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Title: Some Kids Suffer the "Rich Kid Syndrome"

Category: Positive Parenting


      Do your children watch "hours" of TV daily?  Do they act nonchalant when receiving a gift?  Do they want to sit around the house constantly and hate to "play" outside with other kids?  Do they have trouble making friends and relating to new acquaintances?  Do they seem to suffer abnormal amounts of anxiety or frequent psychosomatic complaints such as headaches and stomach aches?  Are they afraid to "participate" in anything because they might not "win" or succeed?

      If these descriptions fit your child, he or she might have "Rich Kids Syndrome", a term coined by Harvard pediatrician Dr. Ralph Minear.

      For several different reasons (many of which are unconscious) we parents in America today over indulge our children with material things.  We may overload them with information at too young an age (almost expecting them to go from toddlers to adults without ever being a child).

      We may overprotect or give them too much independence at a young age, especially regarding dating and sexuality.

      Finally we may sacrifice to give them all we can of everything but fail to put the priorities in order.  In other words, we fail to teach them the basic responsibilities of life.  Solutions to "Rich Kids Syndrome" are manyfold.

      First and foremost is to love our children and give them the one ingredient that matters most our time.  Committing time to each of our children (throughout the 18-20 years we have them) is not easy in today's fast paced world with two working parents or single households - but it is vital.

      Simple things like eating meals together, planning weekend activities as a "family", spending summer vacation time together, and just basically sharing life on a daily basis together lets our children know that they are the most important things in our lives.

      By doing this with our children, starting at an early age, we can model and teach them the moral and spiritual principles we believe in and which they'll need to combat peer pressure to smoke, drink,  engage in early sex, take drugs, and generally tune out their parents and the dreams all parents have for their children.

      By having a realistic, healthy attitude toward material things (through an allowance system, home chores, savings and sharing/tithing) they'll treasure relationships, their faith, and their life dreams, including career goals, above pure material things. In other words, they'll have materialism in proper perspective and won't depend on it to feel complete.  Kids who are taught (throughout their childhood) the joy of learning, reading and participating in whatever field interests them will tend to enjoy higher education.

      As parents we should help each unique flower (child) to blossom lovingly and gently in their own way.

      In summary, we have an awesome responsibility as parents to try to live good healthy balanced lifestyles as models for our children.  We must commit time and energy and several years of loving parenting to each child God sends us.

      Even in doing all this there is no guarantee that our children will turn out "just right", but the odds are certainly better for "them" (our children).


*Reference:  KIDS WHO HAVE TOO MUCH; by Dr. Ralph E. Minear and William Proctor; Thomas Nelson Publishers 1989.