30-12-2022 | Original Paper
Children’s Influence on Parents: the Bidirectional Relationship in Family Meal Selection
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Child and Family StudiesLog in om toegang te krijgen
Feeding a child in the 21st century can be challenging. A child’s diet is thought to be a parent’s responsibility, and numerous studies have explored how parents influence their child’s food intake through food availability, feeding practices, and modeling. However, this relationship is likely bidirectional such that the child influences the parent as well (sometimes called “pester power”). Pester power has been studied in grocery stores and restaurants. However, no research to date investigates how children influence parent’s food selection when eating at home. This study addresses this gap by asking parent and child dyads (N = 79, 95% white) to create meals together and separately. Forty 6–8 and thirty-nine 13–15 year-olds participated. Most of the parents (97.5%) and children (49.4%) who participated were female; and parents reported an average annual income of over 80,000 dollars (68.3%). Mean differences in the nutrient content of the meals were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVAs to examine the strength of influence in the bidirectional relationship. Results suggested when children were present for meal selection, they exerted influence over their parents for more palatable items. When choosing foods as a dyad versus when the parent selected meals for the family, the foods contained more calories, sugar, and less fiber. Protein was the only nutrient that parents influenced in their child’s selections. These findings have important implications for understanding the often-overlooked bidirectional dynamic of the feeding relationship, and the accompanying health outcomes of child dietary intake.