In this ground-breaking book on the children of affluence, a well-known clinical psychologist exposes the epidemic of emotional problems that are disabling America's privileged youth, thanks, in large part, to normalized, intrusive parenting that stunts the crucial development of the self.
Madeline Levine has been a practicing psychologist for 25 years, but it was only recently that she began to observe a new breed of unhappy teenager. When a bright, affluent 15-year-old girl, a seemingly unlikely candidate for emotional problems, came into her office with the word "empty" carved into her left forearm, Levine was shaken. The girl and her cutting seemed to personify a startling pattern Levine had been observing among her teenage patients, all of them bright, affluent, and clearly loved by their parents. Behind a veneer of strength, many of them suffered extreme emotional problems: depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. What was going on?
Meticulous research confirmed Levine's worst suspicions. Privileged adolescents nation-wide are experiencing epidemic rates of emotional problems, more than children from any other socio-economic group, including those in dire poverty. The various strands of this perfect stormmaterialism, pressure to achieve, and parental difficulties with attachment and separationpoint to a crisis in America's culture of affluence, a culture that is as unmanageable for children as it is for their parents, particularly their mothers. While many privileged kids have the ability to make a "good" impression, alarming numbers lack the basic foundation of psychological developmentthe self. They are bland, disinterested, uncreative, and most of all unhappy. And their parents often fail to see that anything is wrong.
Not just another parenting book, The Price of Privilege calls upon us all to reckon with a huge, counterintuitive, but pervasive social problem Americans face as we raise the next generation. A controversial look at privileged families, this book disposes of the "overparenting" paradigm now in vogue, exploding one child-rearing myth after another. Eloquent and utterly convincing, Levine brings the crisis into disturbing focus, identifying parenting practices that are toxic to self development and that have contributed to epidemic levels of depression, anxiety and substance abuse in the most unlikely placethe affluent family.
“Levine’s book explores some troubling and intriguing issues that certainly are worth pondering and discussing.”