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Adolescents Influence In Family Decision Making Social Work Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Abstract

This study examines the perceptions and behaviour of Adolescents influence in family decision making in different family circumstances and what products are more influenced through the child more than the adults. The research findings are based on different journal articles that show how much power children have in the decision making process based on different members of the family perceptions and how they get their message across on what they want through coalitions or solely on their own. In terms of family types; single-parent and step-families are increasing in today’s society compared to intact families. It’s now not unusual for parent’s to divorce and move on with someone else. This will make an impact on the child’s role in family purchase decision making. Being a child in a single-parent family suggests that they have more power in the household whereas being a member of an intact family can cause disruption as there are many people to please in that household. However, in many circumstances the parent’s perceptions do not always agree with the child’s opinion. A number of explanations and examples for this are given.

Introduction

For a long time, Adolescents’ have played an important role throughout family purchase decisions, with their capability to have an impact to directly and indirectly influence the decisions families make when purchasing products. (Thomson, Laing, & McKee, 2007). This is put into practice throughout all different types of families, whether it is an intact family of 4, a family triad, a single parent family of 1 or a mix matched family making it a step-family. This means the perceptions on adolescent influence in decision making depend on what family the child belongs to. Adolescent behaviour is also important when the child makes an input into the decisions of purchase making. Coalition being the behaviour type authors focused on as children recognized a frequent need for a purchase between more than one family member and in the end created a coalition (Thomson, Laing, & McKee, 2007). These include different members of the family working together with the child in order to make a stronger influence on family decisions whether it is a parent or a sibling. Children therefore play a part in family decision making no matter how big or small and the products in question can vary from groceries to holidays. Junk foods, toys, kids’ clothes and accessories for school are a few of the main products that children have been known to have a strong influence on. (Mangleburg T. F., 1990). Research on how much influence children have on certain products will also be explored.

Children’s Behaviour -When and how do they influence buying?

“Children constitute a huge secondary market by influencing family purchases” (McNeal, 2008). As soon as children have established the concept of using communication skills to make demands, they are then more involved in making an influence in family decision making. (Furnham, 1998), showing that from the moment they can talk, they will automatically have an influence on buying highlighting the fact that children are becoming a significant part to the family decision making process on purchases at an early age. The most important behaviour for a child when they influence decision making is the use of knowledge and information. When contemplating child purchase power, research shows that this is known as a uniting topic (Thomson, Laing, & McKee, 2007). To get a child to participate in the decision stage of buying, knowledge is a great source as it points out the cleverness or experiences that the children have when a purchase is carried out by a family (Thomson, Laing, & McKee, 2007). Information is also important as it shows whether the child knows about the products in question or not. Knowledge and Information is a significant role in justifying the child’s choice of products and is the main factor on how they influence on the buying stage. Parents can decide whether the child’s reasons are enough to buy the product in question through their knowledge and information. Studies show that lots of parents encourage the use of knowledge and information and are foreseen characteristic of some family decision making (Thomson, Laing, & McKee, 2007).

How do coalitions affect adolescents’ decision on purchasing?

Coalition behaviour involves at least two members of a family to get together to form an alliance to influence the end decision of a purchase within a family. “This process is often termed ‘majority rule” (Pearson, 1989). Majority rule may have a bigger impact than just the child’s influence; therefore a child may form a coalition with another family member to make their influence have more of an impact on the final decision of the purchase. However, there have been authors that convey this as lousy behaviour. (Sheth, 1974) and (Belch et al. 1980) felt that coalition would be few and far in between. Coalitions can come in different forms: Mother and child, Father and child or if there is more than one child, siblings could get together. This can benefit the child as one parent might be easily persuaded into giving the child what they want and more understanding of the child’s needs. It was distinguished that a significant number of coalitions occurred between mothers and daughters than mothers and sons concluding that when the same-sex members of a family unite to influence a decision on a product that they have more power than what different-sex members would (Beatty & Talpade 1994). This would suggest that daughters had more chance of having a stronger influence in the family household compared to sons when they both wanted to convince their mother of purchasing a product.

Family Triads – Should the child have an input?

Before buying products for any family, there is a decision making process that they must think about in order to come to a concluding decision on what to purchase if they have children. This involves three stages of decision making; gathering information, negotiating within the family and the overall decision on what to buy. Family triads are found to disagree in their perceptions of adolescent influence on both a wide selection of products and general influence in family decision processes. Mothers, fathers and children all, however agree that children have some influence in purchase decisions for a variety of products. Previous research has put forward the fact that two family members can disagree in evaluating purchase decision influence (Burns & Hopper 1985). Each member of the family triad had different opinions on how much power the child actually has when deciding on purchasing a product in studies shown in the Journal of Consumer Research. Out of 161 families from North Western Towns, The children themselves agreed that they have influence when shopping with parents, suggesting stores, brands and products, paying attention to new products and learning the best buy. Mothers and Fathers also agreed to some extent that the child had general influence on these factors when buying products. However, suggesting the price was one of the factors that all three members of the family agreed that the child does not have influence on the price of products (Foxman, Tansuhaj, & Ekstrom, 1989). This concludes that not only does the children themselves think they have influence throughout the decision making process on products but the other members of the family also agree that children should have their say. Overall, family members regarding adolescent purchase decision influence came to the conclusion that: Families that agreed on the same level of children’s influence had older fathers, a concept-oriented family communication style, less children, and a mother who was a housewife. This would suggest that a family triad let their child have more influence than a family with more children would.

Other family types – does the child have more power in a single-parent family?

There are different types of families where a child can influence on family decision making when buying products. Family triads are one but there are also single-parent and step families. Intact families can also have more than one child meaning there are more children to have an influence on the decision making. There has been a growth in rapid social change over the years where parents are divorcing, children are living with only one of their parents or living with people that are from another family due to one of the parents falling in love with someone else. The more a family has differences, the more likely they will have to face difficulties when making important decisions as consumers (cf. Rindfleisch, Burroughs, and Denton 1997). Children gain their knowledge and information through events such as going to school, eating out and technology. However, their family members are one of the most important sources a child could possibly have through their period of consumer learning (Moschis and Churchill 1978; Moschis and Moore 1979; Ward 174). This contributes to the fact that children grow up surrounded by their family; therefore they learn from their mothers, fathers or an older sibling. Depending on what family type the child belongs to, there will be a different level of how much influence they have. Studies (Darley and Lim 1986) show that children in single-parent families had greater influence in a family outing decision than did children in dual-parent families, but did not ascertain between intact and step-families. If a child has to convince two parents, it may be difficult as they will both have different opinions on products or will have the same opinion which will overrule the child, therefore a child’s influence in a single-parent household will be much stronger as there are less people to convince and the bond between the child and parent will be stronger as they have went through certain circumstances to end up on their own. Two parents can join forces to back up each other when they don’t agree with the child’s influence when purchasing a product (Mangleburg, Grewal, & Bristol, 1999). This will make the children’s influence weaker compared to the single-parent household which appears to be much stronger. A single-parent household is seen as the family type to let the child have a stronger influence on decision making when purchasing products as the child only has one parent to do their parental duties which means the parent will have weaknesses in parental control and find it difficult to be the boss all the time meaning the child will have more independence and equal rights to influence to balance out the family (Dornbusch et al. 1985; Hetherington 1988; Thomson, McLanahan, and Curtin 1992). Family type does have an impact on adolescents’ influence on decision making and specifically, “children in single-parent families had greater influence in both types of decisions as compared with children in step families and intact families” (Mangleburg, Grewal, & Bristol, 1999).

Products children have more influence on

Junk foods, toys, kids’ clothes and accessories for school are a few of the main products that children have been known to have a strong influence on (Mangleburg T. F., 1990). This information suggests that children have more power over products and services that they will be experiencing themselves as children tend to have more of an influence in product sections that are most significant to the children themselves (Beatty and Talpade, 1994). Contrasting, children don’t have much of an influence on decision making for products that are expensive and not used only by the child (Foxman et al.,1989a, 1989b). Expensive items such as cars, TV’s and furniture are not influenced as much by children as these as more expensive buys. The adults of the household feel they have more influence on bigger products that will affect the whole of the family. Studies from the Journal of Consumer Research (Foxman, Tansuhaj, & Ekstrom, 1989) back this up as out of 161 families from North Western Towns, Both the parents and children feel that the parents should have more say overall on products such as Home computers, cars, furniture and cable TV. It appears that children do have a strong influence when it comes to decision making in the family based on purchasing products. However, the child’s influence on certain products is weaker than the parents due to the price and who uses the product. Although some research has found next to nothing child influence for bigger, family buys, others have found higher levels of influence than was foreseen by earlier research ( Foxman & Tansuhaj 1988; Lee and Beatty 2002). Family holidays and events that see the family come together to have fun are other purchase decisions that children can play a part in influencing (Mangleburg T. F., 1990). These products are seen as expensive and a treat for all the family, this shows that some authors may find that children don’t have much influence on expensive products whereas others will find children do have influence on products more expensive than clothes and food.

Grocery shopping within different families

It has been proven that children have more influence on food shopping than expensive buys in the last section of this review. It has also been proven that children have different levels of influence in different family types whether it is a single-parent or dual-parent family. Studies show even though children have a strong influence on purchasing food, the level of influence differs depending on what family the child belongs to. Children in single-parent families are more likely to take part in family tasks, such as going shopping than other children do in bigger families with their parent’s relationship still intact. (Weiss 1979; Taylor, Glynn, and Taylor 1985; Peters 1985). This would suggest that the child in the single-parent family will participate more in influencing what is bought for the grocery shop compared to the dual-parent family where there are more people to influence what is bought.

Summary and conclusion

Adolescents’ influence the decision making process in the family when purchasing products. However, there are different levels of influence and this depends on what family type the child belongs to as this has an effect on how the parents relationship with the child helps or hinders on how much influence the child has when the decision making process is being done when buying new products differing from groceries, clothes and holidays. The review helped come to the conclusion that the most important behaviour for a child when they influence decision making is the use of knowledge and information. Knowledge and Information is a significant role in justifying the child’s choice of products and is the main factor on how they influence on the buying stage. It has been discovered that a child’s influence solely on their own against both parents can sometimes be overruled by the parents. This is when the child forms a coalition to get more support to gain a stronger influence on the decision making process It was distinguished that a significant number of coalitions occurred between mothers and daughters than mothers and sons concluding that when the same-sex members of a family unite to influence a decision on a product that they have more power than what different-sex members would (Beatty & Talpade 1994). This review suggested that different family types determined the level of influence the child had, this included single-parent families, triad families and step families. However, mothers, fathers and children all agreed that children play a part in influencing a number of products in purchase decisions (Foxman, Tansuhaj, & Ekstrom, 1989). Products that children have more influence on were also researched. Findings suggest that products that are actually used by the child themselves and not expensive were found to be the products children had more influence on whereas children have been found to have less influence on decisions making for products that are more expensive and are not just used by the child themselves (Foxman et al.,1989a, 1989b). Grocery shopping is another group of products that children have influence on and the level of influence depends on what family type they belong to. It was found that children belonging to the single-parent family have more influence than children in a dual-parent family. Overall there are different levels of influence a child has when the family are making decisions and it all depends on family types, children behaviour and the products in question.


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