Developmental problems for the child from the affluent family

James Packer (currently the wealthiest man in Australia) has left his position in charge of Crown Resorts to seek help for mental health issues, reportedly depression. He comes from the very well known Packer family and took over from his father at the helm of this very large business.

The following comes from my book on teenagers (The teenage mind). Some kind of economic separation of a teenager from the parents is seen as crucial in the whole separation individuation process or how the teenager forms his identity. This makes it especially difficult for children from wealthy families who can struggle to gain a sense of who they are as the parent(s) ‘shadow’ is so large. And money can be part of that shadow.

“This task can be a especially difficult for children from wealthy families or famous parents. The child of a famous parent can never apply for a job like the average person, when discovered who their parent is they will get all sorts of preferential treatment. Indeed such children may never have to apply for a job because the parent has contacts which allow them to be placed automatically in employment. With wealthy parents there is so much money around the child is never in the position where they have to get a job to ‘survive’. Even if the parents actively seek not to let the children be effected by the money it is very difficult not to at some level even if it is not direct money but things money can buy. The ripple effect is still present. With economic independence one is wanting the following to be achieved:

*Economic independence from parents

*Reasonably accurate estimate of one’s abilities

*Selection of a field of work in which success is possible. Seeking a job that is needed by a society.

*Completion of enough training to get started in one’s career

*Realising the need to work

*Being able to maintain workplace relationships such that employment remains possible.

*Maintaining economic independence.”

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If one never achieves these then they can never get a complete sense of who they are. They have never had to fly from the nest and prove to self that they can do it. Living through the hard times in life can do wonders for the self image. When a child or teenager does this that enhances the self esteem and this is especially difficult for the child from the wealthy family to achieve.  The child from the wealthy family is more likely to be left with the question – Who am I?

Of course I am speaking generically here as I have never met Mr Packer.

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One Response to “Developmental problems for the child from the affluent family”

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  1. Maria says:

    I met similar dynamics in very symbiotic families , where children are raised in strong dependence with their parents. For example a narcissistic parent who wants that the child to do what the parent failed.
    Another situation , when the parent lives through the child and believes that the child is not able to become independent avoiding recognition of his/her own anxiety or useless.

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