Consumer Socialization in Families: How Parents Teach Children about Spending, Saving, and the Importance of Money
Batten, George P
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The current study examines the consumer socialization practices of American parents, and provides an analysis of the various ways in which they socialize their children into a consumer role within the family. Drawing from literature on gendered patterns of consumerism, familial consumer socialization, and the culture of money, this study's aim is to describe how parents teach their children to enter a consumer role, how to spend, save, and budget money, and how to culturally value (or devalue) money and wealth. This study also explores whether children's gender or differences by socioeconomic status (SES) play a part in how parents socialize their children into a consumer role. Twenty five parents were interviewed and answered questions regarding the actual tools, methods, and strategies they employ in their children's socialization into a consumer role, such as whether parents shop with their children, set allowances, or assist children in opening savings and checking accounts. Additional questions assessed the meanings parents give to money and a consumer role, such as whether parents stress the importance or the vanity of wealth. This analysis contributes to existent knowledge about the nuanced ways in which parents socialize their children as competent consumers, and has implications for familial relationships and gender and class inequality in regards to family and consumer activities.
- Doctoral Dissertations