January 13, 2008

Experts Help Parents, Children, Manage The Private Jet Question

According to New York magazine the two things every wealthy parent wants to know about raising his kids are: how not to raise another Paris Hilton, and how to keep flying private without turning the kid into an over-entitled monster. Fortunately, there are people for that, like Tommy Gallagher, of the family wealth management group Tiger 21:

“The funny thing is,” he adds, reflecting on it, “if you’re sitting around with the members at Tiger, four or five of them will always say, ‘The most important thing I ever learned in my life is, when I fell down, I could get up.’ And that’s one of the things you’re taking away from these kids. We don’t let them fall down.”

Talking to Gallagher, one realizes that wealth, to some degree, simply exaggerates the instincts and urges that all parents experience. All parents, for instance, have to restrain themselves from spoiling their children at some point or another. And as Gallagher points out, almost all parents, from the moment their children are born, fantasize about being able to protect and help them in a sustained and continuous way. Yet it may not be the best thing for them. I ask if there’s any one particular way his peers won’t allow their kids to fall down. “Yeah, college,” he says. He mentions his days in the brokerage industry, when he’d watch his colleagues stream through the chairman’s office like supplicants, hoping he’d be able to get their kids into the Ivy League school where he served on the board. “The acknowledged understanding,” says Gallagher, “was that you’d eventually need to give a million dollars in some way, shape, or form if your kid were accepted.”

The uglier face of this protective instinct, of course, is wanting to control every aspect of your child’s life—limiting their pursuits, trying to mold them into Mini-Mes. Again, it’s an urge that most parents have, whether they’re rich or poor—seeing their own children as extensions of themselves, fighting their own vanity in order to allow their kids to become who they’re supposed to become. But wealth tests this instinct to the breaking point.

Interesting article, even if you're only worried about the impact of the occasional first class upgrade.

Rich Kid Syndrome [nymag]

Previously: Flying Private: Think of The Children


I used to daydream of always flying first class with my children. Then I had nightmare where my daughter got married and on her honeymoon discovered coach. It ruined her life. Now, I don't sweat the things I can't give her but concentrate on the things and time that I can give her.

Talking about the rich is always fun, but really this problem exists for families even of modest means. You don't need to be among the thousand richest in the world to raise a spoiled and unprepared child/adult.

I think the most important thing parents need to know about before how to the question if to fly in a privet jet or not, is if I give my child enough love and attention.

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