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The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids von [Levine PhD, Madeline]
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The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids Kindle Edition

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From Publishers Weekly

A practicing psychologist in Marin County, Calif., Levine counsels troubled teens from affluent families, and finds it paradoxical that wealth—which can open the door to travel and other enriching opportunities—can produce such depressed, anxious, angry and bored teenagers. After comparing notes with colleagues, she concluded that consumerism too often substitutes for the sorts of struggles that produce thoughtful, happy people. If objects satisfy people, then they never get around to working on deeper issues. The teen years are supposed to be a time for character building. Avoiding this hard work with the distraction of consumer toys can produce "vacant," "evacuated" or "disconnected" teens, Levine believes. She is particularly useful when explaining common parenting dilemmas, like the difference between being intrusive and being involved, between laying down rules and encouraging autonomy. Alas, while Levine pitches to the educated moms, since they do much of the actual child-rearing, she may be preaching to the choir. Those who need her most may be too busy shopping to pick up such a dire-looking volume. Still, school guidance counselors should be happy to have this clear, sensitive volume on their bookshelves. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Recent studies have shown that 22 percent of upper-middle-class adolescent girls (three times the national rate) suffer from clinical depression--a stark illustration of the old saw that money doesn't buy happiness. Psychologist Levine draws on clinical research, hundreds of case studies, and 25 years of treating troubled adolescents from well-to-do families to explore the rise in mental and emotional disorders among privileged youth. Levine offers portraits of adolescents from homes of parental involvement and material advantage in which the children nonetheless suffer from addictions, anxiety and eating disorders, depression, and self-destructive behavior. Levine makes the case for why these young people are as much "at risk" as those from lower economic backgrounds and how the culture of affluence can stifle self-development. She offers advice on effective techniques to reduce pressure from parents to succeed in school and to heighten adolescent autonomy and self-discipline. In this insightful book, Levine eschews the temptation to dismiss problems of privileged teens as overindulgence. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1037 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 258 Seiten
  • Verlag: HarperCollins e-books; Auflage: Reprint (13. Oktober 2009)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B000S1LV40
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
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  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #368.235 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.4 von 5 Sternen 138 Rezensionen
131 von 136 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The Price is psychologically devastatingly high. Read the book to protect your family from psychological dysfunction 19. Oktober 2006
Von Abacus - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This is an excellent book about how the affluent have adopted undermining values (perfectionism, materialism) and how it negatively affects parenting style and causes psychological neurosis among teens. I am the parent of a teenage daughter who goes to a public high school in Marin County. Thus, we live in the social milieu described by Dr. Levine. The book content was both shocking and revealing to me. When I shared some of Dr. Levine's findings that I could not believe I would ask my daughter about them. Invariably, she confirmed that Dr. Levine was correct. That's how I found out that one of my daughter's acquaintances did cut herself frequently. That's also when I knew that Dr. Levine was onto something and not just sensationalizing another marketable myth about Marin County. Also, this book really is not about Marin County as it depicts a nationwide prevalent phenomenon of teenage psychological dysfunction among the affluent.

The book's main thesis is that teenagers from affluent families suffer more intense psychological problems than anyone thought. Her findings reflects her 25 years of experience as a psychologist working with children in Marin County and her reviewing related clinical studies on the subject. Dr. Levine has extensively referenced the material of the book. Thus, her thesis and arguments are well supported by contemporary psychological research.

The book includes four parts. The first part diagnoses the psychological problems affecting teenagers from affluent families. The second part reviews how our material culture contributes to undermining the development of the inner self. The third part provides recommendation on how to parent to overcome cultural hurdles and develop healthy children. The fourth part reflects on how you have to develop your own strength and independence before you can impart those qualities to your kids. The first three sections overlap a lot as diagnostics of affluent teenagers problems, criticism of our materialistic society, and advice on parenting are peppered throughout the book regardless of the section. Somehow, the liquidity in categorization of the topic does not detract in the book's readability.

Dr. Levine mentions two key factors leading to dysfunctional teen among the affluent: The first is achievement pressure. The second is emotional isolation from parents. She observed that parents are over involved as far as grades and performance are involved but they are often too busy for down to earth conversation with their teens that would help their inner self growth.

The parents' focus on performance leads to the kids' perfectionism that leads to serious problems. Dr. Levine observed that studies uncovered a strong relationship between perfectionism and suicide among teens that are gifted. It is not the parents' high expectations that are the culprit, but when parental love becomes conditional to the child's achievement.

Within the third chapter of this section, Dr. Levine studies the counterintuitive disconnect between money and happiness. Once basic needs are met, apparently surplus money does not make people happier. Dr. Levine has reviewed cross lateral and longitudinal scientific studies that confirm that. For example, the Irish apparently are happier than the Germans and the Japanese. Yet, the Irish GDP per capita is about less than half the Germans or Japanese. Americans are not happier today than they were a generation ago even though their GDP per capita (adjusted for inflation) has nearly doubled.

In the third part of the book, Dr. Levine analyzes parenting by referring to the seminal research of Dr. Baumrind who established the foundation of psychological studies on parenting. Dr. Baumrind differentiates between three parenting style: 1) authoritarian, 2) permissive, and 3) authoritative.

The Authoritarian parent adopts a military style. They think of the child strictly as a subordinate. The parents order, the child obeys. And, that's it. This typically leads to terrible problems during the teen years. Either the teen violently explode out of rebellion or he breaks down. Such teens have often low self esteem, poor social skills, and a high rate of depression. Such child often lacks curiosity and creativity and is unable to explore and develop his inner self.

The Permissive parent is very loving and caring but short on discipline. They think of the child as a friend. The resulting teen is often likable and has high self-esteem. But, they tend to be impulsive, immature, and lack awareness of the responsibility of their own action. They also have lower rates of academic achievement and higher rates of substance abuse.

The Authoritative parent is warm and accepting, but they set clear expectations and limits. They place a high value on cooperation, responsibility, and self-regulation. They value achievement and self-motivation but do not emphasize competition. Authoritative parents promote autonomy by encouraging children to figure it out on their own whenever they can. Such parents support the child's growing autonomy by focusing both on independence and connection. As expected, such household foster better overall child development with lower rate of depression and substance abuse than either of the other two parenting styles. Autonomy, not dependency, is always the goal of such parenting style.

If you have a daughter, I also strongly recommend Louann Brizendine "The Female Brain." She dedicates an excellent chapter to the "Teen Brain." This book informs that female teen behaviors are not only a function of the social milieu but are strongly influenced by an abrupt change in hormonal levels. We all know that. But, Brizendine really educates one in detail about the process and how to deal with it. Some of us need all the help we can get, right!?
150 von 157 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Where was this book when I needed it 5 or 10 years ago? 16. Juli 2006
Von Paul Allaer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I picked this book up almost by accident. But boy, am I glad I did. In "The Price of Privilege" (246 pages), author Madeline Levine, an accomplished psychologist who excels in dealing with troubled teenagers, examines the dangers and effects of teenagers growing up in an affluent environment. ("Affluent" is defined as a household earning $120,000 and more.)

I have to say that I was blown away by the observations in this book, even if, thankfully, I certainly have not experienced the worst-case scenarios described in this book with my own kids, who are now 19 and 16. Among many other things, Levine explains how "rewarding" kids by promising material things ("if you get an "A" on your test, I will buy you X or Y") has a long-term negative effect on kids. Levine also goes into depth about internal vs. external motivation, and why praise is often "bad" warmth for kids. As to "chasing perfection", Levine observes that "the pursuit of perfection is a diversion from the messiness of real life". So true! The main proposition made by the author is that, while of course it is important that we put our kids in a position to get good grades, even more important is that we help our kids with building their inner "self", which will prepare them for the long term. Reason why overinvolvement in our kids' lives is actually counterproductive.

I cannot emphasize enough what a wonderful job Levine does in describing the dangers of putting too much pressure on our kids. Which does not mean that she endorses a "slacker" attitude either. This book is about how we can best prepare our affluent kids for the long term. And it's not like the author is making a hypothetical or theoretical or academic case, giving ample real life evidence from her own practice and from studies around the country. I certainly recognized mistakes I have made, which I now wish I could've avoided, making me wonder wishfully, where was this book when I really needed it 5 or 10 years ago...
76 von 80 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Not just for rich kids 3. Juli 2006
Von ken ross - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Am writing this review for my wife who won't take the time to put this book down since picking it up yesterday. She's shown me enough bits and pieces that I'll do the writing.

When I first saw the title, I sighed. Another book on poor, spoiled rich kids.

We don't think of ourselves as "affluent" but our children certainly are privileged and Dr. Levine gets right to the point. The issue isn't money, but what we do and what we neglect to do for our kids. More time, the wonderful phrase "inviting, listening presence" and less time sticking our noses into every bit of our kids lives. I particualry liked the clear suggestions about how to handle the inevitable problems of adolesence and the difficulties of being parent whether one has a few extra bucks or is just making ends meet.

A good book not only for the "affluent" but for anyone who has paid enough attention to know that all is not right with our culture, values and parenting skills.

Highly recommended.
38 von 41 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Targeted for mothers, useful for fathers too 12. Juni 2006
Von Bill Crawford - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is one of the the few parenting books I've actually read cover to cover. As the father of three young children, I find that most authors are in love with their words and give too many examples, when I have too little time to read. Dr. Levine's slim volume doesn't skimp on the facts or on the suggestions, but never dallies. Certainly, she knows, that for the most part, her audience is busy and often overwhelmed.

I found this book useful for two reasons in particular. First, Dr. Levine does an outstanding job of presenting the facts. While everyone seems to have an opinion about what's wrong with the current generation _- too spoiled, too lazy, too indulged- Dr. Levine sticks to what we actually do know about the adjustment of affluent kids, and that is that they are often unhappy. And that their unhappiness stems from having too much of the wrong things (pressure and material goods) and too little of the things that kids really need (acceptance, limits, challenge). I suspect that to many of us this is not entirely a surprise

Which brings me to the second thing I really liked about this book. In spite of bringing foward a host of rather disturbing realities, The Price of Privilege never feels depressing or makes you feel like you really screwed up. On the contrary, Dr. Levine's generous sharing of family incidents, as well as her empathy and humor, keep us feeling that with just a few adjustments we can do a much better job.

Truthfully, I believe her.
85 von 98 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen good premise, but redundant material 9. Januar 2007
Von Sarah S - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I am neither an educator nor in the mental health field, I'm simply a parent who tries to read widely. I think the premise of this book is quite interesting, it's certainly an easy read, and the book does articulate a set of problems that privileged kids are faced with. But as is typical with social psychology books, it's overburdened by too many anecdotal stories that describe similar problems without explaining the underlying issues. The parents are universally painted as self-centered and too busy yet expecting the best for and of their progeny; is this really the cause, or are there other downsides of privilege tied to larger social phenomena?

This should have stayed a magazine-length article but has been padded to be book-length, with the price tag adjusted accordingly. Borrow it from a friend.
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