Being Rich Can Ruin Your Child's Life


rich kids ruinedThe holidays are here, and so are the non-stop commercials, catalogs, and billboards advertising holiday treats for the kids. Do you know what it's like to have your child beg to see the magic of Disneyland at Christmas every day at 5:23 pm when you drive by the flashing billboard? I do.

The discussion I've been having with my kids, that is certainly getting more heated as the Toys 'R' Us circular arrives, goes like this: Them : "I want it." Me: "We're not made of money." Them: "How do we get more money?" Me: "I would have to work another job." Them: "Can you do that by Christmas?"

While explaining money to kids is incredibly unsatisfying, I recently realized that having them want more of it, was actually a great thing.

I did not grow up rich -- not even close. I always wished we could go on fabulous vacations, and I could have Guess? jeans in time for the first day of school, and that I could have a car. Any car. None of these luxuries were made available to me, but I swore someday (someday!!) these would be mine. This drive led me to college, twice, and to explore living in a variety of cities far away from the farm where I grew up. It led me to a career that I love, and the drive to make it happen. I honestly feel that if I never had to worry about money I might be sitting home on my butt right now complaining about the maid.

Maybe not, but being motivated to change your circumstances breeds creativity. Ambition is coupled with hard work. Being a trust fund kid, however, can almost guarantee you a spot on Celebrity Rehab. Of course not every rich kid falls into a deep, dark, hole. Many go on to work on Wall Street and create deep, dark, holes for others. (I kid! Sort of.) But it can be incredibly difficult to find your way, or to even aspire to be a better person, if you never have to work for a living.

So even though my kids think that it's unfair that they can't have a birthday party at the Staples Center, I know what I'm giving them is something even better: a chance to make it on their own. Plus, I can stop believing that life would only be better if we lived on top of the hill. Mucking around in the middle is a heck of a lot better -- for all of us.

Do you think rich kids are worse off than the rest of us?


Image via Neiman Marcus

discipline, toddler development, toddler toys


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buffa... buffalove23

I have to say...Christmas kinda sucks when you already have everything you would ask for.

honky... honkytonk_kid

Eh. This article is a massive generalization. Some rich kids work their butts off, so do some poor kids. Some rich kids, as well as some poor kids, sit around on their butts. There are far more motivations for people than just money.

nonmember avatar D

"Mucking around in the middle" doesn't guarantee you won't "ruin your kids lives". And not all rich people spoil their kids rotten. It's kind if judgemental of you to insinuate that, don't you think? Whether you're poor, middle class or rich it's kind of petty to judge others for their financial status. You are basically saying you are better than everyone else because you are middle class. There are plenty of families out there that would probably consider your family to be "rich". Being wealthy doesn't screw kids up...bad parenting does.

nonmember avatar l. wilder

Motivation is innate. I was raised with Guess jeans, Hawaiian vacations, and got a Mustang for my 16th birthday. However I've also always been very motivated to achieve, and not necessarily for the sake of money. I went on to get 3 college degrees from great schools, and am retiring young from the multimillion dollar business I started. My kids have wonderful, interesting lives, and advantages only money can buy. Two are very motivated, and one is 'artsy'. They were born this way. The less monetarily advantaged kids I saw in high school? A very, very few were motivated, the rest have crushing tales of woe or quiet desperation. Advocating 'mucking about the middle' as a great life lesson is simply rationalization.

nonmember avatar Mommyof2

Wow. You sound bitter and kind of mean. Instead of focusing so much on the division of classes and who's better than who maybe you should teach your family to be grateful for what they have and that your time spent with them is more valuable than getting a second job to afford more toys. Being "rich" doesn't "ruin kids lives"....teaching them to be so judgement about what others may or may not have does.

Jamie Smith

I don't agree with this article at all. You're basically saying there are one of two ways to live: to be poor and WANT to be rich, or to be rich. How about NOT putting an emphasis on money so much. There's more to life than money. If you really want to become a better person, do it without the distraction of worldly possessions (as well as the desire for worldly possessions). The motivation should begin with wanting to be a better person, not wanting to make more money so you can have more stuff.

ggp143 ggp143

Well... I totally agreed with your article. I feel the same way and it seems as though a lot of the readers on this site are so quick to jump down the authors throat. I see a lot of negativity on here. I wonder if anybody has ever heard the saying "If you dont have anything nice to say then dont say anything at all"


nonmember avatar D

ggp143...don't you think the article itself was kind of negative? Saying Rich people's kids are most likely to end up on celebrity rehab is what you'd consider "saying something nice"?

Ta-ah Christine

I don't think rich kids are worse off than the rest of us. I don't think having or not having money has much to do with the way your kids think about it. It's more what you teach them about it. I agree with the other posters that this article is negative. Maybe she just needed a filler article to contribute to the stir.

succe... successcorpmom

Interesting article and comments.  My husband and I had a discussion regarding our children's college tuition, we would want them to work while they are going to school.  We are considering not letting them know about their funds until after college.  After reading this I wonder if that is all necessary.  We have never wanted to just hand things to our children.  Instilling good values including the value of a hard earned dollar is important to us as parents.

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