In the wake of the successful defense of a 16 year-old boy who killed four innocent people because he was drinking and driving, the term “Affluenza” has been making a resurgence. In case you’ve missed the story, his lawyers argued that he wasn’t aware that it was wrong to engage in what is universally understood to be reckless and dangerous behavior because he was spoiled by his wealthy parents. He got off with probation.
Yeeeeeeeeeah. Basically he was let go because he was just too darned rich to really GET how the most basic rules of society work.
This has been resoundingly criticized by most … including the researchers who popularized the term 20 years ago. As a self-professed slacker parent, the notion of spoiling my children is ludicrous to me.
The main goal of parenting is to create happy, healthy, productive members of society. Spoiling your child and treating them like they are the center of the universe is certainly not going to do that.
I thought I’d share with you a few ways we can make sure our kids don’t suffer from Affluenza:
- Kids should have chores. Bathrooms don’t clean themselves. Those dishes don’t do themselves. Neither does the laundry. Bonus: you don’t have to ever fold clothes again.
- Let your kids know they won’t be getting a car on their 16th birthday. Bonus: If in a foul mood, just think of a brand spanking new sports car in the driveway with a big bow on it. Never gonna happen. Bonus bonus: No extra car payment!
- Let your kids wear hand-me down clothes. Bonus: Convince them that it’s actually COOL to wear your big brother’s old tee-shirts. Vintage is how to spin it.
- Have the big kids help the little kids when a bike chain needs to be fixed or when shoes need to be laced. Bonus: you don’t have to get your hands dirty.
- Have those big kids also volunteer at the local food bank occasionally. Not every month … they are kids and have school and homework and sports and those aforementioned chores. And they also need plenty of time to just play and hang out. Bonus: They learn that giving back to the community is part of being that productive member of society, and despite all of mom and dad’s rules they really are pretty lucky. Seriously.
What’s your favorite way of not letting your kids contract Affluenza?