Children's Desires/Mothers' Dilemmas: The Social Contexts of Consumption

Ellen Seiter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Toys, commercials, and animated programs are the lingua franca of young children at babysitters' and grandmothers' houses, day-care centers, and pre-schools across the United States. Within the family, children's taste for certain television shows and certain toys can set them apart from their elders. Toys and children's television programs are cultural products that mimic adult culture by imitating popular entertainment genres and borrowing from them characters, plots, locales, and costumes. Mothers may object to children's consumer culture, but they usually give in to it as well, largely because of the usefulness of television programs and toys as convenience goods for caretakers of children. Children's interest in consumer culture involves much more than greed, hedonism, or passivity: it involves the desire for community and for a utopian freedom from adult authority, seriousness, and goal directedness. Children's desires for consumer goods trigger fears of a decline in morals and the emergence of a narcissistic personality type.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChildhood Socialization
EditorsTheron Alexander
Place of PublicationOxon; New York
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781351529068, 9781315081427
ISBN (Print)9780202306421, 9780202306414
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2005

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


Dive into the research topics of 'Children's Desires/Mothers' Dilemmas: The Social Contexts of Consumption'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this