Study links certain parenting tactics to increased materialism later in life

Christmas morningIf you want to raise appreciative and grateful children, here's what NOT to do.

The temptation to use holiday gifts as bribery to ensure kids’ good behaviour is hard to resist. It’s a time of year when emotions run high. Stressed parents are busy shopping and wrapping gifts, and many kids come up with absurdly detailed lists of items they’d like (or even expect) to receive. Decent behaviour would seem a logical trade for all the effort parents put in to make the holidays good for their kids.

A new study, however, urges parents to avoid this temptation. The manipulation of material objects as a parenting tactic can lead to kids having certain issues later on in life. The researchers, who surveyed more than 700 adults about their childhood circumstances, relationships with parents, and types of punishments, concluded that three parenting strategies in particular lead to increased materialism:

1) Using gifts as a reward when children have accomplished something, such as good grades or making a team
2) Giving gifts as a way of showing affection
3) Taking away gifts or favourite toys as a way to punish children

Marsha Richins, one of the researchers who is a professor of marketing at the University of Missouri, explains why this is damaging:

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