Raise your kid to be a smart consumer

New York, Dec 16 (IANS) Adopting the right kind of parenting style — a mixture of restriction and autonomy — in decision-making may help kids become smarter consumers when they turn adults, a study has found.

According to researchers from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in the US, there are four basic parenting styles — authoritative, authoritarian, neglecting and indulgent — that are linked to a variety of consumer socialisation processes.

Authoritative parents are more likely to tell children what they want them to do while also explaining why, which can be described as “restrictive” and “warm” communication.

These parents tend to relate quite effectively with their children and expect them to act maturely and follow family rules, while also allowing a certain degree of autonomy.

On the other hand, authoritarian parents are restrictive and not likely to exhibit much warmth in their communication, said Les Carlson, Professor at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

“They are more likely to tell a child what to do and not explain why,” Carlson added.

While neglecting parents offer little guidance for their children’s development and limited monitoring of activities. Indulgent parents are lenient, compliant and give children adult rights without expecting them to take on responsibilities.

The findings, based on a meta-analysis of 73 studies, revealed that children of authoritative parents had the best outcomes when interacting with the world around them.

‘Authoritatives’ also seem to be most effective in consumer socialisation activities and tendencies regarding children, the researchers said.

Children of these parents seem to perform better than children of indulgent or neglecting parents on outcomes and aspects such as consuming healthier foods like fruits and vegetables, making safer choices such as wearing a bike helmet.

The analysis also showed that children of restrictive parents avoided negative marketplace interactions like cyberbullying, theft, vandalism, drug use and feelings of having an unattractive body shape.

The study is available online in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

–IANS

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