GORDON Ramsay should take time off from writing menus and write a manual for rich parents.
The celebrity chef says his children won’t inherit his fortune, that families who eat in front of the television are “gross” and that his kids have to fly economy even when he and his wife are flying First Class.
Explaining his policy on family holidays, Ramsay says his kids haven’t earned the right to luxury: “I turn left with Tana and they turn right and I say to the chief stewardess, ‘Make sure those little f*****s don’t come anywhere near us, I want to sleep on this plane’. I worked my f***ing a**e off to sit that close to the pilot and you appreciate it more when you’ve grafted for it.”
In the age of the indulgent parent, Ramsay is a shining light of good sense. He’s a polymath of parenting. Instead of Kitchen Nightmares, where he goes into restaurants unearthing unsanitary refrigeration practices and bum-scratching chefs, he should make a TV show about families. Possibly without the expletives.
Gordon’s Guide to Gormless Parenting would see him bursting into the homes of billionaires and business scions and pulling entitled teenagers out of their palatial bedrooms. First to go would be the parent-funded mobile phones, then the brand new BMWs they received upon performing the extraordinary task of actually passing their driving test. Designer sunglasses would be binned, multiple snowboards sold on eBay and unnecessary handbags auctioned for charity.
As Ramsay might say: “If they want those things then they can f***king well earn them.”
Then, like Supernanny before him, he’d install a chores list, a manners chart and a cooking roster. Once the freeloading f***ers turn 15 they can get a job.
Ramsay’s tough approach on parenting isn’t mean, it’s smart. As cash-rich but time-poor parents increasingly stem their guilt by indulging their kids with expensive toys and designer holidays, he’s correctly recognised that self-worth comes from building your own success.
Even kids of modestly wealthy parents are developing a sense of entitlement. I know one 16-year-old boy who moans every time he flies economy since his parents once let him fly business class.
Another crashed the family car and baulked at paying a small contribution to the excess.
Another mum I know is paying her teen to study in lieu of getting a part-time job and one kid of my acquaintance refuses to eat bread unless it’s sourdough.
Like David and Victoria Beckham who’ve made their eldest two sons get part-time dishwashing and cafe jobs, Ramsay won’t hand his kids a luxury lifestyle on a platter. They rarely eat in his famous restaurants and pay for their own phones and bus fares. His eldest daughter Megan, 18, is at university and gets just $167 a week.
His views correlate with those of author Malcolm Gladwell who uses an “Inverted-U curve” to illustrate that too much of a good thing can be as dangerous or counter-productive as too little.
While those in poverty may struggle to provide basic needs for their children, Gladwell argues that parents who receive too much income are more likely to struggle raising their children to be “normal and well-adjusted”. As he says: “Wealth contains the seeds of its own destruction.”
Certainly business magnate Elon Musk worries that his five kids won’t experience the suffering that he believes gave him extra reserves of strength and will.
“I have the kids for slightly more than half the week and spend a fair bit of time with them. I also take them with me when I go out of town. Recently, we went to the Monaco Grand Prix and were hanging out with the prince and princess of Monaco. It seemed quite normal to the kids, and they were blasé about it. They are growing up having a set of experiences that are extremely unusual, but you don’t realise experiences are unusual until you are much older. They’re just your experiences.”
What’s brilliant about the Ramsay approach is that it’s not simply about money. Billionaires such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg say they’re not going to leave all their wealth to their children while Warren Buffet’s famous take on inheritance is to leave his kids “enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing”.
But Ramsay is concerned with raising good people. He wants them to strive. To have a hunger in their bellies that they’ll feed themselves, not gorge on the proceeds of his restaurant empire.
His views dovetail with those of psychologist Judith Locke who believes the growth of entitlement among children is due to parents giving kids everything they want. She argues in her book, The Bonsai Child, that indulgence and a lack of boundaries is thwarting kids’ resilience.
Her tip? “Treat your kids like they’re on commission, not salary.” Basically, they need to earn privileges, not regard them as a God-given right.
Continue the conversation with Angela Mollard on Twitter @angelamollard
SOURCE: newsnow entertainment