Children of wealthy parents are increasingly being identified as having more problems with their mental health due to the pressure those parents put on their kids to achieve high grades. As Martin Evans from The Telegraph reports, children with parents who earn in excess of 100,000 GBP (~$150,000 USD) per year are twice as likely to develop problems with depression and anxiety.
Researchers have discovered that problems with drugs, appetite, self-harm and neuroses are common in wealthy teenagers. The more school work and after school activities are piled on top of the children, the more severe the problems become.
The American psychologist who carried out the study said many children were finding it impossible to live up to the expectations being placed on them by their rich and successful parents.
Psychologist Suniya Luthar said that the pressure is coming not only from their parents but also from friends, teachers, and sport coaches. This leaves the child with an overwhelming feeling of having to live up to something that they have not set for themselves, and that is not a challenge that every kid is prepared to handle. What happens as a result is a variety of mental problems, which ironically reduces the ability of the kids to reach their potential.
Miss Luthar said: “The evidence suggests that the privileged young are much more vulnerable than in previous generations. I have spent the last decade researching why this is the case. The evidence points to one cause: the pressure for high octane achievement.”
Pressure can begin at quite a young age with competition for school places and testing at primary level forcing children to recognise the need for success, early on.
Furthermore, activities that should be fun such as music and sports lessons are becoming increasingly competitive to a point where it is the parents who are competing as opposed to the children.
The pressure of schools is imposed right until the very end when they have to study for their exams in order to get into their chosen university.
The desire to secure a place at a top university only increases the academic stresses placed on youngsters, but pressures are now also being applied in activities that were supposed to be fun.
Miss Luthar’s work was published in Psychology Today and in the Journal of Development and Psychopathology. The work showed how the wealthy children clearly suffered mental problems much more readily than the national average.