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Monday, June 11, 2012

thoughts on: The Price of Privilege

The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy KidsThe Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids by Madeline Levine

A friend asked me to read this book, so I did.  If it had not been for her wanting to discuss it, I would never have picked it up, much less done any more than a quick skim.

Levine begins by describing a mental health "epidemic" among affluent teens, arguing that mental health disorders in these children of privilege and power - the future powerful of our society - has an impact on society at large, and should be addressed as a public health issue.  Then she writes a parenting book.  Her parenting advise is mostly sound (with a few notable exceptions -  I don't agree that drug usage should be considered a normal, healthy part of development), but it is just a parenting book.  She never addresses this epidemic as a public health issue.

Although I liked what she had to say about parenting in general, and thought her writing style was encouraging, I found that not being her target audience made the book a tedious read.  I kept wondering when she was going to get back to the public health discussion, because, frankly, I could not see why anyone in this highly competitive affluent class of parents would care in the least what I think of their parenting or how I could help their children.  Since she did not return to that angle, I assume she doesn't either.

Considering how limited the audience for this book is, I can't think of anyone to whom I would recommend this.  I found Leonard Sax's books Girls on the Edge and Boys Adrift covered similar issues in a way more meaningful to a broader group of parents and kids.

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