Several families have had their holiday season turned upside down with the devastation “affluenza” sufferer, Ethan Couch and spoiled psychology has caused. With the court so leniently awarding Ethan his freedom, and a long probation, one can only hope he will experience some serious consequence for killing four people and paralyzing another.
This story is tragic from the beginning. It is a perfect example of how requiring licensure to raise a child might be a good idea. When a child is not taught anything of value he will not learn anything of value. If this boy’s parents had not been allowed to so blatantly neglect their parental responsibilities the legal system would not be rushing to poorly rectify the problem that is Ethan Couch. He has been both horribly spoiled and deprived at the same time, leaving him with the “emotional age of 12.”
For people who are smart enough to own a multi-million dollar business, these two parents were completely clueless about what their (parental) job description entailed. If they did not have it in their hearts to ever say “no” to their son they could have at least paid for a decent nanny to do all the dirty disciplining work for them.
One thing is for certain, this year Ethan has made it onto Santa’s “naughty” list. If only his parents would have left the option open in their son’s mind that even though they don’t like to punish him the world still will, he might be sitting at home this holiday season.
Go ahead, if anyone lacks the commitment and self-assurance to punish their child but rather insists on saving face, at least tell the kid the fat man did not bring any gifts because they were naughty. Whatever the approach, do not let a child grow up thinking discipline and Santa Claus are equally mythical.
Where was the village when this boy needed raising? Did nobody notice that he was headed for danger? It looks as though there might be some repercussions after all, as multiple lawsuits have been filed against the family. How to pay one’s way out of trouble is unfortunately the most recent lesson this kid has learned, but having the family’s wealth depleted due to his foolish actions might leave a lasting impression. Nobody should count on it though.
It is unbelievable that the judge was supportive of the “affluenza” defense and the spoiled psychology behind it. If this kid never learned right from wrong because he never had consequences for his actions or was taught to pay people for his mistakes, she just confirmed his faulty belief system. His parents just supported him through yet another gross demonstration of filthy exorbitant wealth.
The effects of Couch’s actions are atrocious and long lasting. He continues living with his usual creature comforts while others are left with no life at all.
In a system of extreme disciplinarian tactics in which grade-schoolers are suspended for pretending a pop-tart is a gun, or kissing a girl on the hand is called “sexual harassment” kids have got to be confused. Adults are confused. Why are young kids with minor infractions handled so harshly, but the kid gloves get put on for a spoiled rich teenage killer?
It is true that people are products of their environments. Every experience in life helps to shape a person. Just because this one child was not taught right from wrong by his parents he still lived in a world where he was consciously present enough to learn the concept based on observation. Isn’t stealing something and doing so in a concealed manner indicative of knowing the difference between right and wrong?
If Ethan Couch had been so severely impaired by his affluence (and resulting affluenza) that he should not have to go to jail for killing people it seems unlikely that he wouldn’t already have a very long track record. It would fit that teachers and school counselor’s would be reporting on Ethan being constantly in trouble because he just did not get it. There are poor kids who do act this way, end up in jail and will never walk free based on a defense that it was not technically their fault. This is not the case for Ethan though.
The prison and legal system as it is today needs to be thrown out. Until it is fixed though, save second chances for people who really deserve them. If we allow people with an organic brain disorder like schizophrenia to sit in solitary confinement there is no reason why a spoiled brat should not be made to join them.
In an age where we are changing the definition of everything with spoiled psychology “criminal” will be an illness and affluence (“affluenza”) a disability. “Wrong” can be politely reserved for the actions of those who sent a selfish child and killer of four to a resort-like treatment center as punishment.
Opinion by Lara Stielow