Children from affluent families often have more choices ranging from what they eat and wear to where they learn and play. These choices have a direct impact on a child's behavior, according to Michael W. Kraus, Ph.D., at Psychology Today. High status children are often accustomed to making choices even at a very young age. This can have a positive or negative influence on their behavior, depending on parental involvement and discipline.
1. Ability to Show Empathy
Children from affluent families can develop a lack of empathy and understanding for other's feelings if they are not properly nurtured. Kraus says abundant social and economic resources allow upper-class individuals to navigate their interactions with the world without always incurring the same social reprimands that come from failing to empathize with others. However, this is not true of all wealthy children. Parents and even caregivers can be directly involved in providing the appropriate amount of emotional attention children need in order to develop the ability to empathize.
Children notice even small things that make their lives easier, such as nice furniture, comfortable clothes or top-notch sports gear, according to child psychiatrist Dr. Robert Coles with the nonprofit peer education network More Than Money. Kids draw their conclusions based on what their parents can provide for them. For high status children, financial resources can inspire their dreams and consistently launch their interest in new activities. Wealth can give children assurance, conviction, and ultimately, self-confidence. High status kids are often taught the value of having a good work ethic as opposed to expecting material reward to come easily. Hard work and personal accomplishment further instills self-confidence from an early age.
From a young age, children begin to define themselves as belonging to a specific race, neighborhood and class. High status children are often taught that wealth is a privilege with many possibilities including generosity. Dr. Coles says many affluent parents teach their children about the negative potentials of wealth in order to keep them from acting conceited, self-absorbed and morally deficient. High status children are often reared with a sense of generosity in the community, either through volunteering or donating financial resources to a worthy cause.
Some wealthy children are raised with a keen sense of obligation to others. This sense of responsibility gives high status children a chance to enjoyably interact with people from all walks of life. Dr. Coles says many wealthy children understand the dangers of an over-privileged lifestyle and are taught humility and the benefits of constructive self-criticism that everyone needs in order to avoid the ego trap of self-importance. High status children sometimes behave with more humility than their less wealthy peers. Conversely, wealthy parents who neglect to spend quality time with their children often wind up raising high status kids sporting large egos as an attempt to conceal low-self esteem.
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