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The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids Paperback – July 29, 2008
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“Useful...clear, sensitive...” (Publisher's Weekly)
“In this insightful book, Levine eschews the temptation to dismiss problems of privileged teens as overindulgence.” (Book List)
“[Written] with clarity and understanding of the culture of affluence and its pitfalls for parents.” (Library Journal)
“Fresh and important ideas about parenting in the age of affluence…” (Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia)
“Levine offers chapter after chapter of practical advice for dealing with family problems.” (Connecticut Post Online)
“[Madeline Levine’s] ideas may be uncomfortable for parents to read, but they’re a wonderful wake-up call.” (Bay Area Insider)
“Levine’s book explores some troubling and intriguing issues that certainly are worth pondering and discussing.” (Marin Independent Journal)
“She treats her subjects as well as her subject with compassion and understanding.” (Chicago Tribune)
“...[an] impassioned wake-up call to parents...” (The Gazette (Montreal))
“This book has resonated in affluent communities all over the country. [Levine is] clearly on to something.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
From the Back Cover
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.
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I have to say, Dr. Levine raises some very valid points about pushy parents and I found myself thinking of examples I have observed all around me each time she raises a point. The price our kids pay is that they are unprepared to face the real challenges that life throws, and that is what gets them to a breaking point very easily.
As I read this book, I realized that I wanted my book club to read it (7 women with children ages toddler to college, and different economic situations) and discuss it. Two of the women just wanted to borrow my copy and read it, however after getting 50 or so pages into it, they both went and bought their own copy. This book needs to be read with a pencil in hand, so you can underline and make notes. Five of the seven women bought the book, we had a great discussion. The advice applies to all ages and we also decided as a group that even though the book is geared towards high income families, the core values taught are universal and it is just an overall good parenting book.
In my own words, here are just a few of the ideas I took from the book--- it takes TIME, interaction, and listening ears to be a good parent, a warm and attentive mother figure is very important, no success (money or prestige) will compensate for failure in your home, helping kids practice and learn self-control is necessary for them to be successful adults, people matter more than objects and we have to teach that to our children, serving others and having your children help you do that is vital, and allowing them to make their own choices (even at the risk of failure sometimes) will help them develop into happier individuals.
As a book club we also decided that aligning yourself with family, friends, a church or organization (Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts) will help to teach the core values you believe in and will be most beneficial for your children.
While the majority of the book is about the psychological challenges kids from affluent homes are experiencing, I would recommend this book to any parent. The book also indirectly points out challenges facing our world and society, which I found refreshing. While we, to a large extent, live in a capitalist world, there are many dangers to becoming a materialistic society. Madeline does a nice job acknowledging the dangers and offering a perspective that is workable within our culture and society.