THV EXTRA: The Price of Privilege

    11:05 PM, Jun 6, 2013   |    comments
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    (Photo: Thinkstock)

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Most parents want to provide more for their children than they had growing up, but there is a concern that some kids are negatively affected by being given too much.

    Some studies have suggested that teens from affluent or wealthy families are at a higher risk for experiencing psychological problems. In addition to that, these teens may also struggle with a lack of coping skills after leaving home.

    Madeline Levine's book, The Price of Privilege, looks at this theory, involving a generation of kids that are given everything they want, which can lead to them being unable to cope with reality once they are away from their parents and home.

    THV 11's Stefanie Bryant sat down with four students to discuss life after graduation. Those involved are Ian Goza, who recently graduated from Little Rock Central; twins, Alexis and Haley Hughes, graduates of Episcopal Collegiate; and recent Hendrix College grad, Sung Oh.

    They all said school has academically prepared them for their next venture, but admit they still have some concerns.

    "I don't know if I'll be prepared for the workload or having to get myself places, as opposed to having family members," admitted Hayley Hughes.

    That mentality and uncertainty is what Levine said can lead to a down-spiraling path, creating bigger problems and insecurities in the future.

    "We see upper class, affluent middle class teens, that mom and dad hand them everything they want without hurdles and, that in turn, creates this sense of entitlement," said Ken Clark, a psychotherapist and financial counselor.

    The real problems, Levine said, comes if the kids don't get what they want; that leads to psychological issues like depression, low self-worth, or drug abuse.

    "We see it especially in anorexia and eating disorders," Clark said. "A child doesn't look how they want to look and mom and dad can't snap their fingers and make it happen."

    Levine notes in her book that there are two main indicators that could lead to this: achievement pressure and emotional isolation from parents.

    Alexis can understand that; she has friends who feel that kind of pressure from their parents.

    "I have a lot of friends where their parents check their grades every day. I can't imagine what that's like," she explained, and went on to say, "I have friends who, it will be hard for them because they, don't know how to do their own laundry."

    Oh admitted that some of the disorders he battled with as a child became worse when he left home and went off to college. But at least two of the teens interviewed said other people were able to help them.

    "I've always had issues with anxiety and those issues flared up," Oh said. "But, just meeting new people helped me cope with that."

    Goza echoed that peers help him cope with life.

    "It's important for me to surround myself with people who favor academics and success to be important and who also know how to let loose responsibly."

    Clark said an extremely important task for young adults to master is to handle their money well.

    "Being financially responsible, being comfortable with delayed gratification, that's all an outcome of being financial literate," Clark said.

    While Levine's book primarily focuses on teens from affluent families, Clark said he has also seen this type of behavior in children of poor or low-income parents.

    He said the important factor for parents is to make sure and instill their children with the appropriate coping skills they will need to succeed and be confident away from home.


    Raising Healthy Wealthy Kids: http://on.kthv.com/13eT5CN

    VIDEO - Raising Competent Children in Affluent Families: http://on.kthv.com/19N3eM7


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