Every generation is different, and Millennials are no exception. Now that many young people in this generation are in the parenting stage of their lives, we’re starting to see new trends in raising children that are unique to Millennials.
As with their predecessors, varying cultural influences have changed the way Millennials see parenting while new technology has simultaneously enabled unprecedented information-sharing among new parents, healthcare professionals, and experts. So what does this mean for the generation they’re raising? Let’s take a look.
What makes the millennial generation unique?
Millennials have done a lot to differentiate themselves from Baby Boomer and Gen X parents, but two of the most noticeable differences are their tendency to wait longer to have children and their co-parenting habits.
Overall, Millennials aren’t rushing to start a family like generations before them. In 1980, the average woman had her first child at 22.7 years of age. By 2013, that average had shifted to 26. Economic factors are partly responsible for this shift. The Millennial generation is more likely to struggle financially, and many households must have dual incomes to meet their expenses.
More and more men are taking an active role in their children’s lives and are making a conscious effort to spend more time with their families. In the mid-20th century, most fathers had little active involvement in their children’s day-to-day lives. Today, they’re taking on more household chores, spending more time parenting, and requesting paternity leave to help shoulder the responsibilities of raising a baby and to enjoy the first few weeks or months with their newborn.
Changes in Family Structure and Upbringing
In response to shifting cultural influences, Millennials are raising their children to be more tolerant, open-minded, and worldly. They’re less likely to be raising kids in traditional family structures and are often unmarried when they start their families. In response to growing concern over gender stereotypes, some Millennials practice gender-neutral parenting in an effort to allow children to build their own identities.
Religion is also becoming less important in Millennial families, while health and wellness are growing concerns, thanks to the rise of childhood obesity and new knowledge about how nutrition affects health and well-being. Millennials, like any parents, want the best for their kids—they’re just doing it in a much different way than their parents and grandparents.
The Millennial Effect
Some of the parenting trends we’re seeing are influenced by technology, the rise of digital marketing, and the future of tech work. Millennial parents frequently dismiss traditional and common names for more unique options that not only set a child apart but offer opportunities for a unique domain name.
Most of them are also sharing peeks into their children’s lives on social media with family, friends, and even the whole world. Some Millennial parents have even turned their kids into influencers on YouTube and Instagram before they can even talk. Brands are taking notice of parents’ willingness to involve their children in digital marketing and are cashing in big.
Digitally Empowered Parenting
There’s never been more information available to new parents. Millennial parents go online to find advice for just about anything, from how to prepare for their first child to encouraging healthy cognitive development.
There are two major ways Millennials are seeking out parenting advice online: from experts on YouTube, social media, and blogs, and from other parents, in forums, support groups, and on social media. These resources help parents out when they’re feeling confused, uncertain, or simply overwhelmed.
Instead of turning to parenting books or tuning in to a talk show, today’s parents are digitally empowered and can seek out answers with a click or tap. Parenting apps, websites, and other digital support options allow parents to get answers when they need them, rather than waiting for a doctor’s appointment or meeting with the school counselor.
Technology Shaping Parenting
The digital acumen of the Millennial generation has enabled them to express themselves and remarkable ways, and they’ll no doubt pass that creativity on to their children.
Today’s parents know how important it is for their children to be adaptable, open-minded, and tech-savvy. They want their kids to grow up with a strong sense of self, healthy habits, and resilience that will serve them in every situation.
Although there are some legitimate concerns about the decline of outdoor play and the rise of excessive screen time, Millennial parents are providing their kids with something very valuable: their time. Families are spending more time together and creating strong bonds that will help kids grow up feeling safe, secure, and loved.
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