Simplon Press (2003)
ISBN 9780974653501
Reviewed by Marcy Blesy for Reader Views (03/10)

“Choking on the Silver Spoon: Keeping Your Kids Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise in a Land of Plenty” by Gary W. Buffone, PhD, is a very well-thought out book full of sound advice for parents who want to raise their children to appreciate money, use it wisely, and avoid feeling entitled to it.  Clearly organized, the book consists of three parts.  “Positive Parenting in the Age of Abundance” highlights how to identify children that have developed the silver spoon syndrome, or “affluenza,” and how to remedy the effects.  He defines the silver spoon syndrome as “a specific set of attitudinal and behavioral symptoms, resulting from an inappropriate relationship with money and material wealth that significantly interferes with an individual’s ability to function socially, occupationally, and in several other important areas of their lives.”
Part two, “The Five Immutable Laws of Financial Parenting,” gives sound advice to parents to avoid raising spoiled, unmotivated children.  Such advice includes counseling parents to practice what they preach in their handling of money and their attitudes of entitlement.
Part three, “Living the Laws from Cradle to Grave,” gives suggestions for raising children to have a positive relationship with money at different stages of their life, from age three to adulthood.  This part also stresses the importance of proper estate planning.
I enjoyed this book greatly.  Dr. Buffone does an excellent job characterizing the negative behaviors and attitudes of “spoiled rich kids” while stressing that not all children fall into the traps that can be created by their parents’ wealth.  Some wealthy parents understand the pitfalls that can be caused by instant windfalls for their children and take steps to teach responsibility and accountability, while other parents give their children everything they want only to create unmotivated, thankless children who claim a degree of privilege. 

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I am not living in the demographic that Dr. Buffone writes about.  I am far from wealthy, but I learned valuable tools that I can implement with my own children to help them develop a healthy relationship with money and understand the cause/effect relationship of working to earn money.  Even from a truly middle-class family, I sense my children do not realize how easy they have it, and I plan on implementing Dr. Buffone’s suggestions for allowances.  And doing more charity work, no matter what the demographic, can only be a positive action.  Having never pitied wealthy people, I did take away the realization that sometimes the children of wealthy parents have a difficult time proving themselves for their own talents without people assuming that Mom and Dad’s money bought them their success.  I highly recommend “Choking on the Silver Spoon,” as the book presents useful information that will turn on the “ah-ha” light bulb in the minds of many readers.