When money’s tight, parents talk less to kids – UC Berkeley research

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

Don’t forget: children aren’t blind and stupid. If your parents are constantly worried and stressed, you’ll be more likely to frame your own needs and wants as “bothering them” and therefore subconsciously demand less attention from them. So then the parents may get the impression you simply don’t need as much direct attention as other children. Which they consider as a godsend, as they need their mental acuities to get through whichever economic crisis the family has to face this week. Cue negative spiral where these children in particular get less and less attention from their parents as time goes on. But even the child that actually does need a lot less attention than everyone will eventually run a deficit the longer this goes on and end up looking for attention elsewhere. But they aren’t practiced in how to get positive attention, so they’re just brute forcing the process (think trial and error) and some will sooner figure out how to consistently garner negative attenton than a healthy way to inconsistently (since you can’t please everyone at all times) garner positive attention. And since living beings tend to go the path of least resistance…


Fuckin hell, stress is tough on everybody…. I really needed to see this. Thanks


I was worried about the classical correlation vs. causality issue, but it seems they actually sort of “controlled” for this in a very nice way: >As the researchers predicted, analyses revealed that parents engaged in fewer conversational turns with their children at the month’s end, a time that typically coincides with money being tight as parents await paychecks or other sources of income. “Because we had recordings from the same parents at different times of the month, we could essentially use parents as their own controls,” said study lead author Monica Ellwood-Lowe, a Ph.D. student in psychology at UC Berkeley. “This allowed us to really pinpoint differences in their speech patterns when they were more or less likely to be experiencing financial strain, independent of any of their own personal characteristics.”


Makes sense. If you talk to your kids they are more like to ask for stuff.


Advice to parents: more talk, less violence.