.

Jim: Kay, as we wind down this program, and we’ve talked about your 12-month experiment, to see the trail of tears that you’re creating, to not prepare the child for the path. Rather, you’re trying to, uh, prepare the path for the child, which is not what you wanna do.

Kay: Right.

Jim: Y- y- talk about the end game. Your kids … Some and the … your children are a little older now.

Kay: Right.

Jim: Is the proof in the pudding? Did it work? Are those kids doing well?

Kay: I think about that a lot.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kay: I really do and I, and I go, “Is there proof in the p- …” Because to me, I’m always … My mind will go, “Oh, there’s always more,” or “You should always be doing … Am I doing this right? Have I done …” And, uh, there’s goes those words, right? And all this kind of stuff. And, and I look at the kids and I think, “Breathe. Uh, did they do their SAT stuff themselves? Yes, they did. Did they do all of their homework thems- …” I don’t even know. I don’t know how to log on to the school system, because I d- I never look. We have online grading systems in Texas where you have passcodes, where your … where you literally could know all day, every single day everything that your child has done. Every … Every assignment. And I don’t, I don’t know the password. And so in my head I, I go, “Yes, there is something good about that.” And my kids are more prone to even talk to their advisor on their own without me. I had a daughter going through some really tough stuff the other day and you know what she did? And it was tough. She had to drop a couple of classes. She’s in a small cla- … Because it was too stressful. And we were like, “This doesn’t define you. Let’s figure out a way to make it work.” And when she dropped it on her own, she said to me, “You know, everybody knows. It’s a small environment. And I didn’t want everybody talking about it without knowing exactly why I did everything.” So on her own she went to every person and said, “This is why I dropped these classes. This is what I’m struggling with.” And, uh, and then she went to the professors. “I just want you to know it wasn’t you. Please don’t be disappointed in me.” And, and what happened on the other side of this is this freedom of relationship with all these people and I’m sitting there going, “How did you … What in the world?” I would never have thought to tell her to do that.

Jim: Mm.

Kay: And in my w- and it was like … It so far exceeded anything that I would’ve hoped for. Could she have done that on her own if she wasn’t navigating her own road? We had to help her navigate some of the very difficult stuff, especially as a teenager, to be able to grasp with it, which we did. We went in and helped and then we walked out. And in the backing out, she’s soaring. And, and I look at that. Those are deep emotional relationship related things and she’s 16. And I was like, “I never would’ve thought you would’ve learned any of that until you were in your 30s, sweetheart.”

Jim: Well, Kay Wyma, author of the book Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement.

Kay: (laughs)

Jim: Uh, this has started the conversation and if you need help, that’s why Focus on the Family is here. We’ll provide resources and tools to improve your parenting skills, which I think all of us need that, John.

John: Mm.

Jim: And, uh, Kay, it’s been great having you here at Focus. Thanks for being with us.

Kay: Thank you so much (laughs). It’s a blast.

Jim: Uh, John, I’d like to make Kay’s book available to our listeners and if you can send a gift of any amount to Focus on the Family, we’ll say thank you by sending a copy of Cleaning House right out to you. And we appreciate your financial partnership with us. Uh, you provide the fuel we need to help strengthen marriages, equip parents, save pre-born babies and so much more. So please be generous with your support of Focus on the Family today.

John: Give us a call. Our number is 800-232-6459. 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or donate and request Kay’s book at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let me mention, we also have a free online parenting assessment that you can take. Uh, it’s a really easy way for moms and dads to get a quick overview of what’s working well, where you’re, uh, really excelling, and maybe some areas that need improvement. I urge you to check that out at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And we hope you have a great weekend with your family and with your church family as well, and then please join us again on Monday. We’ll share a fascinating conversation with Greg Koukl about how to have a solid Christian worldview.


Greg Koukl: Because for a lot of Christians, their, their story, their picture of reality is like a puzzle that’s in a pile of pieces. They’ve never put it together before. And this is what the story of reality is meant to do. Put it together in a sequential form so we can see the big picture.

End of Preview

John: On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Cleaning House

Cleaning House

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