Teenage Alcoholism, Teen Drug Abuse, and Trust Fund Addicts
Posted Dec 15 2010 8:21pm
Is the trust fund you have set up for your teen funding teenage alcoholism and teenage drug abuse? As a psychiatrist that specializes in addiction, I see this a lot. In my field, we call this, “killing them with kindness”.
Many young adults who know they don’t really have to “make it” on their own (they have a trust fund), DON’T ever “make it on their own”.
As a matter of fact, a trust fund almost guarantees failure. Unfortunately, it seems to be human nature to be motivated by necessity. If you have a trust fund for your child who suffers from teenage alcoholism or teenage drug abuse, you should call it the “drug fund” or “distrust fund”. Money and addiction are a deadly combination. Trust funds enable addiction by robbing the person of 4 crucial life lessons:
1. All of us grow by meeting challenges we were not sure we could meet. By stretching our boundaries and succeeding, we build confidence and skills, whether it is an academic success, athletic success, or social success.
2. We learn about the value of money by “sweat and toil”. If money is given and not earned, it is not “valued”.
3. “Earning” a living teaches us delayed gratification. You have to wait for a paycheck, budget your expenses, and learn to save.
4. Earning money gives people a feeling of satisfaction. It is an external validation of something positive you have accomplished. You learn the concept of if you work hard, you get rewarded.
Teenage alcoholism, teenage drug abuse, and trust fund addicts go together like vanilla fudge ice cream- all mixed up together. Trust funds provide instant gratification (like teenage substance abuse), large amounts of money available for drugs and alcohol, and they remove the necessity to work to support oneself. Trust funds “disable” and your kids may be using your money to fund their addiction.
A trust fund baby or “trust fund addict” has never “buckled down” or been pushed in school where he/she had to learn the discipline skills and hard work to reach his (her) goals. Are you guilty of making excuses for your teen like- “he had it so hard when we got divorced” or” he had attention deficit disorder and school was too hard for him” or “his father was an alcoholic”…
The take home lesson is to “quit enabling”. Trust funds, more often than not, are damaging. Set expectations for your teen or young adult child that they have to work or do well in school. If necessary, get tutors and have their ADD treated, if that is an issue getting in the way. Get legal counsel on getting control of their money.
Don’t raise a trust fund baby! Don’t fund and perpetuate your teen’s addiction. Support your child in becoming independent and successful. After all, that is our job as parents.