Parents and Kids Share Common Interests

Discussion
Apr 05, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Something is happening today that didn’t take place in previous generations. Parents and kids are hanging out together because they share the same hobbies.


Mike and Kameron Bednarz are a prime example, according to a report by The Associated Press. The father and son like a lot of the same things: snowboarding, playing guitar and video games.


Kameron Diaz, eight-years-old, thinks its cool having his father go to the skating park with him to do rail slides. Aside from the receding hairline, Dad could just be a big kid.


Chuck Underwood, founder of The Generational Imperative Inc., said many 30- and 40-something parents have similar relationships with their kids. “The shared experiences between parent and child are shifting. Instead of fathers teaching their sons how to play sports or use tools, now they’ve got video games.”


Some experts see parents’ desire to spend more pal time with their kids as a reaction to having parents apparently more focused on careers than their relationships with their kids and spouses. The high incidence of divorce is said to have contributed to the distance many GenX children felt between them and their parents.


Bill Strauss, a generational expert and co-author of Millennials and the Pop Culture, said, “On the whole, they’re correcting for this. They’re not going to allow their own children to be left alone.”


Others caution, however, that as close as parents want to be with their kids, there comes a point in a child’s development when the gap between generations becomes inevitable.


Kathleen Gasperini, senior vice president of the youth culture marketing research firm Label Networks, said, “There’ll come a time when they look at their 14-year-old and say, ‘I have no idea who you are.'”


Mike Bednarz is hoping that Kameron will still think its cool to go skating with his Dad even then.


Moderator’s Comment: What does the growing number of parents and kids sharing hobbies mean for retailers and other consumer marketers?
George Anderson – Moderator

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

11 Comments on "Parents and Kids Share Common Interests"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Kai Clarke
Guest
14 years 11 months ago

Parents and children sharing common interests give marketers a large boost. It combines their focus and purchasing power, while educating both segments at the same time. This enables marketers to better determine what each segment wants (by appealing to the other, i.e. the parent) and still delivering something which can effectively fill their needs. This all has to be taken with a grain of salt, since marketing must still have the appeal of the younger generation, albeit with a helping hand from the older generation that is now also involved. It is critical that companies that do segmentation analysis don’t get caught in segmentation paralysis, since defining their target market may become less-defined rather than vice versa. The key here is to always remember who the influencer is, and who pays!

Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 11 months ago

Warren’s comment is wise. Even if statistics were presented, like many statistics quoted daily, they’d be suspect. Every once in a great while, an event or activity “breaks the mold” and uniquely becomes enjoyable for people of all ages. For example, certain Disney movies and Disney’s theme parks have a very wide appeal. But these examples aren’t new and there aren’t many other major examples, past or present. Yes, adults and children play video games, but most popular games have age group targets. Furthermore, children love repetition much more than adults. Many parents like visiting Disney once or twice, but find further visits wearing. Yet their young children like going back to the same places again and again.

Sid Raisch
Guest
Sid Raisch
14 years 11 months ago
This is among the more controversial topics lately. Let’s call it the “Battle of the Generations”. I’ve noticed GenX taking interest in the relative merits of their own generation, lately. In my view, a shift of family togetherness began much earlier with the Jones Generation. These are the younger boomers 40 – 51 that Jonathan Pontell identified. More at http://www.jonathanpontell.com. Jonser’s began showing up in force along the sidelines and in the bleachers during their kids sports. Loyalists and early boomers had no time for this. Family activities became more adventuresome with Jonsers who were interested in active sports and took their kids with them as they grew up on bike treks, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, etc. Could it be that Gen X is following that trend, not inventing it? Any way you slice it, this is good for families, although we may not know how good until the kids kids grow up. Is it good for marketers? Heck yea! Let’s go do it. I’m 47 with a 14 year old son. His parents have been… Read more »
Mark Burr
Guest
14 years 11 months ago

The ‘things’ may be different but I don’t see the change in what parents are doing today versus any previous generation.

Video games? That’s taking away from sports and tools? I think Warren is right!

Ryan Mathews
Guest
14 years 11 months ago

One more vote for Warren.

Warren Thayer
Guest
14 years 11 months ago

Um, is there data? This sorta sounds like a reporter had an idea, and went out to “prove” it.

Matt Werhner
Guest
Matt Werhner
14 years 11 months ago

As a full-fledged GenXer I can speak to this although I cannot speak for all GenX parents. Parent-child relationships will always vary from family to family. This generation seems to have more hobbies that parents and children can enjoy together. The staples such as football, soccer, baseball, and Barbie are still prevalent but now we have video games, online games, and the X games. Will this growing trend make a significant difference for retailers? I doubt it.

Thomas M. Chmielewski
Guest
Thomas M. Chmielewski
14 years 11 months ago

Retailers and consumer marketers will have to navigate a fine line in order to market to both generations. Walking into a sports store with loud gen-x music, funky lighting and “dude” type sales representatives may cause the dad or mom (and the wallet) to turn to a more traditional store to meet the family needs, and take Junior to the more traditional store as well. Marketers, who want to laser focus their efforts, will find they have to double their efforts to hit both generations. A good example is a local paintball establishment has risen to the challenge, advertising “fun for the whole family” and showing a picture of Mom, Dad, and the kids having a blast. It caught my eye.

Ganapathy Subramanian
Guest
Ganapathy Subramanian
14 years 11 months ago
The western world family relationship is totally different from the Indian culture, because in the western world, after a certain age, the kids will live on their own and most of the kids have too much freedom. The separation between the parents and kids gives an insecure life both to kids and parents. But in my country, it is other way round. (The entire family lives in the same house even after their kids are wedded; the grandkids live along with grand parents; joint family union is very strong.) During my young days in my family, we lived with our uncle’s family (close to 20 people in the same house) so the family bonding is extremely strong. When I was kid, my closeness with my father was like a teacher and student relationship. Some times, I purposely avoided my father (whenever I got low marks in the exams). Today, I am 46 years old and I have a son who is just eight years. But our closeness is something great; I share most of the… Read more »
Brian Numainville
Guest
14 years 11 months ago

While as a GenXer I do find myself spending more time with my sons than I recall my father spending with me on “common interests,” as a researcher, I too agree with Warren.

Steve Anderson
Guest
Steve Anderson
14 years 11 months ago

Snowboarding? X-Games? Those are Gen-Y phenomenons…

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

How would you say the relationship between GenX parents and their kids compares to previous generations?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...