A rich Texas teenager who received probation but no jail time after killing four people in a drunk driving car crash in June has sparked a new debate about money, power, and punishment after the teen’s defense team argued he was the victim of “affluenza,” or the failure of his wealthy parents to set boundaries.
A symptom of affluenza is the inability to know that there are logical (negative) consequences associated with dangerous and/or illegal behaviors. This seems rather dull-witted and, of course, tragic.
Affluenza is the result of absentee parents, who spoil their children with material goods and unfettered freedom. These kinds of parents give their children everything, except themselves. The children know they are unloved by the people most important to them: Mom and Dad.
Look, you can not spoil your children by giving them everything you can – if you do so because you want to see their delight and personally help them grow happy and strong.
Spoiling happens when parents give their children things just to keep them out-of-their-hair. Spoiling happens when parents don’t want to be bothered by their kids.
By the way, spoiling children can occur at any socioeconomic level. Spoiling substitutes giving (and giving-in) for actual caring.