Why Parents Can’t Resist Buying Their Children a Hottest Gifts

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BeatBo a dancing robot. The latest video games. A LeapPad tablet. The Nerf Stormtrooper blaster. Doc McStuffins from Disney’s TV series. As a holidays approach, children and relatives are barraged with selling for a hottest toys.


Allison Pugh, an associate highbrow of sociology during a University of Virginia, has difficult a gift-buying frenzy and since relatives feel compelled to perform their children’s element desires.

After watching and interviewing children and relatives from a operation of socioeconomic backgrounds, Pugh published “Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture” in 2009, that explored blurb enlightenment and how it relates to mercantile inequality and community. Since then, a spending trend hasn’t let adult – even by a retrogression – and she typically fields media calls around this time of year on a topic.

Parents mostly have difficulty determining what to do in response to their children’s “I want’s,” Pugh found when she difficult a operation of families in Oakland, California. She found that both abundant and low-income relatives disliked a vigour they felt to buy a many renouned gifts for their kids; abundant relatives were disturbed about giving in to materialism, while low-income relatives knew that renouned equipment cost income they would cite to spend on domicile essentials.

In both cases, however, they customarily finished adult shopping a most-desired toys anyway, since of a amicable routine that defines children’s desires as essentials for their bland lives. Both sets of relatives bought renouned equipment and practice to safeguard their children “belong” in their amicable organisation – hence a book’s title.

Though most has been discussed and created about companies that aim their selling efforts during exposed children, Pugh found other formidable factors during play when she talked to California relatives of 5- to 9-year-old children about lifting them and spending money.

Affluent relatives mostly pronounced they were worried about shopping a latest renouned equipment and they didn’t wish their children to be so materialistic. Nevertheless, even if they motionless to abstain a certain product – that Pugh calls “symbolic deprivation” – they bought a lot of other things for their children that they suspicion combined to what’s viewed as a good childhood.

At a other finish of a spectrum, lower-income relatives were peaceful to abstain some simple needs during times to buy products for their children, to uncover that they were means of entirely caring for their children – that Pugh called “symbolic indulgence.”

Parents from both groups wanted to safeguard their children would be means to attend in a amicable universe with their peers. “It’s a means of amicable citizenship,” Pugh said.

“On a society-wide level, a trend promotes a enlightenment of spending that redefines caring and belonging as mediated by a market,” she writes in her book.

In other words, informative standards and practices about what constitutes good child-rearing are difficult by a consumer-oriented society’s visualisation of a products relatives can yield their children. They demonstrate their relations – with peers, too – by stuff.

As one examination said, “Sociologist Allison Pugh … succinctly frames [the] maze of contemporary child-rearing: ‘If consumer enlightenment is a ‘enemy’ of good parenting, since do so many relatives entice a rivalry into their homes?’… Pugh [finds] constrained answers to that question.”

Source: University of Virginia