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Kimberly Williams you are a doctor of Psychology? Yes. At the NYU Child Study Centre and you are interested in something called Affluenza? Absolutely. What is Affluenza? Well, I'll tell you, it is just as it sounds, it's the illness of Affluence, and it's really attributed to the fact that parents wants so much for their children, they are working very hard in the sense of providing material things, academic opportunities, travel opportunities and you know, you have to create a balance when we start to lose sight of this balance an epidemic created where people are pursuing this wealth and pursuing these opportunity so intensely that things becomes skewed. Self awareness, awareness of your environment, your community, your self worth all start to be very focused on the things that you have. Who is most affected by this phenomenon? Well, you know, I think also the term Affluence really suggest that is this just something that affects the privileged and the wealthy and while initially a lot of the research moves in that direction as I step back and I have worked in so many different diverse areas I see that across the board, there are lots of families who are working very hard to keep up with the Joneses and things are getting skewed, and we see children at that are really losing sight of their self worth and their values and what's important. Is it possible to live in this culture, saturated with commercial media, with commercial messages, I mean even just taking the taxi from JFK to midtown Manhattan I must have been deluged with 200 messages that told me to buy more or I don't have much value. Is it possible to not have some version of Affluenza living in mainstream American culture? You know, what this is times changed yes, the technology I mean these DS system, the cell phones you know, there are there are fantastic things that provide opportunities and open up a world for us, but at the same time you do have to be very conscientious of how much do you have, how much is too much, especially for your children and when are these things really creating functional impairment for your family and for your child's life style. So, what are the more dysfunctional or worrying signs of Affluenza? You know, when you are children for instances feel like unless they have something scheduled or something new or you find yourself bargaining with material things, I will buy you this if you perform in this particular way. When you start to see that happening that's the time that you need to step back and say hey what is going on here, there are often times when children are surrounded by things and opportunities but they still feel very bored, very empty, not able to be creative or work independently without the support of all these extraneous things that the parents are providing. Long term impacts of Affluenza on children or parents? Well, you know, it gets very broad range of different things. Parents working long hours, not have having less parental support, they are often times where children need this this opportunity to to talk or feel the connectedness. They don't feel this connectedness, they feel lonely, and there is things that happen where you connect your friends and so depression, anxiety of the perfectionism, because you have parents pushing so hard you have to get in ivy league, you have to be you know, the star pitcher. So when a child starts to feel like their self worth is really attached to their accomplishment to their appearances or the things that they have achieved the long term impact really is you know, decreasing self worth, anxiety, depression that moves to self medicating and then you know, you have an adult who is not building successful healthy relationships that are able to hold the job and things of that nature. Is this a particularly American phenomenon? You know, that is a very good question that really only studied it is as far as being an American phenomenon. I would have to say that probably there are some cultures that focus on this much less. So how do families avoid this cycle and figure this thing out, they want to generous with their children, they want to accumulate some wealth or financial security but they don't want to do the bad stuff that you are talking about, how do they avoid it? You know, it's really about it's simplest simplicity and sitting down, talking with your children, making connections, making family connections you know, at the end of the day are you tired, are you worn out, because you worked so hard you you have run around in the mini van all day long. Do you know what's going on in your child's life? You have to really be aware. Do you have a child that can sit down and creatively come with their own ideas, is child independent? You want to foster opportunities but you want to foster than to able to be creative thinkers. You know, it's also you know, family togetherness, are you making time to sit down and have having dinner together that's where a lot of values and structure and character building happens around the dinner table. So it's the sort of general values issue or is this something that in some ways require some form of professional help? You know, we can easily require professional help, because what happens sometimes is it gets missed. It's often because especially say you talking about adolescence you are talking about the teenagers, we kind of expect a typical adolescent angst or the teenage moodiness and what we you know, we kind of put that off but there are just 15. I think what happen sometimes is we like the problem go too long to the point where grades start failing or there is a legal you know, issues that start to happen. Then professional help is required. If you listen to your child, if you listen and make connections to your child's teachers, if you know what is going on with your children, then you can kind of intervene and be more proactive, proactive before there starts to be such a significant problem. So for you and your colleagues what are some of the clinical challenges that you have when working with high profile families who have these issues? Well, you know first of all we have to do be very careful to understand that even though you are working with a high profile or very educated or affluent families, they just like anyone else don't really understand the nature of the problem or don't know what it goes for helps. So you have to be really validate for them, that it's okay to ask for help. A lot of times when you have hard working parents and parents that are the leaders in their job, in their community they are used to solving problems very quickly, and they are used to knowing how to put their hand right on the right button and fixing things. So its really hard for them, and you have to appreciate the fact that they come for help, and be very sensitive to that, be sensitive definitely to the privacy and ensure that they that their coming for help will not in anyway you know, cause them difficulties in the community. Another thing that's very important is you have to realize that they often, because the community is so close knit that they really look at things very differently in the sense that you have to separate all children are rewarded for A's with hundred dollar bills, and all children are rewarded for various things with with cars or money. You have to understand that the might be norm in the society, and not and be very careful not to be judgmental. I mean a good clinician knows that anyway but sometimes there is just a little bit of that transparence might be given their ways so you have to be very sensitive to that. So you gave me some literature that had a breakdown called 'provisions of wealth' and there is two sides of it now I want to run each line by you will tell me Sure. what hat do you mean by this, so a little test for you. Okay. So it says financial security/lack of motivation what's the relation? Okay. Easily with financial security if a child feels like you know, what? I get money whenever I ask mommy and daddy for it or I have a trust fund over here that really does it lend to a child being very eager and enthusiastic to do things on their own. And I will give you an example. You know, I have worked with families that have children who may or may not be in school, and they are providing them with money for gas, for partying for socialization, what motivation does that the child have to go out and do things that will be little bit more responsible, to keep a job, to maintain a job, to choose a career, to go to school. Not a whole lot if everything around them is provided and they don't have to work for it. Right. So financial security good lack of motivation dangerous results? Dangerous. Freedom to learn and explore versus laziness. Well, you know if a child has a multitude of opportunities that's a great thing, but are they focused on any one of these opportunities or options that you have provided because its very easy for a child to say oh what you know you know I was doing the karate thing, but you know I don't want to do that so much. Well you know you know, mom and dad back to my band and so I am going to do that for a while, oh but you know I wanted to start this clothing line. So you have a child popping from here to there without learning the basis of that real commitment to do some of the opportunities that you have provided so I think parents have to be careful that you haven't shown your child so, so much that they haven't really established something that they are truly interested and passionate about and can be dedicated to. So finally, stop the cycle of Affluenza, what would you tell a parent who sees this as a legitimate concern and wants to intelligently respond to it? Okay, you know really sit back and take a look and see we have got two kinds of parents where we kind of see this in the sense that a parent that is overly enmeshed in the fact that they are trying to build and develop the perfect family, the perfect child. And so, the child and the parents are so enmeshed and there is so much over control that it's breeding anxiety. And then at the same time you have, the parent who is struggling so hard to keep up that they have pulled back, but put in a set of surrogates and coaches and teachers and and trainers to cultivate for this child. Be careful of that. There is no better relationship for a child that to be connected to their parents. Be there and be available for your child. How did you come to the NYU Child Study Center? Oh well, it was a little serendipitous in the fact that I came here for my internship in child and adult psychology and I was working at Cornell and at Lincoln hospital and I ran across information about Dr. Richard Gallagher and contacted him about a fellowship in Pediatric Neuropsychology and the rest is kind of history I am here and it's it's a wonderful organization, I am glad to be here. Great, thank you so much for you time. Thank you.