Do Children Know Best? Parents Want Kids' Input on Dinner, Buying a Car

(Thinkstock Photos)(Thinkstock Photos)The days of 'because I said so' are long gone. Why? Because your kid said so.

Parents today are more likely to consult their children on family decisions both big and small, rather than make choices all on their own. A new survey of 1300 American parents found that a startling 64 percent get feedback from their kids before before making the rules or even making a purchase.

The survey, conducted by the consumer research group The Family Room, found that 27 percent of parents actually let kids make a majority of the household decisions themselves. And that doesn't just mean what's for dinner, but what computer to buy or which car-maker to trust.

It's called Generation Collaboration, according to the Family Room, and it's a new way of parenting that puts kids, if not in the drivers' seat, than in front passenger seat with an emergency break.

What's in the fridge is more likely a blend of foods kids and parents agree on. Grocery shopping is a compromise as opposed to a litany of pleas and occasional cave-ins. And regardless of the decision, parents are more likely to ask kids "are you okay with that?" before the final word is had.

According to the survey about half of parents will even ask their kids before they make purchases for themselves, especially when it comes to technology products. The Family Room says the "chief technology officer" in the house is usually the pre-teen. Even a portion of parents looking to purchase their next car turn to their own teenagers for advice.

It's huge shift from the baby boom generation raised under the tutelage of "Father Knows Best" and the credo that "children should be seen and not heard".

In contrast, 'Gen C' is a reaction to the world we live in now. First and always, blame the economy. With most two-parent households relying on two working parents, kids are left to their own devices longer. As a result, "parent guilt" drives moms and dads to give their kids more power when they're all together, according to Family Room researchers. But it's also born out of the need to make their kids more self-sufficient and independent. Both are key to kids making trust-worthy decisions on their own. Another cause of 'Gen C': the importance placed on self-esteem and open communication. Both are more valued than old-school obedience and manners in terms of raising healthy, socially adapted kids.

That may be, in part, because social networking and its underage audience rule the consumer-driven world. Parents are turning to kids for advice on technology, because technology is made for and by a generation of kids or almost-kids. Raised with iPhones as toys and playlists as bedtime lullabies, young children are understand the nature of gadgets in a more innate way that the generations that came before them. Meanwhile, the generation building the newest technology is younger than ever before and marketing with an eye to the future.

Case in point, SNL's recent Verizon parody describing the manic, hyper-variety of smartphones as "an old person's nightmare." Some things, particularly gadgets, are already over the heads of consumers in their 30's and 40's.

As the voice of social networking sites and some of the most active, devoted users of Twitter and Facebook, companies are following what kids say is "trending" in order to design everything from gadgets to entertainment. Like many parents, major corporations are also are deciding with kids in mind, over adults. So it's no wonder parents need their kids' input before they buy the thing that wasn't really made for them in the first place.

Confusing, yes, but does it sound familiar? Do you find your child helps make family decisions on what to buy? Do kids really know best about certain purchases?

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