Poor little rich kids – How generational wealth breeds entitlement

03 Feb 2019

BY MPHO KUHLMANN

It is no social secret that having wealth can provide a person with status, power, and open the doors to acquiring education and polish. Wealthy parents seem to have it all under control when raising their children, they give their kids the healthiest foods, the best teachers, enriching experiences from international vacations to posts in their companies but most parents fear that their kids will be entitled –lazy, materialistic, greedy, rude and selfish.

The biggest curse about generational wealth is that you don’t have to do much. Although one might actually want to do something with their life and put in the effort to do so, there isn’t much pressure to earn a living anymore which takes away the motivation to find meaningful work. A lot of affluent parents worry that their kids will become lazy as they become dependent on the money they are to inherit. Often times these kids begin life with set identities and a sense of social and financial superiority, they are targets for jealousy and often seen as a success by their peers simply for being born where they are born. Having too much of everything can dent their personal dreams; they give up their dreams before they get a chance to even create them in their minds. A rich kid simply thinks why would I want anything when i already have everything?

Dr Sethunya Mosime, senior Sociology lecturer at the University Of Botswana says entitlement among kids from wealthy families is worrisome. “It has always been there but it is now becoming increasingly common, not just among wealthy families but for middle class parents as well. Most parents want their children to have the best in life but worry that an access of material comforts may weaken their kid’s ambition.  People worship other people with money, money in our society buys anything - houses, cars, clothes, social status- spouses, friends. These are the people who tip big and pick up the check. A child of wealth and addiction may opt for the easy way of feeling good about himself, depending on what his wealth can buy rather than what he can accomplish on his own.

Entitlement is all too common with rich kids, things always magically appear with or without effort on their part and family money provides them with layers of service that greases their paths through the world and removes frustrating obstacles that others have had to learn to cope with and accept. Children of wealth often may not have had to learn to wait to get what they want, they normally have too much too soon and too much too easily, thus having trouble delaying gratification. A child of wealth may have trouble with boundaries and regulation because they have not had the usual limits and constraints that a normal child has or rather a non-rich kid has. There may have been a constant flow of money while at the same time their parents were busy "buying out of parenting" turning the job over to hired people. The children may have been over indulged with things while feeling starved for love and time. They had too little of some things and too much of others and lacked a sense of what was "normal" to want or expect. The combination of feeling both over valued and undervalued simultaneously can leave them feeling torn inside.

Larona Dintwa  a third year student at the University of Botswana says rich kids  so used to great wealth and higher levels of social class tend to develop a sense of entitlement and that sense can lead to narcissism. . “Great wealth and higher levels of social class can lead people to have a greater sense of entitlement and that sense can lead to narcissism. Most of the rich kids we go to school with don’t need anything; they aren’t really forced to do well in school because they know they will always fall back on their family money.”

Keneilwe Basuping who works at Choppies in accounts says some offsprings of wealthy families aren’t entitled at all. “I think it depends on the wealthy person. Those people, who work hard, get their education, and build up their businesses mostly don't have a sense of entitlement. They earned what they have, and appreciate the struggle they went through. There is always the stereotype that kids whose parents earned the family fortune act like spoiled brats, because their parents wanted a better life for them and lavished them with anything they wanted. Those kids grow up with a sense of entitlement.”