"Affluenza" may only a made-up word, but it's a made-up word that describes very real people among us. I doubt I'll ever attain a level of wealth, power, or fame that would prevent me from understanding the consequences of my actions, and even if I did, I believe my upbringing would continue to allow me to use at least a modest level of common sense to not be careless about my actions. So, perhaps it's not a Merriam-Webster word, but it has its place in our society.
Money talks sadly. If the kid wasn't taught right from wrong from his parents then he definitely deserves a harsh lesson from life. How else will he learn? Giving him soft punishments because he was too privileged and sheltered will probably create a worse criminal. As long as he has the money he can use that excuse.
So the definition of "affluenza" is "a psychological malaise supposedly affecting wealthy young people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt, and a sense of isolation."
Can we make up another word and psychological problem for poor teens? I think "lack of motivation", "feelings of guilt" and "sense of isolation" can apply to them so they may not be able to tell right from wrong when breaking the law.
I know we won't find excuses for poor teens like we do for rich kids. The poor can't pay off judges.
It's a way to justify people's actions just because of how much money they have. How does the amount of money you have correlate to you knowing the difference between right and wrong? You can be born rich and still know right and wrong, maybe you won't be forced to know them as you'll likely be around the comforts of your riches but that doesn't exclude you from having a moral compass or knowing what laws exist for.
I think "affluenza" is a ridiculous defense. Even if you are rich, you should still know right from wrong. Growing up, we had a lot of money, and my parents still taught us values and how to treat people correctly. I think it's silly to claim "affluenza" in a court case.
"Affluenza" is more a product of misguided parenting and those in similar roles not fully teaching the well-off child responsibilities of their own actions. As someone personally from a financially successful family, I still grew up understanding my actions have consequences and that money shouldn't be used or thought of as means to avoid punishment.