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article imageToo many gifts makes kids materialistic, says new study

By Sravanth Verma     Dec 29, 2014 in Lifestyle
It's the holiday season and parents may be tempted to indulge their children with lots of gifts. But this could create trouble later on, turning them into materialistic adults, according to a new study.
The study to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that using material objects as a part of parenting may set kids up for trouble later on in life. The researchers asked 700 adults about various childhood incidents, their relationships with parents, and rewards and punishments received at three crucial stages of childhood.
“Our research suggests that children who receive many material rewards from their parents will likely continue rewarding themselves with material goods when they are grown—well into adulthood—and this could be problematic,” said Marsha Richins, professor of marketing at University of Missouri. “Our research highlights the value of examining childhood circumstances and parenting practices to understand consumer behaviors of adults.”
According to Richins, her research shows that rewarding your kids for an accomplishment, such as good grades, gifting them something to show your affection or punishing them by confiscating their possessions leads to a more materialistic attitude later in life. Prior research has also shown that reward and punishment can have detrimental effect on children. Such children were more likely to use possessions as a means to define and enhance their image of themselves.
"It's okay to want to buy things for your children, but remember to encourage them to be grateful for all the people and things they have in their lives," said Lan Chaplin, associate professor of marketing at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Business Administration. According to Chaplin, this sort of reminder towards gratitude allows a child to develop into an adult with a more generous attitude. Chaplin urges parents to spend quality time with their kids and encourage an atmosphere of gratitude and genuine warmth to prevent the development of a materialistic attitude.
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