A fan sent this
to me the other day.
16 year old Ethan Couch got drunk, drove and killed innocent people. In his trial, he was reprimanded but not sent to jail because the psychologist involved in the case determined that the kid suffered from “Affluenza.” For those of you unfamiliar with “affluenza” – here’s what the article says:
“Before the sentencing, Dr. G. Dick Miller, a psychologist called by the defense, said Couch was a product of "affluenza" -- that his family felt their wealth brought privilege. He learned at home never to apologize if he hurt someone but to send money, he said.
The family let the boy drive at age 13 and let him go unpunished when, two years later, police found him in a parked pickup truck with a 14-year-old girl who was passed out and unclothed, Miller said.
He described Couch as "emotionally flat," but told the court he could be rescued with at least two years of therapy and no contact with his parents.”
Hmmm…I bet you’re thinking that I think this is stupid and ridiculous, right?
Wrong. I don’t. In fact, I have been talking about this since I began writing this blog. Maybe I didn’t call it Affluenza (which is the worst name they could have possibly given it. Might as well have said Rich People Disease or Moneyitis) but I have been saying that if you don’t give kids responsibilities and the opportunity to fail and succeed on their own merit – they will not have the wherewithal to withstand change, pressure and stress. They will be insecure and ambitionless. They will not know how to care for themselves – because parents don't support their children's freedom and development - they ARE their children's freedom and development. In the case of Ethan Couch - replace the word "parents" with "parent's money."
If the kid had a problem, the parent's money literally bailed him out every single time. He had no reason to develop empathy because he learned that his parent's money would cover his wrong doings. He had no reason have responsibility or to get a job or be a productive member of the household because his parent's money either did it for him, or more likely, his parent's money paid others do it for him. He had no responsibility. His failures were paid for by his parent's money and so were his successes.
I believe that this kid had no idea that what he’d done was wrong. I believe that he is emotionally flat. I believe he hadn’t developed the right cognitive skills to manage and process emotion. I believe if he hadn’t murdered those innocent people he would have gone on to live in his parent’s house well into his thirties, forties and beyond. I believe this person would have gotten drunk and driven recklessly many times over, would have never gotten a job and would probably have ended up suicidal.
All of that said – I think he should be punished, not babied. Send him to jail. Sure, give him therapy. But punish him because he took lives. Come on, people. Gross.
Wake up, parents. It’s not too late to start building self-esteem through responsibility, freedom and hard work. Give them the tools of direction and support and expectations – and then let them find their own way.
Because if you don’t – the world will. And they will never be able to measure up.