This blog from the New York Times gives an opinion on “material parenting”:

As a parent and scholar who has studied materialism for much of her professional life, Marsha Richins had long pondered the following question: Does dangling goods in front of children as a reward for good behavior or yanking them away as a form of punishment contribute to materialism when those kids grow up?

After half a decade studying the matter as a marketing professor at the Robert J. Trulaske Sr. College of Business at the University of Missouri, she says she believes that there’s a connection. Ms. Richins and Lan Nguyen Chaplin, an assistant professor of business administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago, are publishing a paper saying so in The Journal of Consumer Research in April.

Most of us get that materialism isn’t ideal, and research over the years has tied it to gambling, debt, marriage conflict and decreased happiness, among other things. So Ms. Richins was surprised to find that few people seemed to have looked into the potential drawbacks of what she and her colleague refer to as “material parenting.”

Plenty of research exists that shows that material rewards for things like good grades tend to reduce intrinsic motivation. But that shouldn’t be a reason not to study their use any further. “To me, it’s a big oversight, because parents reward kids all of the time,” Ms. Richins said. “You can’t just say that we’re not going to study it.”

And so she and Ms. Chaplin did, using retrospective surveys of adults answering questions about their current money habits and the tactics their parents used in rewarding and disciplining them.

Read the full post here

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