To the average person, the problems of wealthy children are unimaginable. A wealthy child’s life is supposed to be perfect. But within the quiet, peaceful, luxurious and rich neighborhood of the wealthy are children who suffer the most from the two most common stigma of wealth; Anxiety and depression.
Although these children are surrounded with wealth and the good things of life, they often fight many internal battles, one of which is the unreasonable expectation they are made to live up to. Not only do regular people expect so much from them, their own parents and extended family members also do so. They are, thus, under immense pressure to make decisions that make the family name ‘look good’. A closer look at these wealthy children will reveal the pain, confusion, internal struggles and doubt they deal with on a day-to-day basis. They usually cannot disclose these internal battles to their parents or friends because no one expects them to have any cause to worry – especially after being given so much.
However, the worries of these wealthy children have nothing to do with having a roof over their heads or worrying about the source of their next meals. Their worries are emotional and because they belong to a world that is supposed to be perfect, they deny themselves peace and happiness in order to please everyone.
Three things have been found to be major contributors to the stress and internal struggles of the wealthy child:
The first is their expectation of themselves. Being born into wealth places a natural demand on you to do more than others. This demand requires that you use the resources at your disposal to better yourself and do greater things in the world. Unfortunately, the capacity to be better, successful and attain wealth does not come naturally to an individual who is born into wealth. These children go to the most prestigious schools where they are taught everything but wealth, money and how to succeed. Their parents who should also help sometimes have no idea how to go about it or are preoccupied with making more money. The discussion about money and wealth in most wealthy homes has become a taboo almost as much as the topic of sex. As such, the weight of wanting to succeed without the corresponding help and education weigh these children down and reduces their overall self-esteem.
The children of the wealthy suffer in their own ways. They might not be in need of money, but they are burdened from the weight of their internal mind battles.
The second cause of internal battle for wealthy children is their parent’s expectations. The pressure to make their parents proud of them, the constant war and emotional divide over family business succession, the conditional inheritance hinging on special kind of relationships, parental approval over certain key life decisions and having to constantly live in the shadow of their successful parents are all borne out of this same heavy parental expectation. Worse of all is that these expectations show up late in their lives when the cost of changing their life’s direction becomes too disruptive and painful. Below are some of the raw feedbacks we got from children born into wealthy homes;
“When you are born into a wealthy family, your parents will forever lord over you. However, if you could prove yourself, by succeeding outside the family business, you will be able to call the shots. My dad uses his money to manipulate us. He has the money; he makes the rules and he made that very clear.”
“I think my parents genuinely view me as an investment and it’s pretty flawed. I have to be who my father wants me to be, because he’s put so much money towards crafting me into that person. I might as well be broke and free“
“I desperately want the label of my family name to come off. I do not want my family labels to define who I am. I want to live life on my own terms. I think that one of the ways to find happiness in life is to figure out your own goals, and forget about the goals your parents set for you“
The third source of stress for wealthy children comes from the society at large. It is almost like being wealthy attracts a lot of hate from the society. People are constantly trying to get at you and take advantage of you.
“You are hated by the media. Somehow, you don’t deserve your money; you didn’t work hard for it, you need to give more, or you are to be blamed for income inequality. If you post anything you have on social media, you are bragging. They have never been such an organized attempt to vilify and defame the wealthy kid like it is today.
The key question for parents is, ‘what are your children not telling you that they are telling a total stranger?’ This is where the need for a wealth advisor comes in. Perhaps the most important role of a wealth advisor is to serve as a catalyst for starting these very vital conversations about you, money, your wealth and how your children feel about it. The focus is to address the fundamental issues and not the symptoms. Your children need help and you should get them the help that they need because the preservation of your wealth depends on it.
We have compiled 38 of the most insightful feedback we have gotten from children born into wealthy homes concerning their fears, concerns and the internal battles.
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Keep preparing your children for success.
Grace Agada-The Senior Wealth Advisor and Founder Create Solid Wealth. Article was First Published in The Business day Newspaper.