Book Review: The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids by Madeline Levine, PHD
If there could be only one book imbedded in your child’s placenta at birth, this should be it. Especially for parents fortunate enough to live in higher than average income areas, where higher than average angst lives, breathes, and flourishes. I found myself on pages 28 through 30 and embarrassed to point out just how many other pages completely and utterly described me as a parent. All well intentioned neurosis to be sure. And yet…
An Unexpected Epidemic
Dr. Levine goes through the frightening statistics behind the mental health epidemic that affects children of affluent families at a much higher rate: 22 percent of adolescent girls from financially comfortable families suffer from clinic depression which is 3 times higher than the national rate. Why are our children, who are afforded every privilege and opportunity at a far higher risk for depression?
You may not like the answers, and yet….OUR particular children are showing an unexpectedly high level of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse as early as the 6th grade. What on earth is going on? This is NOT typical adolescent angst, NOT a phase that the child will get past, and NOT a natural developmental process.
Affluent Parents Make Not Seek Help
To complicate matters further, Dr. Levine tells us that affluent parents hesitate to seek professional help more than other groups of parents. They (we) tend to have strong feelings about protecting a child’s academic records.
More Bad News for the “Good Job” Generation
And perhaps most importantly: “Why Praise is Often ‘Bad’ Warmth”. WHAT?? Our children are products of the “good job” generation. We hand out trophies willy-nilly for no apparent reason! Everyone is a winner for goodness sake. Some of us even purposely avoid competitive scenarios for fear that it may harm little Johnny’s little ego.
Before you climb onto the ledge (make some room for me please) just know that Dr. Levine does a detailed review of what it means to raise a child with a healthy sense of self and specific parenting strategies for raising children from ages 2 to 17.
Bottom line: Read the book. When you’re done, read it again. And if you think it doesn’t apply to you, you’re wrong. Read it again. (For those of you, who know me personally, READ IT AGAIN).
When you’re done, leave a comment and let me know what you think.
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