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I am participating in the fantastic online bible study over at Melissa Taylor‘s blog. The study is based on Karen Ehman‘s book Let.It.Go. Boy have I learned a lot.

This weeks’ chapter is called Micromanaging Instead of Mothering…ouch! With an only child it is so much easier to just do it for him.  It isn’t like I have 6 kids and they HAVE to learn to tie their own shoes or we would never get out the door.  I am ashamed to admit that my son didn’t learn to tie his shoes until he was 7.  It was easier for me to do it for him than to teach him to do it himself.  Rather than teach my son to fold towels, shirts and underwear, I did the laundry myself.

That is, until I was challenged otherwise.  My son goes to a private Christian school.  Yes, we are blessed.  The lower school counselor has a book study in the fall and in the spring.  This past October it was the book called Cleaning House by a lovely lady named Kay Wyma (who hails from the great city of Dallas just 20 short minutes from my house!). The subtitle was “A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement.” I almost don’t need to say more, but I will.  LOL

I thought I was helping my child by pampering and doing everything for him.  What kid wants to do chores?? The problem came when he started to expect things to be done:

Him: “Mom, I don’t have any socks.”
Me (thinking): “You’ve been walking past a basket full of white laundry in my room for the last 3 days!”

What starts as an expectation for socks to magically appear in his drawers, can turn into him thinking the world revolves around them. I mean, kids think that way when they are little anyway, then as they get older we reinforce in their developing minds.

  • Junior doesn’t get invited to a party, so we call the parents and ask for him to be included.
  • We “help” with homework because we don’t want him to get a bad grade (he might be disappointed).
  • We give every child a trophy. Heard from the child who actually won a local gymnastics meet, “What’s the point of winning if everyone gets a trophy?”

Entitlement has permeated our culture. It starts out as our tying their shoes because it is quicker, and turns into our clearing away every difficulty before it can slow them down or disappoint them. By the time they are ready to leave the nest, they have no idea what they can do or who they can be. Today’s generation of young adults is self-labeled “Gen Me”.  The world revolves around them, they want what they want and they expect to get it.  And if they don’t get what they want, they will call their parents and they will get it for them!

Stop the madness – teach your child to do things for themselves when they are young. Hold their hand, teach them to succeed. Then they will be able to use their hands to lead the next generation.