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The end of youth entitlement

July 27, 2012

He is cooking as I type. Eagerly preparing his fancy meal in the kitchen, only occasionally calling out a question: “Mom, do I use vegetable oil (pronounced real phonetically) or olive oil?”

He is 12. A boy. A 12 year old boy. Same kid whose boxers fell from his body days ago and are still in the same place on the bathroom floor. The very child who conveniently has to visit the john just as it’s time to unload the dishwasher.

However, if you’ll recall, this is the child whose love language is food, whose most notable ambition in life is to become a food critic. I had forgotten this when I announced last night that each kid would be in charge of preparing a meal for dinner this week.

“Mom, what does it mean to “ned?”” (Reading knead improperly)

I am reading Kay Wyma’s Cleaning House :A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. It has been fabulously encouraging, if not a good swift kick in the pants, but surely an answer to the pain that has festered and grown in our home these past few months. Exasperated pleas from my husband and I have become all too frequent at the dinner table as we whine and beg them to help more, be less destructive and team players in this family.

“How do I preheat the oven?”

Wyma encourages us parents to stop enabling our children, to expect more of them, for their character and their future success. Convicted! I am a classic it’s just easier to do it myself parent. And so we have complainy, lazy kids who virtually expect to be coddled and don’t understand how real life works. I’m done with that.

That’s a half cup. “What? Oh no!” (as he looks at the pizza dough rising)

So without even getting past chapter 4, I announce the meal idea. Last week’s shopping trip is a haunting memory I cannot repeat today! Aidan is the one awake last night when I decide this plan. His initial reaction of “What ?!? Why?!?!” is followed by a pause, and then a sprint to the kitchen. He brings back a cookbook and begins to pour through it, simultaneously looking up words and recipes on his Ipod. What is London Broil?

“Whoa! Stay in there flour! Jeesh!”

I am watching him in awe, shock, pride. “What about a Prime Rib Roast?” Eventually, without looking at me, he says, “Yes, I am taking this very seriously. Not only do I have to impress the family, but this is about what I want to eat!” (I think guiltily about the spinach I snuck into their fruit smoothie last night.) “And it’s not even my birthday!”

Ownership and choice, coupled by creativity in the food department, have created a chef right before my eyes. His menu for tonight? Sausage Calzones, with a gluten free one for his sister, a Caeser Salad, and a Black Forest Cake.

I’m not as optimistic about the chapter on making their beds, but I think this cooking thing just might be my salvation when it comes to shopping, picky eating, and appreciating my hard work in the kitchen.

I also see how it calls out creativity in my son who otherwise lacks in the artistic department. It gives him a task to do on slow summer days. It gives him a sense of accomplishment to prepare something not only edible, but good and different than what Mom makes. I am excited about dinner tonight!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2012 3:13 am

    Love this, Beth! I just showed it to my boys too. Maybe they’ll be inspired. =)

  2. July 27, 2012 3:26 am

    haha! This is so encouraging and challenging. What a great idea.

  3. July 27, 2012 3:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing Beth, I have my summer charts….charts…charts, What I really want to know is how do I chang their Hearts in this area. I love all the books that you recommend and I think that I may just need to get this one.
    Love and miss you sister!

    • Beth Bruno permalink
      July 27, 2012 3:15 pm

      yes, my charts failed in week two, especially with Aidan who desperately wanted a break from routine and “homework” for the summer! I am really liking this book and what work inevitably calls out in our kids. miss you too!

  4. Maureen Becker permalink
    July 27, 2012 3:41 pm

    Wow! That’s great! Even a GF one – impressive! I put the book on hold at the library. We just finished The Entitlement Trap by Richard Eyre. Also, you and Jason must be on the same wave length – he has been doing “summer photography school” with the kids. Sorry I haven’t commented before, but I have been following your fun posts 🙂

    • Beth Bruno permalink
      July 27, 2012 5:32 pm

      Hey! Been wondering about you guys! Is Jason doing the school with your kids or others too? Cool!

      • Maureen Becker permalink
        July 27, 2012 10:10 pm

        With our kids. They have a new assignment each week and will have an art gallery showing of their top picks, at the end of summer.

  5. Deb Winterburn permalink
    July 29, 2012 12:44 am

    What a fabulous idea! I wish I would have done it with Alex. I love the pictures. More please! Have you ever thought of writing a book, complete with all of your pictures?

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