The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids

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Harper Collins, Jul 3, 2006 - Family & Relationships - 256 pages
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Madeline Levine has been a practicing psychologist for twenty-five years, but it was only recently that she began to observe a new breed of unhappy teenager. When a bright, personable fifteen-year-old girl, from a loving and financially comfortable family, came into her office with the word empty carved into her left forearm, Levine was startled. This girl and her message seemed to embody a disturbing pattern Levine had been observing. Her teenage patients were bright, socially skilled, and loved by their affluent parents. But behind a veneer of achievement and charm, many of these teens suffered severe emotional problems. What was going on?

Conversations with educators and clinicians across the country as well as meticulous research confirmed Levine's suspicions that something was terribly amiss. Numerous studies show that privileged adolescents are experiencing epidemic rates of depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse -- rates that are higher than those of any other socioeconomic group of young people in this country. The various elements of a perfect storm -- materialism, pressure to achieve, perfectionism, disconnection -- are combining to create a crisis in America's culture of affluence. This culture is as unmanageable for parents -- mothers in particular -- as it is for their children. While many privileged kids project confidence and know how to make a good impression, alarming numbers lack the basic foundation of psychological development: an authentic sense of self. Even parents often miss the signs of significant emotional problems in their "star" children.

In this controversial look at privileged families, Levine offers thoughtful, practical advice as she explodes one child-rearing myth after another. With empathy and candor, she identifies parenting practices that are toxic to healthy self-development and that have contributed to epidemic levels of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse in the most unlikely place -- the affluent family.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mana_tominaga - LibraryThing

Engaging, thoughtful book that explores the impact of material wealth in American families. The author offers invaluable advice for child-rearing through heart-wrenching real-life anecdotes. Recommended. Read full review

Review: The Price of Privilege

User Review  - Ylva - Goodreads

recommended during race to nowhere Read full review

Contents

CHAPTER
3
Why We Cant Afford to Trivialize the Problems
12
The Magnitude of the Problem
18
Dont Kids Grow Out Of Adolescent Angst?
24
Why Parents Good Intentions Are Not Enough
33
How Affluence Can Get in the
41
The False Promises of Materialism
49
PART
61
CHAPTER
127
Avoid the Damage Inflicted by Criticism and Rejection
146
CHAPTER SEVEN
153
Knowing When to Skip the Showdown
159
CHAPTER EIGHT
169
The Poison of Perfectionism
178
Handling the Isolation That Makes
186
Dancing in the Dark
194

Kids with Healthy Selves Are Ready
70
Kids With Healthy Selves Can Be Generous and Loving
81
Whose Life Is It Anyway?
88
CHAPTER FIVE
95
Masters of the UniverseAges 5 to 7
104
What Happened to My Kid?Ages 12 to 14
113
Working on the Real MeAges 15 to 17
120
CHAPTER NINE
200
The Fear of Vulnerability
207
The Distraction of the Work Debate
215
Acknowledgments
225
Index
237
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Madeline Levine, PhD, is a clinician, consultant, and educator; the author of The Price of Privilege; and a co-founder of Challenge Success, a project birthed at the Stanford School of Education that addresses education reform, student well-being, and parent education. She lives outside San Francisco with her husband and is the proud mother of three newly minted adult sons.

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