The rich kid syndrome

This article is not necessarily about rich kids. In fact, many kids who fall prey to the “Rich Kid Syndrome” (RKS) are not rich; their parents may only have average to slightly above-average incomes. Children who suffer from RKS believe that they are entitled to get whatever money can buy from their parents. These parents stint and save on necessities for themselves in order to lavish the lion’s share of their earnings on their beloved children and satisfy their desires.

For a wide variety of reasons, these parents, particularly those who have come from impoverished circumstances, take tremendous pride in their ability to buy things for their children. They seem to view their provision of material comfort for their children as the quintessential expression of their unconditional love. Their stance is also affirmed by the Asian culture in which the parents’ willingness to sacrifice their own needs for the good of their children is often glorified as the epitome of parental love.

Unfortunately, these children who are accustomed to these “acts of love” come to expect and take them for granted. Basically, they treat their parents like walking ATMs: they feel entitled to get the money they need to purchase whatever they want, with nary a care of how hard their parents have had to work to earn the money. From their perspective, their parents are supposed to give them whatever they want; after all, their parents have brought them up to believe that this is the immutable fact of life. These children then grow up to become adolescents who crave brand-name clothes, the latest fashion and technological accessories, and even fancy holidays in overseas locations with their peers. Each of these cravings and adventures is graciously sponsored by their doting parents. Parents who fail to deliver on these requests face accusations of not loving their children adequately, especially in comparison to the parents of their peers.

Its negative impact on kid’s character

The awful reality is that these children could never feel fulfilled, satisfied or grateful for their parents’ generosity. Rather, with the passage of time, they have cultivated insatiable appetites, a bottomless pit that could never be filled. Their parents discover only too late that they are running a losing race to satisfy their children’s seemingly endless cravings.

However, the nightmarish impact of RKS is not confined to the children’s attitude towards money; rather, its adverse effects extend to their moral character, which becomes painfully evident when they reach adulthood. Because these adults had not had to experience the hardships undergone by their parents to give them the lifestyle they enjoy, they have failed to strengthen and discipline their character. Lazy and dissipated at the core of their being, they celebrate reckless indulgence in lieu of hard work. They expect to enjoy the fruits without putting in the labor. Worse still, they indulge in the belief that they do not have to take responsibility for their own actions because their parents who love them so much will come to their rescue and bear the consequences on their behalf… until they are confronted with a rude awakening.

The disadvantage of growing up rich

Not being prepared toward obstacles

The reality is that life is paved with obstacles and challenges, which can either break us or motivate us to rise to the occasion. Each of us, armed with unique gifts and talents, is meant to undergo the rites of passage of life that will illuminate our strengths and highlight our weaknesses. How we learn to overcome these obstacles and realize our talents despite our weaknesses is part and parcel of the incredible journey of life. In order to take on life, we need to have the stamina and strength to rise to this challenge.

Not having achievements on your own

“When you grow up in a wealthy family, it’s much much harder to feel that what you’ve achieved is on your own. And it’s much much harder for people to think that what you’ve achieved is on your own. So my children have a bit of a disadvantage — yes, they have money and they have a good education and so forth — but they have to achieve things on their own. And it’s a much harder thing for them to do that. And so I try to let them succeed on their own. But it’s very difficult for a parent to want to just say to their child, ‘Do what you can and I’m not going to help you.’ Because you want to help your child, but you want the child to be independent and strong enough so they can achieve on their own.” – David Rubenstein

Additional resources: Awaking minds

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