Skip to main content
Report this ad

See also:

What's in a word?

...some words evoke emotions and opinions
...some words evoke emotions and opinions
Photo by Hugh Pinney/Getty Images

With the past year, there had been many new words that were coined. Language is a living thing and it evolves. Some words were fun and family-friendly , like vacay or man cave. These words may have crept into members of your family's everyday conversation. Then there were words that raised questions and puzzlement, such as affluenza.
This word was used by an expert witness for the defense of Ethan Couch, a Texas teenager who was on trial for drunk driving and killing 4 people.
Per the Oxford Dictionary the definition is:
• a psychological malaise supposedly affecting young wealthy people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt, and a sense of isolation.

The attorney cited that since his parents did not set limits on their son, when he broke the law, he didn't understand that his behavior had consequences. The judge ruled 10 years probation and therapy.
If your children heard about this report and asked you what does affluenza mean, at first you may find yourself reluctant to tell them. After all, how many times have you let your children know that the law applies to all people? Yet, in order to explain this word to them, you need to go into economic differences. Also, you may feel discouraged after hearing about this report as well.
It’s times like these to remember that not all people of wealth fall into this category. For instance, there are many foundations that are headed by wealthy people who do good works, such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. Also, in the HBO documentary Ethel gives a glimpse into the lives of Robert Kennedy’s widow and their children. The director and narrator, Rory Kennedy, states that all of her brothers and sisters got involved in charitable works throughout the world, under the guidance of their mother.
After you explain the definition to your children, you can also bring up that there are new developments in the case, such as civil suits pursued by the victims and a call to the Senate committee for sentencing reform. In the end, though it may not be very buzzworthy, there are always consequences for misconduct.

Report this ad