Six Ways to Consider Privilege, from newest RIISE Advisor, Delia Farquharson, LCSW

Meet Delia Farquharson, mother of two indy school girls of color, practicing therapist, and blog radio talk-show host of Discussion with Delia. Our network is delighted to have the resources and support of a professional like Delia whose really inspired to guide us along our academic, social and emotional encounters in independent schools, “Educating the next generation is a cause I feel very strongly about. I am happy to lend my skills to this cause.”

Our encounters as families of color are unique. As our schools promise exceptional educational opportunities they also offer dynamic social contexts. Delia’s here to help us acknowledge and address contexts in ways that empower us with skills for success.

We really look forward to benefitting from the wisdom of her work. Today, Delia asks us to consider privilege, on a continuum. Thanks Delia!

Delia Farquharson, LCSW

Delia Farquharson, LCSW


Sitting down to write on the issue of privilege, I reflect on the fact that I never had a preparatory conversation with my own two children on how to deal with existence of privilege in either of their independent schools.

It dawns on me that I did not feel the need to. A recent conversation with my younger daughter confirms now, what I subconsciously believed then, I did not need to have that conversation.

If you are engaging in or embarking on this independent school experience, likely your children enjoy a certain level of privilege. Your child may have more than some of their peers and cohorts in public school, and likely rarely want for anything. This social construct that is privilege is a relative concept and exists on a continuum. Your child/family may exist on one end of that continuum where they afford the latest trends in clothing and shoes, video games and electronic gadgets. On the far end of the continuum may exist peers in the independent schools whose families may literally be able to afford anything from private jets, to exotic holidays and everything in between.

You know your child, and as a family you get to decide how much, or how little you discuss these relative levels of wealth and privilege. Will you need to discuss the pressure that comes with being invited to several Bat Mitzvahs in any one month, each requiring a new outfit? Is there a need to explain that a $25 gift card for each of the several Sweet 16 parties can add up to hundreds of dollars, and can affect the family’s budget? Do you need to conclude that sometimes the answer may be no thank you for the invitation? How do you want to deal with these stressors as a family?

Things to consider:

  1. Monitor expectations, not just your child’s expectation but your own as parents/adults.
  2. Model the behavior you want to see in your child. It is okay to be impressed by the celebrity, wealth and privilege, be careful not to become overwhelmed by it.
  3. Be authentic and true to your values as parents. What lessons do you want your children to learn? 
  4. Encourage your children to establish healthy friendship with others who they care for, and who care for them. Have sleepovers and birthday parties that reflect your family life.
  5. Be prepared to be viewed as “other”, remember privilege exists on a continuum and you may not be viewed as having enough.
  6. Celebrate the strengths of your family and share that.

Delia M. Farquharson, LCSW
RIISE Social- Emotional Advisor



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One Comment

  1. Posted June 7, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Great piece Delia.

    Thanks for publishing it. Although this article was published a long time ago, I still find it useful.

    Keep up the great work that you’re doing on this blog.

    I used to think that I was the only one who is worried about the rate at which technology has made us forget the little moments that we humans spend with each other.

    I feel sad when I see people focused on the screen of their cell phones these days instead of enjoying the contact among ourselves. Both adults and children are so immersed on their phones that it has become difficult to strike up a conversation in public these days.

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