Because I do get out of the kitchen sometimes,
And being a Mom, I am concerned about more than what we eat,
And because I am an avid reader,
I think that anything that makes you step out of your box and take a look at your life and values is worthwhile. And so I think this book is a good read because it does just that.
Basically the book addresses why "privileged" adolescents in "affluent" families are experiencing epidemic-like rates of depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse. While Levine calls this the price of privilege, I think it is more the price of modern culture. I see parents, affluent or not, who are way too into their kids and who push way too hard. Some parts of our culture have forgotten what is important and have given too much credit to the value of status, money, achievement. It is almost a national pass time to see just how scheduled we can make our kids lives. One of my favorite quotes was from a child who wished "her Mother would get a hobby other than the me."
I've seen myself fall into this trap as I have been overly concerned with my child's grades and achievement.
The Price of Privilege reminded me of the priorities we need to set for our families. On more than one occasion I have let my daughter's chores slide because she had soccer after school and then needed to start on her homework. Yes, I still think that on really, really busy nights this is okay but as Levine points out:
. . . kids should have chores and should be expected to contribute to the family. Worrying that kids won't be able to maintain their grades if they are expected to straighten their room . . . is a sign of misplaced priorities. Certainly grades are important . . . but academic competence is only one part of what children need to learn in order to be productive, emotionally healthy, good people.
Rather than focusing on the end results of academic, or for some families athletic, achievement we need to focus on the character of the child.
Status, money, possessions, achievement, the school your child goes to, or the grades he gets, are not factors that contribute to the development of a healthy sense of self.
the self is born in the crucible of interaction between parent and child. Every time we encourage exploration, applaud independence, and require self-control we help our children grow into their best selves.
Can you imagine what future generations will be like if we don't also instill the values of responsibility towards others, altruism, self control, in the current generation? Levine does more than just bring attention to the issue, she also gives practical parenting tips.