Monday, May 08, 2006

More on Pesky Rich Kids

Courtesy Erika Brown in Forbes, 10/02:

..."Outsourcing the problem kids of the wealthy is a booming business. Each year 10,000 kids attend residential programs to get off drugs and deal with emotional and psychological problems. Fixing bad kids is a $2 billion-a-year industry in the private sector, growing enough to attract firms such as Warburg Pincus. Some 115 such programs are listed by a big trade group, Natsap (National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs); add nonmembers, and some 300 private programs treat kids, up tenfold since 1993, says Lon E. Woodbury of The Woodbury Report, a newsletter.

"Many successful parents have invested more time in their businesses than in their children, contributing to the rapid growth of these programs," says Natsap Executive Director M. L. (Andy) Anderson. Adds Carol Kauffman, who teaches clinical psychiatry at Harvard Medical School: "We've all gone a little nuts in the past decade with the mirage of fabulous wealth. Children can know how important they are to their family, but if it isn't backed up with consistency of presence, they can feel valued and dismissed, indulged yet deprived." ...

Hear that, celeb parents and other rich people swaddling their babies in cashmere and promising them they'll live a better life than you did?

You don't need a personal umbrella holder to be a good parent, and if your last name is a boldface one, you'll have to work extra hard on parenting those young'uns, lest they turn out to be the next generations Kaavyas and Paris Hiltons:

Too much money + kids = primary school-aged kids in rehab that is more expensive than you'll ever know.

I remember the ultra-rich kids at my high school. One was a really nice, outgoing girl who got along with everyone without joining any particular group/clique. She kept a pretty low profile about her family's staggering wealth and never mentioned her own social standing until her debutante ball hit the papers. The response from her classmates was embarassing, even for innocent bystanders such as myself.

After high school she went to a great college, married well, and took over her mother's position at the Ballet Guild. She's probably produced her own litter of rich kids by now, hopefully ones as grounded and together as she.

The ultra-rich guy from my high school was a different matter: he was so cool and aloof, pulling up to school in his deux-chevaux, new wave music blaring from the speakers. He smoked Gitanes and wore garishly-expensive Italian leather jackets and shoes. He chose not to mingle with the rabble, befriending only one or two people in the whole school. He never had a girlfriend, or attended any parties or games. He traveled a lot, showing up in February with a tan and golden highlights in his hair. Most of the girls found him alluring, the guys knew he was a piece of shit.

I had two classes with him, AP French and Philosophy & Religion, plus I saw him at every concert I went to. He was an idiot, but he pretended to be this great worldly intellect. Most people were fooled, but I'd just spent the summer in France and met lots of douchebags just like him there. He would ask if I wanted to tutor him in French, see his "pad" (which I knew to be the hillside estate you could almost see out the school window), and I probably said something along the lines of "va te faire fautre! And stop trying to look up my cheerleading skirt!"

I overheard him talking to some bum while on line for a concert at the Rainbow Music Hall, impressing the hell outta the guy with his encyclopedic memory of all things James Bond. I turned toward and asked of the World's Biggest Slut if she'd ever been out with him. "Yeah," she said, "he does too much coke, couldn't get it up."

After high school his father was indicted during the S&L scandal. I ran into him again, standing at the velvet rope of a hot nightclub. "You, you, not you..or you" he said to the early '90s scenesters trying to get in. "Hey, don't I know you?" he said to me, peering. "I doubt it, I'm new here" I lied, and he let me in.

He was emaciated (heroin, probably) and balding, but I'd recognize that douchebag anywhere. Poor guy--if he'd had to work a real job all those years, like construction, say, he probably wouldn't be such a sadsack loser.

Rich parents, only you can prevent loser rich kids.


Blogger LisaBinDaCity said...

Although I have to say, being swaddled in cashmere since birth does not sound so bad ;-)

6:06 AM  

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