Parents to blame for spendthrift, hedonistic teenagers

Mum and Dad play a key role in a child’s approach to money

In an age in which teenagers are gifted diamond jewellery for one birthday and apartments the next, many question where to draw the line when it comes to spoiling children.

A new Scandinavian study has some advice for parents hoping to teach their children how to be financially responsible.

Confidence and control the way forward
Professor Ellen Katrine Nyhus of the University of Agder in Norway interviewed 500 Norwegian ninth-graders and their parents.

“We know that parents transfer their economic orientation and behaviour to their children. We wanted to find out what parenting style had the best effect on their economic consciousness,” Nyhus told ScienceNordic.

According to her findings, parents who exercise a balance of confidence and control tend to produce children with better financial awareness and economic capability.

Three styles of parenting
Nyhus acknowledged three main categories of parenting: authoritative, authoritarian and neglectful.

  • The authoritative style sets clear limits, but is also receptive of children’s opinions. These parents are warm and aware of what their children need.
  • The authoritarian style is marked by controls and demands. These parents tend to be strict, expecting rules and instructions to be followed without discussion.
  • The neglectful parenting style sets lower demands and gives little support. These parents are emotionally warm, but have issues when it comes to drawing the line.

Hedonistic tendencies = uneconomic teens
The results were clear: Teenagers who described their parents as showing confidence in them, allowing them to make their own financial decisions whilst also setting limits, tended to be more future-orientated and economically dutiful.

Teens with controlling parents tended to be hedonistic spenders with no concept of the future, whereas children with neglectful parents had lower scores in regards to work efforts and long-term perspective.

The study is published in the Journal of Genetic Psychology Research and Theory on Human Development.