"Rich Kid Syndrome": A Mindset that Results from Parenting
Rich kid syndrome is also known as “affluenza.” However, it doesn’t just refer to the kids of wealthy parents. It has to do with giving children everything that they ask for without requiring them to do anything for it. It’s a situation that generally occurs in high-income families.
However, it’s a pattern that also can take place in middle-class families where parents try (very often without knowing) to meet their children’s physical and emotional needs with material goods.
The point is that children don’t really demand material goods, but rather want to reinforce the bond and their affective needs. Therefore, you have to show them that they are loved and share activities and games with them.
Besides, over-gifting a child and acceding to all their requests isn’t one of the best ways to educate. What will happen when they have to manage in society on their own?
What are the origins of the term “rich kid syndrome”?
Although psychiatric associations don’t consider the rich kid syndrome to be an official clinical diagnosis, people started to use the term since the 90’s. It first appeared in the book The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence.
Jessie H. O’Neill explains how spoiled children in wealthy families exhibit irresponsible behavior and a lack of empathy. This is a direct consequence of overprotection and making up for lack of time with gifts and money.
How can we know if we’re sowing the “rich kid syndrome” in our kids?
You don’t need to have a lot of money to suffer from this syndrome. In fact, cases of affluenza are more and more common in children and teens of middle-class families.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Sociology, parents today, because of their responsibilities or the effort to position themselves economically, don’t devote enough time to raising their children.
The first signs of rich kid syndrome
One of the first signs of rich kid syndrome, according to various studies, becomes apparent when the child expresses boredom relatively frequently. This happens despite having a room full of toys and all kinds of trendy technological gadgets.
If you want your children to calm down, or to prevent tantrums, you may result to giving them something material. Unfortunately, however, this encourages this syndrome. On a further note, if you give them a prize for everything that they do or for behaving well, it can have the same negative effect.
Another way that you might be encouraging rich kid syndrome is by buying them expensive gifts even if there’s no special occasion, or by sacrificing family needs in order to buy a something special for your children. These kinds of attitudes actually are a hazard to children’s emotional and physical health.
The consequences for a child’s physical and emotional health
- Most affected children develop a low self-esteem and lose motivation.
- Children become unable to tolerate frustration because they believe that they deserve everything.
- They don’t confront their own problems. Children believe that mom and dad will always come to solve them.
- Their insensitivity makes them irresponsible and lack discipline.
- They show high levels of stress and anxiety in academic failure.
- Children have a hard time keeping harmonic relationships with their classmates.
- They become nervous and irritated for trivial things and become very unhappy as a result of them.
- Children often engage in harmful behavior such as alcohol or drug use.
Can we prevent it?
In the book Your Child, a Competent Person: Towards New Family Core Values, family therapist Jesper Juul states that children need to understand that there are responsibilities within the home that they must fulfill, without having to be rewarded for it.
Teach them to set the table, take out the garbage, and help clean and tidy their room. These activities will reinforce their values.
Parents also have to get children in touch with the real world.They should learn how to value what they have as well as how to respect others. As parents, we shouldn’t over-protect them. On the contrary, we should offer them the tools that’ll help them confront their own problems.
Being strict with children is an act of love, too. By doing so, parents can help kids grow with the correct ethics and emotions. You’re also loving your child when you put limits on them. They need to put in effort to get what they want.
Frustration is also a part of learning, and learning how to deal with it is essential. By teaching them about it, you’ll encourage their emotional and psychological development that’ll help them be a happy adult.It might interest you...