New York Times, April 5
The parent-child relationship is being reversed by a trend which sees parents consulting their kids about everything from choosing a movie to mum choosing a new partner, a New York Times feature suggests. It has been clear for some time that children influence not only purchases of their own clothes and gear, but also new household items from computers to cars. Now it seems some even have a say in real estate decisions.
Psychologist Susan Linn, author of Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood (2004), is wary of the trend. She puts it down to:
the increase in single parent families
incessant marketing that gives children “the trappings of maturity”
increased access to information children have because of the internet
Peter Pan parents who think they can stay young and relevant by swapping advice with teenagers.
Dr Linn says the notion that children today are wiser than previous generations, that they are “getting older younger”, is really a “commercially constructed phenomenon that is resulting in kids’ sort of skipping over a whole part of childhood.”