What Is Rich Kid Syndrome?

What Is Rich Kid Syndrome?

Last update: 19 March, 2018

Material wealth doesn’t bring emotional wealth. Rich kid syndrome is real, and that’s why we want to tell you everything about it.

“Once upon a time, there was a man who was so poor, he only had money.”

We live in a society of extreme consumption. It’s no secret that society presents us with numerous products that make us believe we’ll be happy once we own them.

But is that really happiness? Child don’t give such importance to things. In fact, for a child, material objects are just a way to have fun, never an end in itself.

However, it’s reaching a critical point in which kids are now being educated by material items. Thus the “rich kid syndrome” is born.

Rich kid syndrome

Rich kid syndrome is a disorder associated with children who’ve grown up in environments of overprotection and material compensation instead of attention, time or affection.

It doesn’t necessarily have to occur in wealthy families, but also in middle class families who use these material resources as a method of raising children.

Those affected by this syndrome often present the behavior of a “spoiled child” who believes he is entitled to everything and doesn’t ask, but rather demands.

They tend to be  lazy children who have very low tolerance for frustration. They don’t know how to manage not being given what they ask for. They also tend to be violent and show rage when they don’t get what they want.

Rich Kid Syndrome

Consequences of rich child syndrome

These children end up suffering several problems in the development of their personality. When these children grow up, they usually have:

  • Low self-esteem. These children haven’t been able to develop their potential, since they’ve always been given everything without having to do anything or put in effort.
  • Poor emotional management. They don’t know what to do with their own emotions and they provoke a sense of dislike. No one has told them what to do when they’re sad, angry or happy, so they lack emotional management tools.
  • Very low tolerance to frustration. They don’t understand that there are times when you don’t get what you want and that things don’t always go as expected.
  • Aggression. They present high levels of aggression due to the points mentioned above. They usually have behavioral problems in school, family and social environments.
  • Alcohol and drug use. A high percentage of adolescents raised in these contexts have problems with alcohol or marijuana.
  • Low academic performance. They usually show poor school performance as they don’t have the ability to visualize goals in life.

The really important things in life aren’t measured with material objects or achieved with money.

Parental responsibility?

In many cases, the parents are to blame for this syndrome. In an attempt to introduce their children to this consumer society, many parents believe the important thing is for their children to have everything – and if they have two of everything, even better.

Thus, they provide children with numerous toys, the latest cell phones and endless clothes they don’t really need.

Many times, what the parents want is nothing more than to compensate for the time they cannot devote to their child, and they buy things to make up for their absence.

However, this is a serious mistake that can have unfavorable consequences for children.

In addition, many of these parents are characterized by being very permissive with their children, which leads to lack of limits and little compliance with standards.

Rich Kid Syndrome

What can be done to avoid rich kid syndrome?

  • The time you spend with your children must be high quality. Working is understandably a necessity, but the time you spend with your children should be the best time of day for everyone. Try to use this time to play with them and also help them with homework.
  • Establish standards. Children need limits and rules to help them differentiate what is good for them and what is not. It isn’t about being an authoritarian; there are a thousand ways to properly educate without getting to that.
  • Reward their effort. Teach your children that they’ll be able to reach many of their objectives with effort. To do this, help them discover their qualities and empower them. In addition, you can reward them when they accomplish their goal, as long as the prize is appropriate for their age and isn’t excessive.

Check out the first case of someone being exonerated for having “rich kid syndrome” at this link.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Capron, E. W. (2004). Types of pampering and the narcissistic personality trait. Journal of Individual Psychology60(1). Available at: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2004-12532-006.
  • Juul, J. (2012). Su hijo, una persona competente: hacia los nuevos valores básicos de la familia. Herder Editorial. Available at: https://bit.ly/3eIfBA2.
  • Kets de Vries, M. F. R. (2016). Feeling Sorry for the Super-Rich? In Riding the Leadership Rollercoaster (pp. 25–29). Springer International Publishing. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-45162-6_5.
  • O’Neill, J. H. (1997). The golden ghetto: The psychology of affluence. Affluenza Project.
  • Sayer, L. C., Bianchi, S. M., & Robinson, J. P. (2004). Are Parents Investing Less in Children? Trends in Mothers’ and Fathers’ Time with Children. American Journal of Sociology, 110(1), 1–43. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1086/386270.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.