TODAY

TODAY   |  May 28, 2013

Mom puts kids to work to end bad attitude

When mom Kay Wyma became fed up with what she viewed as her kids’ “me-first” attitude, she embarked on a 12-month experiment, getting her kids to clean, cook, and even volunteer. She talks about what her family learned.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> more than a few parents out there may feel their kids have come to feel entitled about being entitled. natalie has found one mom who decided that enough was enough.

>> as parents, i think we can relate to this. that's right, this woman embarked on a 12-month experiment to rid her home of me-first kids and create a path to responsibility. for some parents, scenes like this are about as common as big foot sightings. kids pumping gas , grocery shopping, making dinner, but for the wima household, helping out is a reality. but it wasn't always this way.

>> came home, and everything was left out from breakfast, all the beds were unmade. there was clutter all over the place. and i just sat down for a moment going what in the world am i doing. they're looking to me to serve them for everything.

>> reporter: that's when kay began cleaning house.

>> she called a family meeting. she said that we're going to start changing things around here. and that we're going to start working and cleaning.

>> cleaning, cooking and laundry were simply the starting points of a 12-point task list that included everything from the handyman can to volunteer work. kay decided anything her kids could do, they would do. kay says parents tend to overdo for their children. mostly out of love and because they don't want their kids to fail.

>> failure is inevitable. scary, isn't it? welcome to life. wouldn't you rather let them fail in your house? at least there's someone there loving them.

>> love aside, five kids, ages 16 to 5 ridding them of their sense of entitlement has meant taking a step back.

>> i don't know where you put the rolling pin .

>> sometimes i leave the room, because i can't stop myself from getting my hands into it.

>> i think i've become a lot more humble. it has changed in a way that i really can do everything now.

>> he said out loud --

>> kay wrote a book about her experiences and now shares lessons learned with frustrated and overwhelmed parents across the nation.

>> i think it's a game-changer. if they are able to be equipped as they move out of the house and have a society that is going to be a doer society rather than a taker society, i want my kids to be the starting of that.

>> who wants kids that think the world revolve around them? there is a lot more to the world than just them. and that's a gift for everybody.

>> sounds like a good game plan for going home today. i know what i'm doing.

>> warning to your kids. might not want to be there when mom gets home today. what's the one thing your kids do at home or don't do at home?

>> there are clothes everywhere. i'm picking up the toys and clothes constantly.

>> they're pretty good at doing their chores, but the clothing. lela's room looks like a bomb went off.

>> you just got outed by your dad.

>> at some point will she on her own --

>> no, we have to force her.

>> do you assign chores to the kids?

>> oh, yes.

>> absolutely.

>> okay.

>> making their bed in the morning and putting their dishes away.

>> dishes.

>> cleaning up afterwards.

>> how much nagging do you have to do?

>> a lot.

>> to make the chores happen.

>> a lot.

>> and the other thing is, and here is the lesson i've learned. you've got to, as that mother showed us, empower them by even if they do it not as you like, great job. because even though -- the temptation is to go in and refold the clothes or fix it in the drawers.

>> i've got a question for you. what is it about kids and wet towels that they simply can't put them away? they drop them right on the floor?

>> crazy.

>> too heavy.

>>> coming up, today's professionals after checking your local news.

>> i've got a question for you.