The Science of Parenting

Raising Responsible Consumers | S.11 Ep.7

June 01, 2023 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Season 11 Episode 7
The Science of Parenting
Raising Responsible Consumers | S.11 Ep.7
Show Notes Transcript

Whether online shopping, utilizing a product, or viewing an advertisement – we are consumers and so are our children. Listen to the season finale to hear about how we can help raise kids to be informed and intentional consumers!

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Mackenzie Johnson:

Hey Mackenzie Johnson here, coming to you with a special opportunity that the Science of Parenting team has going on right now. We are collecting feedback from you, our listeners and viewers all about last season, where we were talking about kids and food. We have a short 10 minute survey that we are going to ask about what you thought about last season, what you learned the last season. You have a chance to kind of give us your thoughts on the overall podcast, as well as even an opportunity to submit a topic for us to consider in the future. So your feedback is going to help us make decisions about our podcasts and future content. If you are over the age of 18, if you are a parent or caregiver of a child, and if you've listened to any of the episodes from last season, that's right, even just one one of those episodes where we are talking about kids and food, you can find the survey link in today's episode description. Or you can also find it on our social media on Facebook or Twitter @thescienceofparenting. Thanks for listening, we hope you'll participate and enjoy today's episode. And I'm Suzanne Bartholomae. I'm an associate professor who Welcome to the Science of Parenting podcast where we connect you with research based information that fits your strives to help people increase their financial security, and family. We'll talk about the realities of being a parent and how research can help guide our parenting decisions. I'm I'm the parent of a high schooler. Mackenzie Johnson, parent of two littles with their own quirks. Mm hmm. And here we are in our last episode of this season, And I'm a parenting educator. gone, like we said, it's gone fast. But also we've been doing this a long time. But today we are, we've been talking all season about kids and money. And today, we're actually going to frame this whole conversation we've been having all season into like the context, right? So we're talking about kids and money. And we're talking about how we talk with them about financial capability and how we are socializing kids and all of these things. But we're going to talk about the context of really like the marketplace, right? So how they make these decisions, where they're making them. They're doing this in the marketplace, I don't know. And so talking about consumption and how they can be good consumers and some of the challenges and opportunities we have, you know, raising kids to be good consumers, but okay, but actually, you were like, hey, hold on, not good consumers. So I'm breaking my own rule of like, we're not gonna say parenting is good or bad. So not good consumers. Right. You had other words that were better words, let's choose a better word. It wasn't good. It was.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, good was a little judgy, I felt.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, we're like not judgy. We're not going

Suzanne Bartholomae:

No. So we want them to be responsible, for that. savvy, smart, discerning, and there's a lot of words that we could use better around rational. Rational is a tough one, but mostly, mostly responsible. Did I say responsible? Start with that. Yeah, yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Responsible feels like a good one. And that's, as I think about, you know, each of us have our own values we're bringing to the table, of course, in this conversation that we've been having all season. But ultimately, we do want our kids to know how to succeed in, you know, in whatever financial reality that is when they become adults. And so part of that is being responsible consumers. And so there's actually a few terms in this episode, you know. I love, you know I love a definition and a term, but one in particular is this idea of consumption. So Suzanne, can you define that for us?

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Sure. Yeah. So we're talking about working, navigating the marketplace. We have income that we earn, so we have dollars that we have to spend. And so that is consumption, it's the use of a good or a service. And money is one way we get there. So we were all consumers. And we're always consuming, day, night, from the moment we're born till even our death, you know. There's decisions about our final, you know, final burial and things. I mean, we're still consuming after we have died.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay, I gotta I gotta confess when you first said you're like, Yeah, from birth, every day, every minute. I was like, nah, I'm not consuming. I was like, fully prepared to like, not when I'm asleep and then I was like, okay, but I guess like I'm consuming the heating or air conditioning maybe in my home. I'm also utilizing a mattress and bedding. I also, right, and white noise like a fan. Always the fan, I always have a fan on. Right but it's like, I was prepared to be like, no. And then I'm like, oh man, it is always because it's sometimes material stuff, right? Like I'm using a thing. But sometimes it is, like you mentioned heating or electricity or services, goods, products, all the time, all the time. All the time.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

I know, we think about, you know, yeah,

Mackenzie Johnson:

No, like food, products, information. maybe you have to be at the store to be a consumer, you know We're consumers of information, consumers of entertainment, of that you're going out and you're getting food or you're buying clothing. But no, it's not just when we're spending. materials, of services, yeah. I mean, you literally saying heating and electricity.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Right. And I also mentioned, collectively we're consumers of what we want out of our government, like state or federal government, services and products, too. Right, that when we vote as consumers, we're consuming. Yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay. So we are always consuming and so even if my first instinct was no, I'm like, okay, okay. You sold me, yes. When I really thought about it, I'm like, yeah, but I needed to get out of the mindset of consumption as only material things, like consumption as stuff, because it's not always just stuff, like you said, services or things like that. Yeah.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah. So I gave you the definition of consumption. Right. And so we have been talking about financial well-being and how we don't make decisions in isolation and what we want to do as parents, right? And so it is consumption, and consuming is more complicated than just going to the store. Yeah, it is, you know, sometimes there are large purchases. There are purchases from public utilities, like you mentioned, gas, water, heat. So we want our children to be able to navigate the marketplace, right? So that they understand, number one, what influences their buying decisions and what forces are at work. We want them to have a healthy relationship with goods and services. You know, our quality of life is dictated by goods and services. So the home we live in, the sheets that you're sleeping in, the clothes that you're wearing, whether or not you have electricity or water. Some families can struggle with having things shut off temporarily because they're behind on bills. So that's a piece of being a consumer, but to be a responsible consumer, and we've talked about financial abilities, but there are a set of techniques and skills that go along with being a responsible consumer. And that's where we want to get our kids. Yes, yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And at the episode, we're going to share some of those strategies and tips and techniques that we can get a little specific with, but I do like this idea of thinking about consumption. You know, I'll be honest, when I think about consumption, it's easy for me to villainize it, like, consumption is bad. It's making me spend my money. Well, no. It's more than one thing, right. And so I think of consumption in terms of purchasing is one thing. You know, and it can be like, if it's materialistic, there is this, if I know I'm gonna purchase this, I'm gonna consume this thing, like a material good. There can be a rush of dopamine, right? This hormone in our brain that is like, oh, that felt good. That was exciting. And so there can be this short term feel good that happens with consumption. Or there's consumption like heating or air conditioning, that I don't have dopamine because I forget I'm consuming it. But there can be this short term feel good. And so I do think, as I think about specifically, the term responsible consumption, that making sure it's really consumption that aligns with our long term goals, like financial goals and the values that we have, and that aligns with hopefully financial well-being. So there is kind of, right, I in my brain wanted to, consumption is so bad. But okay, it's not all bad, it's not all evil. But understanding healthy consumption and intentional consumption, as compared to maybe things that don't align with our goals. Right. And you add another term, there's other kinds of consumption, right? Besides the healthy responsible, intentional.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Right, right. But before I jump into that, just as there's dopamine, like there's spikes of joy or satisfaction that come with the purchase, purchases come with regrets too, which we haven't talked about yet. So that's something else we want to avoid is like buying something and then a day or two later saying, oh, why did I spend my money on this? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So just to throw that out there, but so two terms that can help us understand how overconsumption can happen. One is conspicuous consumption. So that's defined as spending and consuming on a lavish scale. So buying lots of clothing and automobiles, houses, if you can afford them, but a lot of people can't afford them. And so to be able to be conspicuous, they maybe go into debt. Right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. So conspicuous, if I can say it, conspicuous being like showy. It's consumption that's shown. Right?

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Right, right, because you're driven by how other people think about you, about their personal opinion of how it looks, it's a sort of image that you're trying to maybe put forth, being popular or being, you know, a certain status. And so that's where conspicuous consumption comes in. And as Americans, that is, we are less than 5% of the world's population, but we consume more than a third of the world's resources. And so we are a nation that knows how to be consumers. Yeah, yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And that idea of conspicuous, like showy consumption, consumption to show what we've consumed. Right. And so my brain is like, yeah, yeah, my brain is like brand name materials and all this stuff. But also, you know, I'm, like, high end purses, like high end things that my brain goes to. But that even happens with our kids, right? Like, the kind of snack we maybe bring for our child's field trip. Right? The brand of backpack, right. And so I think it's easy to think about only in the extremes, but there is this conspicuous consumption we can do and model for our kids, whether we, again, intend to or whether it's just something that's kind of happening. So conspicuous consumption, and then what was the other? What was the other one?

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Oh, affluenza. So this is a play on the word of affluent and influenza. And it's the keeping up disease, right, which is also tied to that conspicuousness. But it's defined officially as a feeling of unfulfillment that results from efforts to keep up with the rest of society. And the thought is that there's this epidemic of stress over work, waste, overindebtedness, which I'd talked about, that's caused by consumers pursuit of the American dream. So it might be that many parents struggle with this now, affluenza, in the sense of maybe they're feeling too much pressure to keep up with things and pressure to have certain items, live in a certain house, drive a certain car. And that creates the stress, and sometimes overindebtedness, and again, you know, we're talking about financial socialization this season, and that's what your kids are seeing. If you're, you know, they see you stressed, they pick up on that.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And that we're modeling, again, intentionally or unintentionally, with our social, like, we're socializing them to see, we must do X, right? Like we must consume X, we must have X in order, but it results in this, right? It can result in that stress and you know, and so there is more than one way, there's pros and cons of that modeling that they're seeing, of course. And so I do think as we think about the term affluenza, one, fun little play on words, say that like it's a disease, that affluenza, but also the showy or conspicuous consumption. Again, it does remind me, going back to that, is this in alignment with our financial well-being and our values and our financial goals? Or is this consumption not in alignment? And then, yeah, is it conspicuous and those things like that? And so thinking about that idea of consumption, right, so the use of a good or a service, but this is different. This is the other term that I was like, yeah, I thought that this was the same thing. Consumerism is another word. So similar to consumption, consumerism, both have this idea of consume, but they mean different things. So can you tell us what consumerism is?

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, so consumerism is a movement. And so as consumers, individuals who interact with the economy or in the marketplace, we have challenges, because there's this kind of healthy relationship or sometimes tension with manufacturers and sellers. And so, the movement of consumerism was a result of needing to protect consumers who may be vulnerable or may be victims of bad actors, like sellers or manufacturers who may be grossly overstating, you know, the benefits of a product or maybe even being deceitful or fraudulent. So the official definition is that consumerism is a movement whose objective is to ensure that the consumer will pay a fair price for quality goods and services in the marketplace.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So that's actually like this is pretty hopeful, right? Right, that there is a movement. And I mean, you've even said the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is a part of this movement really, of protecting consumers from blatantly lying in advertising or having products, right? There's the, what is it called, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, right, like safe products, and things like that. So kind of protecting consumers, and making sure it's paying a fair price and things. That give me some hope. We love that.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, so, you know, there's been a few waves of the consumer movement, but they really started early like, well, in the late 1800s, with food labeling and food safety, in particular, where manufacturers would throw things like metals and acorns and things like fillers into food that people are unaware of. And so there was a real fight against Congress and indifferent consumers not knowing any better, not responsible consumers, so that there had to be legislation. And so there's all sorts of governing bodies around advertising, around product safety, around consumer protection. And you named the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, established in 2011. But they have collected just on financial services and products, like $15 billion, 15 billion with a B of remedies for consumers who were, you know, taken advantage of in some way by a company. Yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And that idea of, you know, consumerism, protecting consumers. But also this idea that there is a healthy, adversarial, like a healthy tension between producers and consumers, right? Kind of needing each other but also, I don't wanna say disliking, but fighting each other a little. Right? Like, there might be competing goals, but they can also be in alignment. But that relationship does exist, like this is there.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Well, let's face it, there's a ton of products out there that we love, that are convenient, that we feel like we can't live without, right? Yes. And they came out of a need, most likely. Otherwise, as consumers we won't buy it if we don't want it. Right. And if we don't need it, and so yeah, there is a tension. But at the same time, you know, I think we were talking about Shark Tank. There's a lot of products that come into Shark Tank that's a fantastic idea. And it's somebody that wants to bring it to other people in need. It's not, and they want to make a living. I mean, it's when people or maybe companies are overly profit oriented, that that tension comes around.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, tension. Well, and I think that, you know, as we again, like, come back to thinking about raising responsible consumers. The reality is that we exist in this marketplace, but that our kids will, even if it's not exactly how it is now. When they become adults and they have their own income and maybe their own families and things, that we want to help them have the skills, the knowledge, the capabilities and things to be able to succeed by whatever definition that is. That they basically know how to do it responsibly, do it informed, to consume and are responsible, and again, in alignment kind of way, that they're going to need to know how to use their own money to meet their own needs. So again, consume.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Right, right. And so you want to teach them, how can they use their income so that they get the most satisfaction? Yes. So it's that piece that you're talking about where there's, well, I talked about regret of purchases, or just getting this temporary feeling of pleasure, that that fades. Helping them understand, you know, that we're using our income to achieve our well-being. There are a lot of paths to well-being, and there's a lot of variability in terms of what families choose.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely, absolutely. Well, and then the other thing that I think about as I think about consumerism, consumption, and all of this is also like, okay, for some of us, like I talked about my young kids, right, and how they also are consumers of heating and AC but also the products and the food and the clothes and the stuff. But they're unique consumers, right, our young consumers are, they're kind of specific in what they're influenced by in particular, right?

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah. So right now you're in control as a parent because you have a six year old and a three year old, right? And so you're bringing the goods and the services, we're talking like economists here, you're bringing goods and services to your household into your home. So you're controlling that, but that about age six, the parental influence starts to decrease. It's still there, obviously, but friends start to influence, schools influence, churches or religious organizations. And then most importantly and strongly, advertising. So after age six, they start picking up on those other influences in terms of buying and thinking about consuming.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And I mean, yeah, this hits home. Like I said, my daughter is six. And I do really literally within the last week or two, I was kind of having this internal struggle, if you will. My daughter was talking about, I mean, it was something on YouTube that she liked. And I was like, no, I don't love that. And typically, up to this point, because my kids have been younger, I've focused on control of their consumption, right? Like, oh, I don't like that, I'm gonna put like, increase the controls or changes the rating or control the apps that are on the device we use or whatever. And but I really kind of had to take pause and say, okay, but she's getting other influence, right? She's at the age now where she, I kind of use the word diluted, right. So I might be still the main force of influence for my child's consumption, but as they get older, more things kind of come into the pot and dilutes that I'm not the 100% influence anymore. And so I have been kind of having this struggle of like, okay, and so I've been kind of trying to shift my role, which we talked about in a different season, podcast season, but to, okay, maybe control is not my role anymore as they get older. Maybe I do have to shift more to this interpretation idea. We talked about our parenting stage when kids are school age being the interpretive stage, and, okay, instead of you can't or you won't do those things, it's maybe, how am I going to talk with you about them, or help you understand how they do or don't fit with our family values? It's tricky, though. It's hard.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

It's a balance, right? Providing access, providing control, and then providing independent thinking and choices.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, yes, yeah, I can't maintain the control I had over my three year old when she was three, right, and like, my son, who's three, I won't have that for forever. That's not how it's gonna work. And so but it is, it is new territory, maybe is what I want to say, for us as parents that were like, okay, we're gonna have to shift out of the well, I just won't let you watch that into well, you might watch it anyway. And so we have to kind of change what our role is. And I do think that is something that's kind of, I think there are challenges we face parenting today, related to raising responsible consumers that maybe my parents didn't face and your parents didn't face. Some things stay the same but some things have changed that mean that as parents these days, we have to maybe have more tools or more information or new ways of doing things. And so there are, there's some unique challenges and opportunities, as we think about raising responsible consumers. And so we really just kind of compiled like a little list here, and we're gonna spit them at you so one is being advertising, just the prevalence of it. You know, it used to be before smartphones, really, you would see advertising on a billboard or in a store or maybe like in a TV commercial. And it was explicit advertising, right? Like that is clearly an ad. And it was in whatever space, either with the TV on or off, or it was in the store, or I'm not in the store. But now we carry advertising in our pockets, right, in our smartphones and on the devices we let our kids use and so that one, there's just more of it. But also, digital advertising is often, one of the articles you sent, Suzanne, talked about blurring, that it often blurs the line between entertainment and advertising. So I think of influencers, right? Someone who's just talking about a product but is it advertising or is it entertainment? Versus also someone, I even think of the YouTube videos with kids playing with toys. They often are making money off of when those toys sell and so that blurring. So prevalence of advertising, and then the blurring that often happens for advertising, digital advertising. Those are concerns that previous generations of parents maybe didn't have to struggle with.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Right? Yeah, I think with the introduction of digital devices, for sure. You know, there's so much more advertising embedded in games, and like you're saying YouTube, yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

It's not just at the store or when the TV is on. It's just here. It's just around all the time. Yeah, yeah.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah. And what's changed is also is that kids have these devices that are their own. So previous generations used to be like, one TV in the family household now. It seems that there's, you know, multiple televisions. Some kids have TVs in their bedroom, right? So these single use devices are now like tablets and cell phones. That's one, those are more prevalent. And then it means that we're maybe not with our children when they're on the tablet or on their cell phones. So you're in the kitchen, you know, or somewhere else in the house, your child's in their bedroom, and you're not there really to monitor what content they're seeing. So that's, I think, different as well. So we can't really talk to them then about what they watched if they did see an advertisement or something that you would like to review with them.

Mackenzie Johnson:

The opportunity to overhear a TV commercial, right, versus a child with headphones on on an iPad. Right? Like we don't overhear it and can't interact. Absolutely. Yeah.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah. So that's one thing. So the single use device is more prevalent. And then also just more products in general, right, there's a greater variability in product lines, and just more products in general that have been created, whether we can use them or not. Right. And so that means that it's just more difficult, I think, for us as consumers to make choices. We know that the research shows that more choices, and we can get paralyzed. And it's also hard to discern what quality there is among products. Yeah, so that's another challenge for consumers and parenting a responsible consumer.

Mackenzie Johnson:

My in-laws have even talked about when they were buying fridges. When they bought their fridge 25 years ago, they're like, now there's so many choices and features. It's just that difference, and that we are raising kids who are going to need to know how to succeed within that and how to consume responsibly within that reality of so much choice sometimes.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, yeah.

Mackenzie Johnson:

A few other things that are unique or more relevant keep happening these days. One is more pathways to spending money, right? So it used to be cash, cash only, right? Like you either had the coins and dollar bills, or you did not. And now there's, I mean, I was gonna say checks, but there are but not as many. But even just like debit cards, credit cards, right? But even like cards that are linked to a device, or I have a friend who has a, I mean funny because it didn't turn out to be detrimental to their family, but their child purchased something via like their Alexa or Google Home. Right. And so there are these, sometimes kids not realizing they're spending money. Yeah, having my card linked to one of our devices, like a tablet. And that money, spending money happens that way. And so it's not always as clear. And there are pros and cons to that, right? Reloadable allowance cards and things like that can be convenient. And sometimes there's challenges with it.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, sure. Yeah. So the invisibility you're talking about? Yes. Right, the abstractness of it that they think is natural, you know, if you have a device in your home that you can interact with and can buy things that, you know, that's natural to them. They don't make the connection that actually there is a cash or, or there is a financial transaction that's involved with interacting with that home device.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, and that's also, you know, that goes along with kind of the last one that I had here was like the increased access to purchasing. Right? So not only there's more pathways, and like you said, more products, like more choices, but also just the shopping online, right? I don't have to go physically into a store to purchase, I can do this with my device that's in my pocket. You know, which there's pros and cons of that, too, because some of the benefits also means increased access to purchase can also mean increased access to helpful services, right? Like, there's things I can do online like online banking. Whew, that's made my life easier than if I needed to physically go into the bank every time.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you bring up what we call fintech. So that's like, a lot more products are available, whether it's like for savings products, investing products, banking, as you mentioned, budgeting, that audiences who may have traditionally been disenfranchised or maybe not comfortable going to traditional financial institutions, maybe not trusting a financial institution, now they can access different products through these technologies on their phones. So I think that's a really big, big plus.

Mackenzie Johnson:

There are realities that we face and that our kids will face. And so we do, we want to raise responsible consumers within this marketplace, like within this context.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Which may be more complicated than it used to be. Let's put it that way.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, that's a great way to kind of summarize

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, so you mean materialism? all of that, like there are different things and that's Overconsuming? What we're consuming. So if you think okay. We just acknowledge that. Yes, so then that kind of brings us back to this research, back to our research and reality, happiness is important, then this matters. If you think right? We talked some of the reality. Bringing it back to the research is like, why is this a big deal? Like, okay, Mackenzie, happiness matters, then yeah. So yeah, we see in the research okay, Suzanne, you're telling us about consumption, you're telling us about all this stuff. What's the big deal? And ultimately, the research tells us there is impact of these that materialism is pretty consistently linked with our things. One, related to the amount of consumption, right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, all of it. Well, and I feel like that well-being. So if we're overly materialistic, we have a decrease in life satisfaction and happiness, and in social cooperation, in vitality, and then on the other side, greater really is kind of wrapping the full picture of the season, rates of depression, anxiety, antisocial behavior, and racism has been shown to be affiliated with materialism. So that's overconsumption materialism, and again, financial socialization by parents leading to consumer values, attitudes, habits, norms, all of it. right? We talked about socialization and well-being and all these things. And really, what we see is when we can raise responsible consumers, right, who do things in alignment with their values and their goals, as opposed to just consumption for the purpose of consumption, right, or to be showy or that idea of affluenza, of keeping up, that that's harmful to them. Right? Yeah, it hurts their well-being, which as parents we typically care about.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Right. Yeah. So if we socialize our children to be more materialistic, excuse me, more driven by things like status, popularity, keeping up with other people, and worrying about the opinions of others, then that is going to be a lot more detrimental than if we have them focus on more intrinsic goals, things like, you know, that are more psychologically linked to well-being. So giving back to the community, having social connectedness, you know, experiences over products and services.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely, absolutely. So that's one of the reasons it's like, what's the big deal? Well, it is linked to our well-being. And another thing you've heard us talk about in this episode is advertising. And one of the reasons that we're talking about advertising, as you know, it's linked to how and what and how much we consume. But the Federal Trade Commission talks about the concern about the amount of advertising that kids see and experience, because the reason it's a big deal for kids, is because kids often cannot tell the difference between ads and just entertainment content, like a show, right? Or, you know, whatever it is, a game. And so according to research from the American Psychological Association, also widely known as the APA, research shows that kids under age eight are prone to accept all advertising as truthful, accurate, and unbiased. So the reason it's a big deal that advertising is everywhere, if you will, and that our kids see a lot of ads is because our kids are a vulnerable population to harmful advertising. Right, that they do not cognitively, in their brain do not yet have the capacity to always be that discerning. And so we thought one of the articles you sent talked about pester power of our kids, their ability to ask and stick with it and ask and like, please, please, please. Even just saying it repeatedly out loud, I'm like, I'm sorry. I just set off every parent listening. But that advertising can help drive that. And especially when our kids do not understand the purpose, right? Advertising is typically meant to drive consumption. So in our family, I've talked about this before, I think we talked about the gimmies. And that's my three year old friendly way of, I'm not saying like, you know what that ad wants you to do? It wants you to buy stuff with the money that we make from our job with our income. Right, we don't go into all of it. But we talk about how sometimes a store might try to give us the gimmies by putting the candy right by where we are checking out in the grocery store or this ad on this game is trying to get me to get that game so that I can pay for it so that they can, you know, I consume the game. And so we talk sometimes about how advertising gives us the gimmies because my kids are six and three.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

I think that's a fantastic conversation to have so they can understand that, well, they're at the age where they cannot understand it. So they see their favorite character from a television show and it's linked to a product and they're like, oh, I must have this. Right, they don't understand that they're being manipulated. Advertisers get paid to sell, you know, to help manufacturers sell products. And there's a lot of ways to do that.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Right? My kids want the string cheese with a certain character, right? That's the string cheese that I want, because I aligned with that character, not because I care particularly about string cheese, not because I've ever noticed there's a difference. Right? And so that's power. That is power that they have with these little consumers already.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, these characters are endorsing products for, you know, for them. So, yeah, so that is a workaround for parents.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah. Yes. I've also heard the, I think I've said this before, putting like branded stickers on fruit. Bringing stickers just to basically trick our kids into, I saw that somewhere and it made me laugh. And I was like, that's kind of genius. I haven't done it myself. But I do think it's kind of genius.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Well, the thought did cross my mind, too, is like, do we do that with healthy, a lot of healthy foods, where we have the link between the character. We need more of that.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Right? Nutrient dense foods? Yes. But the good news is we're like, why is this concerning? Well, alongside the kind of concerns that we can have about the amount of advertising or about overconsumption, luckily, there's good news. And Suzanne has actually some really specific strategies. Did I ask you earlier, where we were pulling our strategies from? I know you had a good, it was good stuff.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Oh, it's a simple consumer economics textbook.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, awesome. We love this. So these are 10 strategies for raising responsible consumers. And so we're gonna kind of like spitfire them at you really quick, but just 10 things that you can do to help raise responsible consumers.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, and what that looks like, right? So the first thing is the responsible consumer shouldn't assume things. So they should always ask questions. That's something we've talked about, I think, in previous episodes, that problems arise as a consumer, if you have a misunderstanding about what the features or expectations, what the contract is, for a product or a good or service.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. The next one, a responsible consumer gets agreements in writing. The verbal word doesn't necessarily hold up. So if we're purchasing something, or bartering, like even trading, right, like, I'll give you this, you give me that, having things in writing, responsible consumer, that's something they do.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah. Number three, research things ahead of time before you go shopping for a product or service so you're well informed. You know more. You'll be able to get a good deal, get the right product, ways to go about that. You might ask friends. There's great consumer publications that have expert reviews that you could look at. There's great comparison shopping, you know, programs in terms of looking at prices.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Another one talking about price, we want to consider the balance of price and quality when we're making purchases. So cheaper is not always better, right? Sometimes we need to consider like, the durability, right? If I buy something, yes, it's cheap, but maybe I'm gonna need to buy six of them. And then it's actually more expensive, because in that amount of time, maybe I would have only needed one that actually cost less. So consider that balance of price and quality.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Okay, when it comes to using service providers, it's important to do a little investigation. It's that asking questions piece, verify their license if they're providing a particular service that requires that. Check if there's been any complaints against them, and get references, word of mouth.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Right. And I'm like childcare, electricians, those are all service providers.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yes, they are. Yes. Do they have their license? Are they bonded by an insurance company if something goes wrong. You know, these are all things that you don't think about.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Good consumers do or responsible, responsible consumers do. Oh, another thing for responsible consumers is not being bullied into buying something, often into buying something right now. Right, so that's a common sales tactic is like today only because the reason it's a tactic is because it basically gets us out of our responsible consumer mindset of researching ahead and of making the decision that aligns with our values, right? So not getting bullied into quick decisions.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Right, and the next one is don't get fooled. Don't believe everything that you see and you hear because if something seems too good to be true, it typically is.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I've been fooled by that one. I've been fooled by a good ad or two. Can't believe everything we see or here. So another thing responsible consumers do is know the policies for returns or exchanges. I actually recently made this error that I thought I could make, I just assumed, oh, of course, I could return this if it doesn't fit quite right. And then come to find out actually, I didn't know my policies. So knowing about returns and exchanges when you're purchasing something in case things go awry, because that's another thing a responsible consumer does. That's a part of it is, what do I do after the purchase if I do have regret? Yeah.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

So I have to go on a tangent for a minute. So as a consumer, we're informed. That's one aspect of being a consumer. But then we're also rational. That's the other part. And regardless of age, you know, you can be in your 50s and be irrational and uninformed. And so as a parent, you're modeling, your kids are picking up and observing who you are as a consumer. You want to be that informed and rational consumer that you're modeling for your child. Yeah. So yeah, so know your policies for returns and exchanges. And then the other one is to seek unbiased experts when you're making a purchase and the example of buying a used car. If you're going to buy a used car, if you have a friend or you can pay a mechanic to come and check it out for you, you can avoid buying a lemon. So seek out that unbiased expertise.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. Well, and yeah, that can be in the form of actual people, but also others. I even think of like Consumer Reports. And there are services, like places you can get unbiased information. Definitely. Okay. And then the final one, I was not necessarily thinking about, but responsible consumers guard their personal information, right? So knowing to protect ourselves from identity theft, things like don't give out your social security number. But it does, it protects us from fraud and exploitation and things like that. So that's another thing that responsible consumers do.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Yeah, yeah. And, as all part of this is knowing, when you talk about identity theft, and you talked about the Federal Trade Commission, there are agencies. You know, the first step for retribution or remedy when you've been wronged in the marketplace, you go back to the seller. And if that doesn't work, there's all sorts of great consumer protection agencies for you to go to so they can do the time and the effort. Because it is going to be time consuming to make things right.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, absolutely. So I love these. Yeah, right. Straight from the textbook. I love when we are able to pull things straight from the textbook. So 10 strategies for helping raise responsible, well, being and raising responsible consumers. So yeah, lots of good stuff here. We do have a minute to do our last, are you prepared, Suzanne, our last Stop. Breathe. Talk. space of the season, inviting our producer Mackenzie DeJong in to ask us an off the cuff question.

Mackenzie DeJong:

All right, so because it is the last episode of the season, my question for you is what, either personally, or like for what you want to share with our listeners, what was your big aha of this season? What was your big like, I know Mackenzie, you often are like, oh, I'm always challenged when we have a season. I have these big ahas. And maybe, Suzanne, maybe you had a personal one too, or you just had something you want to share with listeners of like, this is the one thing that stands out in my mind.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I have one right away.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Mm hmm.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Okay, one of mine is I'm doing way more financial socialization for my kids than I thought. In the first episode this season, I was like, ooh, I have some room for improvement. And you're like, stop, stop. And I thought you were just being nice. And I'm like, oh, no, like we are. And I mean, me individually, right, like our family. But also, as our listeners and our viewers, chances are you're doing more, whether intentionally or unintentionally, than you think. Again, we don't always give a lot of thought to this financial part of our lives, but obviously significant things that go along with it. So I would say like, we're doing more than we think. And there's great opportunities to do it in like practical ways that really align with your values.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

I love it. Yeah. And I think I said in a previous episode, you don't give yourself enough credit because all the examples that you've used this season have been really impressive. You do have so many conversations and examples that you that you provided, that are like wow, you're doing it. So for me, when we were kind of contemplating implicit versus explicit financial socialization, so implicit being like the unspoken lessons versus the explicit socialization being those real purposive lessons. For me, just reflecting on my childhood and the imprint of my parents, implicit because they were not overt teachers of money management lessons, but just how that plays out in your adult life and your consumer behavior and your financial behaviors, I think is just so important for everybody to just spend that time thinking about it. Like, what am I doing today based on what my parents or guardian in my household taught me? It could be a grandparent, it could be an uncle. Yes. How is it playing out today, in today's real time?

Mackenzie Johnson:

I love that. Yeah. We, we, Kenz, we had some impact on Suzanne who knows a lot of stuff. Oh, yeah. Nice. We love it. Awesome.

Mackenzie DeJong:

All right. Well, thank you for the last response to the last Stop. Breathe. Talk. of the season. It's been great having you around, Suzanne.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Thank you, Mackenzie. You're an awesome producer.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Well, thanks.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, yeah, we're so glad to have her. Because that is, that wraps it. There it is. Season 11 talking about kids and money. And I mean, yeah, today, specifically in our episode talking about consumption and strategies for raising responsible consumers. And I mean, the long term impact that can happen from overconsumption or positive right, living in alignment with our financial, you know, values and our family goals and things. But, I mean, gosh, this whole season, I mean, I feel like I mean, yes, Mackenzie's bow, really her question really ties it all in a bow. We did, I mean, talk about financial socialization. We talked about the implicit and explicit. We talked about what influences how we use our money, right. And even just, I mean I learned a lot of new terms, like financial well-being and financial capability. And it was great to kind of break it down by age, right, that episode on kids, the episode on teens, and then some specific to emerging adults. But I mean, man, we've covered a lot this season, Suzanne.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

We did, yeah. And you did an amazing job organizing all the research and putting the episodes together. So you definitely get the credit. I appreciate you putting a focus on the topic. And you know, money's at the, it should be, doesn't have to be complicated. It can be very simple, but it is part of our everyday life and practically everything we do, unfortunately.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. Well, and thank you. I mean, yes, I was organizing pieces that you brought to the table with your expertise. And so it's been great to collaborate and talk through and honestly, for me, like I said, at the end of season, I didn't know. I always give this a lot of thought this like financial parenting. And so it's been great to dig into that with you and hear your expertise and insight and share with our viewers. So thank you so much for joining us this season as our guest cohost. We've loved having you here chatting through all this stuff. And so it's been a lot of fun.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

Thank you. Yes, it has been a lot of fun.

Mackenzie Johnson:

All right. Well, that's a wrap, I think. So as always, thank you for joining us here on the Science of Parenting podcast today. And for listeners, remember that you can join us on social media, Facebook or Twitter, at scienceofparents, and you can see our content in your feed and stay caught up with us between seasons.

Suzanne Bartholomae:

So come along as we tackle ups and downs, the ins and outs, and the research and reality all around the Science of Parenting.

Anthony Santiago:

The Science of Parenting is hosted by Mackenzie Johnson, produced by Mackenzie DeJong, with research and writing by Barbara Dunn Swanson. Send in questions and comments to parenting@iastate.edu and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext.