By SOFIA E. VENIEGAS
Millenial parenting is changing the game rules of traditional parenting styles. The millennial generation has taken a front seat for the past years. They have shaken the online world with their unlimited access to social media. Now that most of them are entering the family life, people are curious as to how these bunch of internet savvy individual bring their parenting to the online world or the other way around. Are they radically changing the way parents raised children 30 years ago?
What do you think the children of millennial parents will become? Before you answer that question, let’s find out if you are a typical millennial parent, answer the following questions:
- Is your social media timeline filled with your child’s picture?
- Do you document your child’s life through social media?
- Do you browse the internet looking for parenting advice?
- Does your little child know how to take a selfie?
- Do you often shop online not for yourself but your child’s?
- Are you a member of a parenting group in social media?
- Are you connected 24/7?
If you answer at least 5 YESes to these questions, you are a signature millennial parent. Although millennial parents spend most of their time on social media, surprisingly are the most family focus parents of all the past generation of parents. It is very unlikely, but bodies of research proved so. Even though the millennial generation is the most anxious and stressed generation, they have proven to be the coolest parents.
- A Time Magazine survey of 2000 US parents showed that 23.2% of millennial parents are staying at home compared with GenX 16% and Baby boomer 22%.
- Millennials are cited to be the most socially connected generation.
- Millennials use the ‘drone approach’ parenting style where they closely monitor the activities of their children but give them more freedom than their predecessors.
- Fifty-two per cent of millennial parents admit to closely monitoring what their child eats. Statistics show that health care cost associated with healthy dieting as their financial priorities. (source: heavenlife.com)
- Their biggest financial stress (69%) is coming from a desire to give comfortable upbringing to their children. (source: heavenlife.com)
- Their biggest (60%) goal is to raise compassionate, kind, creative and value family children. (source:heavenlife.com)
- Finally, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center says that 57% of millennial mothers claim that they are doing a very good job as a parent, compared with 48% of GenX and 41% of Baby Boomers (source: businessinsider.com)
Parenting advice pervaded the internet but despite these varying opinions on parenting, millennial parents continue to carve their unique mark. The enormous amount of parenting resources on the internet have helped millennial parents design their signature parenting style. Other than naming their babies differently and creatively, millennial parents have more to offer than skin deep parenting. Dr Kathleen Gerson, a sociology professor from New York University outlines 6 key differences in the millennial parents’ styles in her book The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work and Family (source: kindercare.com).
- Ironically, millennial parents today spend more time with their children than parents in the 1950s. Despite both parents having to work full time, they find time to spend quality time with their children. Unlike in the past generation of parents where only the mother is responsible in raising the kids, today’s parents apply a ‘co-parenting’ approach where both the mother and father find time to spend time with their children. Research shows that millennial parents are the most family-oriented generation than the other generation of parents.
- Millennial parents use positive discipline over authoritarian discipline. It is perplexing that today’s parents are more open to positive discipline where in fact, most millennials grew up in authoritarian homes. Is it because they don’t want their children to grow up the way they were raised?
- Millennial parents value togetherness. When you go to the park or malls during weekends (before the pandemic happened) you will notice young parents with their children. They find time to be together as a family, spend with their children at the mall, in the park or picnic. Is it a reflection that millennials who did not experience quality time with their baby boomer or GenX parents make sure their children do not experience the same?
- Millennial parents take the safety of their children seriously. These parents are over the top when it comes to practicing safety precaution for their children. They are exaggeratedly cautious and protective parents.
- Millennial parents are crazy about routine and schedule. Because of their busy lives, millennial parents plot not only their schedules but their children’s too. Included in their schedules are weekend getaways, summer camps, children’s clubs, etc.
- Millennial parents understand the importance of early years and that they care more about their children’s future. According to Forbes Magazine, 66% of millennials are saving for their children’s college education than 47% of Gen Xers and 35% of Baby Boomers.
Aside from the six attributes mentioned by Dr Gerson, other bodies of research found millennial parents to be so much engaged in family life.
7. Millennial fathers are more involved in household chores and taking care of children. Because millennials are much more open to the changes in culture, norms and stereotyped roles, millennial men find nothing wrong with being a house husband.
8. Millennials have found more ways to balance career and family life. (Thanks to technology and ‘Work from Home’ arrangements). This may be because millennials have learned from the mistakes of their baby boomer parents who put career first over the family.
Millennial parents are not after all lousy parents, contrary to popular belief. Even if they are disrupted by technology, distracted by social media and distraught about world crises and the pandemic, they manage to still come out as good parents. There is real hope for humanity with the kind of upbringing the millennial parents are giving to the future citizens of the world.