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Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement Paperback – May 8, 2012

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Frequently Bought Together

Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement + Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids: Creating the relationship you want with the most important people in your life + The Entitlement Trap: How to Rescue Your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning, and Ownership
Price for all three: $38.54

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press; 4.8.2012 edition (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307730670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307730671
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Cleaning House

“At last! Enlightenment about entitlement in our kids—and not just what it is, but also what to do about it.”
—Elisa Morgan, author of She Did What She Could, president emerita of MOPS International, and publisher of FullFill

“Parents, take note: Kay Wills Wyma’s experiment could change your life, especially if your kids suffer from ‘me first!’ syndrome. If you want your children to be more responsible, more self-assured, and more empathetic, Cleaning House is for you.”
—Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family

Cleaning House is both a beautifully told story and a practical guide to parenting in today’s complex world.”
—Michael Gurian, best-selling author of The Wonder of Boys and The Wonder of Girls

Cleaning House will be one of the most influential parenting books of our generation. When it comes to directing parents how to raise fabulous kids, Kay Wills Wyma nails it.”
—Meg Meeker, MD, author of the national bestseller Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

Cleaning House offers the perfect solution for parents who want to free their children from the entitlement trap. Hilarious stories, amazing creativity, and a huge dose of grace make this book difficult to put down! Kay Wills Wyma paves the way and offers tools to help our families experience the satisfaction and confidence that comes through meaningful work.”
—Sandra Stanley, North Point Ministries

Cleaning House delivers practical advice, helpful encouragement, and laugh-out-loud moments for weary parents who want to lovingly change the hearts and future of their overly indulged children.”
—Chuck Bentley, CEO of Crown Financial Ministries and author of The Root of Riches

“For parents who are weary of the Me generation, [Cleaning House] provides a practical roadmap…to bring your children from entitlement to empowerment. From the day-to-day aspects of training in practical-life skills to issues of the heart such as service with a smile and hospitality, Kay writes with transparency, humor, and wisdom. As a parent, grandparent, and school principal, I believe this book will become a favorite of parents and one they will reference frequently.”
—Jody Capehart, co-author of Bonding with Your Teens Through Boundaries

“In an age of youth entitlement, this is a must-read for moms who desire to raise godly kids with servant hearts! Kay Wills Wyma understands and communicates on this vital issue like no one on earth!”
—Joe White, president of Kanakuk Kamps

“In Cleaning House, Kay Wills Wyma has crafted a book that hits home on many levels. It’s a case study for any parent who wants to change the entitlement culture among their kids. But at a deeper level, it hits each of us who long to live our daily lives in a way that pleases God.”
—Ronald L. Harris, senior vice president of the National Religious Broadcasters

“Reading this book will inspire hope, despair, and then more hope: hope that we can get our kids to do more chores, then despair that no, maybe only Kay can do it (she had a book contract!), then hope again—because Kay shows us, step by baby step, how to make it happen, in the real world, with real kids.”
—Lenore Skenazy, author of the book and blog Free-Range Kids

“With unique creativity and wry humor, this sensible, determined mom herds her five distinctly different offspring into an acute lifestyle change; namely, learning to master the inevitable demands of life.… With ‘a spoonful of sugar,’ Cleaning House cools the dangerous ‘me first’ fever weakening our American culture.”
—Dr. Howard G. Hendricks, distinguished professor emeritus of leadership and Christian education, Dallas Theological Seminary, and Jeanne Hendricks, speaker and author of A Mother’s Legacy

“Here’s a book that is designed to help parents get their kids a one-way ticket to reality about responsibility, but I was thinking it would be great to get voters to read it and apply these simple, but brilliant principles to members of Congress!”
--Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor and host of Fox TV's Huckabee  and radio's Mike Huckabee Show

About the Author

Kay Wills Wyma has five kids, ages four to fourteen, and one SUV with a lot of carpool miles. She holds a bachelor's from Baylor University and an MIM from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird). Before transitioning to stay-at-home mom, she held positions at the White House, the Staubach Company, and Bank of America. She and her husband, Jon, live with their family in the Dallas area.

Customer Reviews

The book is a very easy read and includes practical hands on ideas on how to make it successful in your family.
If you have ever thought that you need to get a handle on your kids feeling like you are their maid, or how they will ever make it in the "real" world.
Cleaning House, A Mom's 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma is a great read.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 86 people found the following review helpful By VickyLynn on June 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book isn't specifically a "how-to" book, or a step-by-step manual that tells us exactly what to do and how to do it. It is more of a journal, of sorts, from a mother explaining what SHE did, how her kids reacted, and about the obstacles they faced. She spent an entire year teaching her kids, from the youngest to the oldest (ages 4-14), how to do various chores, tasks, and services by choosing one thing each month to focus on. Things like:

Making beds and keeping clutter off the floor
Planning and cooking a meal, cleaning up kitchen afterwards
Working outdoors (planting flowers, weeding, mowing, etc.)\
Making income
Cleaning the bathrooms
Small maintenance/repair jobs around the home
Working as a Team
Running errands
Service to others
Good manners

There are several Scripture references mentioned through-out the book. One I especially liked came from Matthew 22, and was mentioned in chapters 11 and 12: "Love your neighbor as yourself." This, I believe, was the basic premise of the entire book - to teach our children to think of others rather than themselves. The author says in chapter 12, "At the core of today''s youth entitlement problem is a generation of kids and young adults convinced - dare we admit, trained to believe - that the world does, in fact, revolve around them. The simple remedy: teach them to consider others ahead of themselves."

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. It had a humorous tone to it while giving me helpful insights and suggestions. But, most of all, it reminded me that I am not being a "slave driver" by teaching my kids how to work and survive independently in this world.

NOTE: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for review purposes.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By swtangel79 on June 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
Do your kids tend to think things just magically happen at home? Do they think "oh Mom will do it" or "It's Mom's job since she stays home"? Do you do everything for them and wonder why they do not help themselves unless it involves video games or the fun things they choose to do?

Then this is the book for you!! Kay Wills Wyma wrote Cleaning House: A Mom's 12-month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement after realizing one day that she was failing to teach her children to appreciate the finer things in life and instead to expect them. The dawning of this revelation came the day her teenage son informed her he wanted a Porshe for his 16th birthday. She came to realize he had no clue what a car like that cost or how hard one had to work to achieve owning something in that price range, so she set out to change her children's ideals of the world, one challenge at a time.

Kay began by providing her children a jar filled with 31 one dollar bills and a task that had to be completed every day. If the task wasn't completed and properly, as she saw fit, the child would lose a dollar for that day. At the end of the month, whatever was left in the jar was able to be spent as the child wished and hopefully they would learn a valuable skill over the course of the month as they worked to keep every dollar the jar held.

She began this experiment with the simple tasks of making the bed and picking up their rooms every day. Each month they had to continue with the already learned tasks and learn to do new ones on top of them, from how to cook and clean the kitchen, to laundry and cleaning the bathroom including the toilet and bathtub. Each child had a different day of the week to complete some tasks while other tasks were required to be done daily.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Kerckhoff on May 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is more than just a book about getting kids to clean house. It's about training and motivating kids to be responsible and serve others and have an attitude of gratitude. It's just the thing for most parents in this age. I highly recommend it.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Homeschool Mom of 3 Girls on July 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this for an easy beach read (which it was--finished in one day), and for encouragement, inspiration and direction in motivating my children to do for themselves without expecting others to make things happen for them. I found little tidbits here and there, but especially loved the chapter where her November focused on service to others.

What I took from this book:

"Meaningful Work" boosts self-esteem (don't you feel good after completing a job well done?)

We often underestimate our children's abilities. We often do the work that they are capable of doing because we are more experienced and we can do it quicker, more effeciently, and completely. When we do it for them, we not only take away their opportunity to learn and practice (so they can become effecient like us), we are also telling them with our actions that they can't do it, so we'll do it for them.

That I can slowly incorporate new tasks for my children, to help them make work a habit, not a chore.

Often, after children practice taking the initiative to do the work needed around them, they will be focused on others and not themselves...perhaps we aren't entitled as much as we are selfish/self-centered

Personal quibbles:

For myself, some of the beginning chapters (which the author admits to) are a bit unnecessary for some. Teach them to make their bed...we are thankfully past that. But, I understand that this may be helpful to some. And, it does point out that perhaps many of us began teaching our children the basic skills, but somewhere in our busy lives we started doing it for them because we did it better, faster or more consistently. Sometimes we parents do things out of love or because it is easier than telling them to do it 10 times.
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More About the Author

Kay Wills Wyma, mom of 5 and carpool driver extraordinaire, is a recovering comparer/enabler/procrastinator/controller/grammar hacker and so much more. She is the author of Cleaning House through which she has appeared on The TODAY Show, CNN, Glenn Beck, The New York Times, Focus on the Family, and more. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, she held positions at the White House, the Staubach Company, and Bank of America. Kay lives in the Dallas area with her husband, Jon, and their family.