The Washington Post

Generation Collaboration: Consulting your kids on where to shop, what to buy

A new marketing study suggests that parents include children in a wide range of purchasing decisions, including where to eat, where to shop, where to vacation and what to buy. We consult so much that researchers called their report “Generation Collaboration.”

Who decides what to buy? (David Tulis/AP)

When asked about their general decision-making style, 64 percent of parents said they make the final decision but seek kids input, 42 percent said they discuss decisions with kids and 27 percent said they provide kids with options and then let them decide.

Meanwhile 20 percent chose the “because I said so” approach and 10 percent said they were the polar opposite, regularly allowing kids to make decisions on their own.

The survey also found that parents overwhelmingly asked kids’ opinions, regardless of age, about products they planned to buy for the kids or whole family. More, it found that about half sought kids opinions about products the parents for themselves.

Overall, the majority of parents said their child plays a role in purchasing decisions, restaurant choice and where the family should shop. The most collaboration: dinner purchases. The least: cars. Still, 15 percent of parents of 15 to 17 year olds reported consulting on that one.

When asked why, the vast majority of parents said the top reason for such collaboration was “to teach my child that his/her opinion matters.”

Some parents said consulting their child made the buying process easier, their child had a strong opinion or their child was more knowledgeable about the product.

Family Room CEO George Carey suggested in an accompanying commentary that the shared decision-making is rooted in three modern parenting trends.

First, parental guilt from leaving the kids home or at daycare leads to a desire to compensate children with more power when the family is together.

Second, that technology has increased kids’ knowledge and expertise in certain areas.

Third, that parents today prioritize independence, self-sufficiency and self-identity in their children.

Do you agree?

Do you consult your kids on big family decisions or family purchases? Why or why not?

Related Content:

Shopping for baby: The pressure to buy needless stuff

“Cinderella Ate My Daughter” released in paperback: A Q&A with author Peggy Orenstein


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters