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The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kidsby Madeline Levine
Synopses & Reviews
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 asshe 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.
In recent years, numerous studies have shown that bright, charming, seemingly confident and socially skilled teenagers from affluent, loving families are experiencing epidemic rates of depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders—rates higher than in any other socioeconomic group of American adolescents. Materialism, pressure to achieve, perfectionism, and disconnection are combining to create a perfect storm that is devastating children of privilege and their parents alike.
In this eye-opening, provocative, and essential book, clinical psychologist Madeline Levine explodes one child-rearing myth after another. With empathy and candor, she identifies toxic cultural influences and well-intentioned, but misguided, parenting practices that are detrimental to a child's healthy self-development. Her thoughtful, practical advice provides solutions that will enable parents to help their emotionally troubled "star" child cultivate an authentic sense of self.
About the Author
Madeline Levine, PH.D., has been a practicing clinical psychologist in Marin County for the past twenty-five years. She is the author of Viewing Violence and See No Evil: A Guide to Protecting Our Children from Media Violence. A frequent lecturer on child and adolescent issues, she lives in California with her husband and three sons.
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