Children rule, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research analysis of how parenting has changed over time. The outsized power of children in modern American families is a relatively recent phenomenon, and the NBER researchers theorize that children have become more powerful because competition within families has changed.
"The key intuition is that the rise in relative earnings of wives increased competition between spouses for the love and affection of their children," the researchers say, "while the decline in family size reduced competition between children for resources from their parents. The combined effect has empowered children."
Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, When Children Rule: Parenting in Modern Families, NBER Working Paper #23087 ($5)