Living the fabulous life may be hard-earned spoils for you, but it can leave your children disillusioned and distant from their middle- and lower-class peers. Living privileged puts your kids in an unusually advantageous place in life. But what are the possible pitfalls of giving your kids everything you didn’t have; and a lot of what many will never have?
Make sure your children understand the potential for:
Immediate friends. Feel a kinship with your kids because they share a financial status. Fake friends. Cozy up to the wealthy for the trickle-down benefits of the good life. Undue dislike. Assuming your kid is stuck up and deserves to be treated poorly to “balance the scales." Alienation. Ignoring your child to keep him out of social groups and activities. Targeting. Marking your child for bullying, theft and abuse of any kind. Dehumanization. Seeing your kid as a cash cow, or product of his environment, instead of an individual finding his way in the world. Objectification.Using your child for their personal gains, and seeing her as a malleable object to manipulate.
You can teach your child how to avoid these social pitfalls by instilling in him a solid sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Plus, show her by example how to build true friendships. If your family isolates itself within the confines of the social elite, you will block your child from experiencing the world at large and learning to pick up cues from those who don’t have their best interest at heart. Help her be well- rounded and involved in many class-inclusive activities; especially team-centered pursuits. This will give her a wide range of social opportunities focused around a subject other than money, and will give her topics of conversation to explore that will show her peers she is a whole person.
Distorted reflections. Being a reflection on her family, background, wealth, and society. She can’t live for herself. She has to live for everyone else. Family business. Inheriting the “family business” and being forced into a career to keep the legacy alive. "Poor" choices. Being discouraged from going into a career that will not keep him wealthy, despite great satisfaction. Risk asylum. Living in a prison of money and class with asylum from any real risk. She’ll never know if she can succeed on her own because she is surrounded by fail-safes. Helter-shelter. Being sheltered and out of touch with reality and how his privilege effects others; especially those who make his leisure and creature comforts possible. Withholding handouts. Philanthropy and charity becomes a networking and tax-deductible business opportunity more than a genuine reason to help his fellow man. Or he sees charity as rewarding laziness instead of assisting hardship. Social credit. Being a detriment or credit to society in everyday life, not just in donations and contributing to economic growth. Feeling like her presence in the world make it a better place. Pushing boundaries. Feeling like he and can do, say, think and be anything without consequences or correction. Inner sanctum. Feeling satisfaction with and purpose in life, and living with integrity notfounded in monetary standing, but developed from character, behaviors, attitudes and choices.
Involve your child in philanthropic and aid-based programs early on, and in the least public way possible; so the value of helping does not get mixed in with the rush of being recognized and praised. Show him how to find his passion in life and help him to achieve whatever goals this passion inspire. Teach him to use his assets to better his own life in a deep and meaningful way, instead of to create a larger sense of security through amassing more assets. Show him how to earn on his own terms, independent of inherited wealth. Then lead her to use those skills to teach others how to reach their dreams, as well; making her assets an asset to the community. This will show him how what he contributes to the world is more important than what he has in it.
Insider trading. Receiving restricted information about business deals that are not necessarily legal, but typically beneficial. Skewed justice. Being bailed out of serious civil or criminal offenses by high-powered attornies, high-ranking officials or high-priced bribes. Socio-path. Being sheltered from the realities of legal and social consequences stemming from bad behavior. No real risk and all rewards for bad behavior in life can reinforce a pattern of unkind, uncompassionate and cruel behavior very quickly in children. Lead by example and show your child how to conduct business in a professional, ethical and legal manner. Loopholes and improprieties exist, but he doesn’t have to participate in them. There is a greater benefit to be had by all when she does the work, earns her way, and shows others they can make it doing the right thing. This will bring your family together and help bond you to each other, and anyone without your privileges.
Your economic background puts your child in both advantageous and disadvantageous positions in many aspects of her life. But trying to maximize the advantages may not be the answer. He will build character and learn compassion from facing certain kinds of adversity. Prepare her to fight for her “piece of the pie” and teach her how to earn it herself and be proud of her accomplishments. And showing him how to help others do the same might not be a bad idea, either. Strengthen your family with love and compassion, and teach your child to use their assets to promote these in the world.