Science Daily reported a meta-analysis of 73 studies nationwide evaluated parenting styles and children’s buying habits. The findings suggest, “children raised by parents who set limits and explain the reason behind these limits are most likely to develop into wise consumers.”
The study, which was conducted by the Society for Consumer Psychology, looked at the ways parents raise and communicate with their children. It defined four basic parenting styles:
- Authoritative parents generally tell children what to do and also explain why the children should do it. “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.”
- Authoritarian parents are restrictive, too. They tell children what to do, but don’t often explain why it should be done. These parents are “…not as likely to exhibit as much warmth in their communications.”
- Neglecting parents don’t offer much guidance or actively monitor children’s activities. “They neither seek nor use parental power and control and, as a result, communication between Neglecting parents and their children is generally strained and minimized.”
- Indulgent parents often “…give children adult rights without concomitant responsibilities while maintaining an open communication environment with children.” These parents are described as “lenient, compliant, accepting, affirmative, and non-punitive.”
The researchers concluded children whose parents take an authoritative approach to parenting tend to make better choices. The children choose to consume healthier foods (like fruits and vegetables), make better safety decisions (such as wearing a bike helmet), develop self-esteem, and offer viable opinions with regards to family consumption decisions.