How Do High Status Kids Behave?

by Kimberly Dyke

    The idea of being content with what you have is often lost on kids who are well-off financially or who are working their way up the social ladder. Without professional help, parental involvement or corrective behavior, high-status children become high-status adults. Though you cannot cast all high-status kids in a harsh light, families should be aware of potential behavioral problems.

    Pressure to Achieve

    According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, children of affluent families tend to feel intense pressure to achieve in academics and other areas of life. When these kids experience failure, it can lead to depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Often the children value their accomplishments over their personal character, according to Columbia University professors Suniya S. Luther and Bronwyn E. Becker in 2002 study titled "Privileged but Pressured? A Study of Affluent Youth." Many parents fill their children’s days with activities that look appealing on a college application without considering that busy schedule is negatively affecting their child.

    Isolation from Adults

    High-status children often come from dual-income homes and are left home along for several hours each week while parents work. Spending so much time alone and then being taken from one activity to the next can limit the amount of time children interact with their parents. This physical and emotional distance from their family can lead to isolation and substance abuse, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Simply having dinner together regularly can improve a child’s self-worth and school performance.

    Among Peers

    When looking at suburban kids, having a high status among peers often correlates with displays of low academic effort, disrespect for authority and substance abuse among boys, according to Columbia University professors Suniya S. Luther and C. Sexton in 2004 study titled "The High Price of Affluence." High-status girls can be aggressive and achieve popularity based on being physically attractive. Ultimately, the students value attributes that jeopardize their overall welfare.


    The University of Toronto and the University of California, Berkeley, performed seven different experiments observing behavior of upper-class kids. Each experiment demonstrated that the high-status kids were likely to participate in unethical behavior. A 2009 study by Simona Caravita and Paola Di Blasio from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, along with Christina Salmivalli from the University of Turku, shows that the most popular teens are more likely to bully or tease other kids to help gain social status. Regardless of their advantages, the upper-class children are at-risk of poor behavior choices, making bad grades in school and dabbling with substance abuse.

    About the Author

    Kimberly Dyke is a Spanish interpreter with a B.A. in language and international trade from Clemson University. She began writing professionally in 2010, specializing in education, parenting and culture. Currently residing in South Carolina, Dyke has received certificates in photography and medical interpretation.

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