I've been seeing quite a lot of hype about this book in blogland, so I was excited when I was asked to review it.
I have devoured it. Devoured. And I am excited to implement the principles I've learned in my own household.
In the introduction, The Eyres explain how entitlement is the "one reason parenting is harder today than it has ever been." And then they go on to explain that entitlement comes from a lack of ownership. Children are given so much and little is expected of them. It took much more work to keep a household running 50 years ago than it does today, and children really had to help out.
Even though I feel like there is no way I can run my household effectively without help, and I do try to involve my children in the work, I realize that I don't expect nearly enough of them. I find myself justifying this because they have so much homework, music practice (which is a priority in our house) and other activities to do. But after reading this book, I am realizing that my girls don't take ownership of nearly enough.
Each chapter addresses ways to give our children ownership and a sense of equity in the family. I liked the focus on children having an inherent sense of justice, and that they do need to feel that they are equal members in the household. Giving them ownership helps them feel that, helps them to avoid feelings of entitlement, and to boot, helps me. Definitely a win-win situation.
Some of the chapters include:
Ownership of their own money
Ownership of their own stuff
Ownership of their own values
Ownership of their own goals
Ownership of their own bodies
Ownership of education
Ownership of relationships and conflicts
I am really big on personal responsibility in my house, just ask my children. I never allow them to blame others for their actions. But this book has made me realize how much further I need to go with personal responsibility and ownership. I loved it.
And, lucky for me, it goes really well with this week's goal in my Project Walking into a Hug: Create Work. Having specific responsibilities in the household will help my children to feel ownership. I have gone through so many freaking systems and lists and charts to get them to do their chores, but I haven't been able to come up with something that really works. There are good ideas in the Eyre's book, and I will keep on trying until we find the magic thing. And I will keep on making my children work.
The thing about these systems is that I have to also be on board and willing to do whatever it takes to make them work, and that is perhaps why they haven't worked so well in the past. I have said it before, and I'll say it again: I hate schedules and charts and stuff that makes me feel beholden to schedules and charts. But I am working on it. I am happier when I get things done, therefore I am happier imposing some sort of order and schedule on myself.
And, huh. Probably my children will be happier, too!