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Pester power - A battle of wills between children and their parents

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A widespread concern in the child-marketing literature, and indeed at a societal level, is that of pester power. There is a prevailing school of thought that holds that where children pose purchasing requests to their parents, pestering and unhappiness may result if those requests are denied. This paper approaches this issue by accessing children's views on pester power, as opposed to previous research studies that have tended to prioritise parental perspectives. Findings are presented from an interpretive study involving children aged between seven and nine years. The study suggests that children understand the various responses that parents make to purchase requests, for example, agreement, refusal, procrastination, and negotiation, and their parents' rationale for such responses. Furthermore, the outcome of such interaction tends to constitute more of a good-natured 'game' between parent and child, as suggested by the children, as opposed to the negative overtones of conflict indicated in the literature. The paper concludes that this interaction can be more closely aligned with our expanding understanding of the process of consumer socialisation, rather than the negative connotations of pester power and conflict phenomena, as suggested in previous studies.
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Keywords: children; consumer socialisation; influence strategies; pester power

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland 2: UCD School of Business, Ireland

Publication date: 2011-05-01

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