Washington : A new study has revealed that certain parenting tactics can lead to materialistic attitudes in adulthood. The study from the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois at Chicago found that parents who use material goods as part of their parenting techniques may be setting children up for difficulties later in adulthood. Researcher Marsha Richins said that their research suggests that children who receive many material rewards from their parents will likely continue rewarding themselves with material goods when they are grown, which could be problematic. Richins added that their research highlights the value of examining childhood circumstances and parenting practices to understand consumer behaviors of adults. Richins found that rewarding children with gifts when they have accomplished something, such as making the soccer team or getting straight As, giving gifts as a way to show affection and punishing children by taking away their possessions, such as a favorite toy or video game are three parenting strategies that lead to greater materialism. Richins said that loving parents tend to provide their children with material rewards and one explanation for the link between material rewards and later materialism is that children who receive these rewards are more likely than others to use possessions to define and enhance themselves, an essential element of materialism.

The researchers also found that a relationship existed between parental rejection and materialism. Children who felt that their parents either did not have time for them or were disappointed in them were more likely to be materialistic and adults who received both material rewards and material punishments as children are more likely to admire people with expensive possessions. Lan Chaplin suggested that its ok 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 and each time children express their gratitude, they become more aware of how fortunate they are, which paves the way for them to be more generous and less materialistic. Spend time with your children and model warmth, gratitude and generosity to help curb materialism. The study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Consumer Research.