Extreme Spoiling Leads to Extreme Problems

We shake our heads at P-Diddy’s latest purchase for his son.

Dr. Michelle Golland: Okay. To any 16-year-old, getting a Maybach ($360,000.00) would seem super-cool — but to most adults who hear this, they are slightly horrified. We know P-Diddy has the money, the recession hasn’t hit him, but it goes deeper than money. It is about his son’s psyche. It is about purpose and meaning — and the lack of it can cause depression and feelings of worthlessness and shame at a core level for a child.

We know that P-Diddy can pay for the expensive car, but it is disturbing because it is so excessive and unnecessary. It feels like it is much more about P-Diddy’s reflection of himself and need to show his power at the cost of his child’s natural development of independence and self-reliance.

The children of extreme wealth and intense family fame have their own set of emotional struggles to combat. We have seen all too often, like in the case of Casey Johnson — the heir of Johnson & Johnson who was found dead in her apartment from a drug overdose — that many of these children go through life lost because all their material needs have been met in excessive ways. When children learn from an early age that they don’t need to be self-sufficient, they don’t develop a sense of reality that possessions come with a price tag and take effort to acquire. For the extremely spoiled, the possessions become pointless and valueless, which can cause them to search for more and more things or seek out drugs and alcohol to feel that same rush of power and extreme living.

The emotional development of these ultra-wealthy children can be stunted because they have not been able to explore their own sense of self unrelated to the family money. The money can become an excuse to not explore their own values, and makes them lose touch with the reality of 99 percent of the world — the percentage that worries about retirement, paying for health insurance, and the impact of public education on our society. Kids from ultra-wealth can become addicted to the feeling of power that their money entitles them to, but they also find out quickly that they can be used because of their money. They can grow up feeling insecure and unable to trust people in their lives for fear of being used or manipulated.

Narcissism and entitlement are two other pitfalls for these kids who have parents who indulge them to excess. Narcissism can lead to an over-focus on self above others. Behavior becomes grandiose, and empathy can become crippled in these kids. Parents who over-indulge are often extremely grandiose themselves. They fulfill their own narcissistic needs through the experience of giving excessively to their children.

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