Book Review- The Price of Privilege

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The Price of Privilege

I’m blessed.

Or lucky.

Or however you choose to look at it.

I was born in a great country to parents who wanted me and loved me. I’ve always had enough. I’ve never known hunger; I’ve never feared for my safety. I didn’t deal with any of the heartbreaking issues children must contend with daily all over the world.

However, I did know a bit of struggle. I did not get everything I asked for. I had to wait for a birthday or holiday for a big ticket item and then it was a huge deal. We didn’t take a vacation every year. Going out to dinner was a treat. When I was 14, although I got the new pair of sneakers everyone was wearing at the beginning of the school year, by December, I wanted another pair so I got a job and I bought them myself. I can still remember how badly I wanted them and the pride I felt when I went to the mall and bought them with the money that I had earned. Without a doubt, I feel these experiences shaped me into the hard working, responsible, grateful person I am today.

Fast forward to the life my kids are living. Dinner at restaurants many adults dream of going to. Multiple vacations a year. Sporting events, concerts- all with amazing seats. They will not have to take out loans in order to go to college. I am blessed to give them this life and they are certainly blessed to be living it.

But can having too much actually hurt your kids? That is the big question that this book sets out to answer and the short answer is a resounding YES.

“In spite of their economic and social advantages, affluent and well educated families experience the highest rates of depression, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, somatic complaints and unhappiness of any group of children in the country”

Wow. Intuitively I knew that too much of anything is never good but that statement took my breath away.

Some other interesting thoughts/findings the author discusses—

“Many affluent women have active social lives but few real friends; they have marriages with too little intimacy”

“Affluent moms tend to pour all of their unrealized ambition into their kids”

“Affluent parents as a group underestimate the impact of our absences and overestimate the degree of closeness our children feel toward us”

It’s a lot to take in.

It’s a lot to contemplate.

But they’re all ideas that are worthwhile to at least examine.

While reading, I found myself wishing there were more strategies to combat the negative side of affluence. I also found the book to be a a bit repetitive at times but overall, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Let me know if you do and what you think!

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8 thoughts on “Book Review- The Price of Privilege

  1. I worked since I was 12 before working papers and got fired for working underage as a busgirl. Yes I wanted those designer jeans.. So I worked at Louis, a dry cleaner, a law office, food for thought, the Jolly…and more. Always knew and still know the value of a dollar, hard work and that life is full of sacrifices. That’s it. Book has valuable points. Don’t just tell your kids about it.. Show them and they will follow.

    • I agree completely which is why my oldest works and the middle one gets a weekly allowance to use towards all those “extras”. She gets to decide what is worth it and believe me, when she has to use her own money, it often becomes unnecessary.

  2. It’s SO important to understand the value of things and that we shouldn’t just give them everything they want! I have worked since I was 14 years old so that I could buy myself things I wanted since my parents didn’t have the money. It was hard on me since we grew up going to a school where each kid got what they wanted and none of them had to work for it… But there is something to be said for being able to buy yourself what you want when you want it with your hard earned money! It’s all a balancing act that we as parents need to figure out … So we do t spoil them with materialistic stuff but give them special gifts once in a while…. Cause it’s always priceless to see their face and we love that instant gratification!

    • You’re totally right- it’s all about balance. Being able to give them the things we didn’t have is truly a blessing but we have to figure out how to impart a work ethic and gratification.

  3. I couldn’t agree more! I’ve also been working since I was 14. My parents did not have it easy and I have always known whatever they bought for me they worked hard for. They told me that if I wanted a car I would have to prove to them that I would be able to pay the monthly payment if something happened to them. I worked hard and loved the freedom of knowing if I wanted something I could get it but I had to work for it. I see so many kids not even realize what their parents do for them and it’s sad. I’ve always been so grateful for my parents sacrifices and I believe that comes from not having lots of money growing up. Now that I have a my own daughter my husband and I talk about that often. We are so fortunate that we don’t struggle but we want our daughter to grow up not necessarily knowing that we are so comfortable. We believe this will ground her and make her an empathetic person.

    • I like the idea of not letting them know how comfortable you are. I read somewhere that they should never have any idea how much money you have and everything, no matter how big or small, should be received with gratefulness.

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