Looks Like We’re Millennial Parents

October 29, 2017
Looks Like We're Millennial Parents

Millennials, or Generation Y’ers, are the generation vaguely marked from birth as early as 1980 until as late as 2000, though, preciseness is not standard. What is essential are the traits, habits, tendencies, and experiences the millennial generation have broadly incurred, which have proven to be quite different the previous Generation X (born from about 1961-1980) and the older “Baby Boomers” (born approximately 1946-1961). Now that millennials have birthed the majority of babies born recently, up to 90% for first-time births from sources, it is interesting to recognize dominant identifiers that distinguish these mothers and fathers from their descendants. Millennials have gotten a bad reputation for discernable peculiar behavior, but many construct a selfless shift when transitioning into parenthood that has used the best of what they received when growing up with technology.

What millennials are known for

Millennials have been characterized by inclinations towards perceived laziness and indifference. They are seen as more materialistically and image-conscious and less engaged in civil and global issues than their predecessors. Moreover, regardless of the exposure to more education, millennials can look to be clueless and unprepared for the inevitability of adulthood. “This age group has been called the Peter Pan or Boomerang Generation because of the propensity of some to move back in with their parents, perhaps due to economic constraints, and a growing tendency to delay some of the typical adulthood rites of passage like marriage or starting a career.” (Main, 2017)

A considerable number of 20-something and 30-something millennials entered the workforce just as the economy took a turn for the worst, inducing some hesitancy and sensible fears of financial failure. Millennials may see “struggle” as futile and prefer to focus on happier (easier…?) facets of life rather than the realities of where we are as a society. Teenaged millennials are coming of age in the social media bubble when it is, frankly, normalized to ask Google or poll Facebook about a specific issue than to ask mom or dad.

“Millennials are perhaps best known for their legendary individualism and fixation on self,” says Anne K. Halsall for the parenting app Winnie. (Halsall, 2017) This can be attributed, in part, to an increased societal emphasis on individuality, paired with the supremacy of reality television and our “look-at-me” modernized media.

Of course, millennials are not all “doom and gloom” and hold some impressively positive attributes, as well. “They are generally regarded as being more open-minded, and more supportive of gay rights and equal rights for minorities. Other positive adjectives to describe them include confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living.” (Main, 2017) The research regarding how these diverse patterns of behavior translates into parenthood are in motion, but some intriguing findings have already been ascertained.

A millennial mom

Looking closer at millennials as most of the world’s newest parents, there are demarcations to be made about millennial moms. “Most millennial moms don’t want to raise their children the same way they were brought up,” says Kate Schweitzer for POPSUGAR Moms. “They want to be more involved than baby boomers, for whom ‘parenting’ wasn’t even yet a verb, but they want to hover a little less than those helicopter moms of Gen X. Just as they believe in a diverse portfolio of social media accounts, they are aiming to employ aspects of many different child-raising philosophies in their homes.” (Schweitzer, 2017)

Millennial moms know how to find the information they seek. “When you also consider the fact that a record number of millennials have college degrees, you have to approach millennial moms as smarter, more informed, and savvier than previous generations at this point in their lives.” (“Millennial Moms: Who They Are & What They Care About”) This is no different as they strive to facilitate an uncomplicated form of parenting in their homes, whether its free-ranging or crunchy. “This is the single biggest difference between millennial parents and those of other generations: the Internet. . .This is a generation of parents armed with unprecedented amounts of information about childrearing. And perhaps more importantly, a generation of parents who are eager to use that information to do a better job.” (Halsall, 2017)

Technology has promoted a powerful sense of community for most millennials, particularly moms. “Although millennial moms might have grown up entitled, they prefer to engage with their communities in interesting ways, whether blogging about the highs and lows of having twins, posting family-friendly recipes on popular cooking sites, or opening an Etsy shop to sell custom-made products.” (Schweitzer, 2017) This type of modified “village” creation was not possible in earlier generations.

A millennial dad

Like the changes in millennial moms, millennial dads have, perhaps, undergone the largest role departure seen historically from earlier generations. “. . .Today’s new dads are different. Nearly two-thirds of households with kids have two working spouses, and as women have pushed into the workforce, dads have pushed onto the playground. Or at least they’ve tried to. It’s a portrayal of dad that’s a little different from what we’re used to. Think Homer Simpson, Al Bundy or Archie Bunker. . . ‘A father would come home, read the newspaper, not pay much attention to the kids really, and still be considered a good father because he was making the family financially stable. . .’” (Dokoupil, 2017)

Modern fatherhood is distinguishable by a more equitable split of household tasks and childcare. The man is expected to assist the woman with maintaining schedules and chores. The man is not always the financial manager of the home. Some millennial dads are happy to stay at home as the mom works and travels.

“Millennial men are redefining partnership and parenting. . .” says writer Dina Leygerman for Romper. “They are more involved, more in-tune, and more aware. . .They have realized there is much more to parenting than just fiscal support. Instead, they recognize that in addition to financial support (sometimes, although not always in many cases) they’re also responsible for raising and guiding their kids through childhood and into adulthood.” (Leygerman, 2017) These ideas may have stemmed from the single mothers of millennial men: in households where fathers were not there, or present, but emotionally absent, millennials may have been taught greater equity and value of women.

Millennials want to win at parenthood

Millennials may have some kooky penchants of behavior (like heavily preferring texting over talking) and may display quite the addiction to their iPhones or to Netflix, but, as parents, many are weeding through the fluff to determine just exactly what their children will need in the manner they best know how. A predisposition and application towards parenting research, and a physical and mental engagement by a father in the home, should theoretically make for a more harmonious familial union. It is difficult to deem just how advantageous the choices millennial parents make will be for their children, the Generation Alphas and beyond, but the possibilities most certainly make for great conversation.

Works Cited

Dokoupil, Tony. “Daddy’s home: Millennial fathers amp up parenting.” CBS News, Jun. 18, 2017, Accessed Oct. 29, 2017.

Leygerman, Dina. “7 Reasons Millennial Dads Are The Best Dads Ever.” Romper, Apr. 28, 2017, Accessed Oct. 29, 2017.

Halsall, Anne K. “Millennials may be history’s most competent parents. Here’s why.” Winnie, Sep. 19, 2017, Accessed Oct. 28, 2017.

Main, Douglas. “Who Are the Millennials?LiveScience, Sep. 8, 2017, Accessed Oct. 29, 2017.

Millennial Moms: Who They Are & What They Care About.” Steadfast Creative, n.d., Accessed Oct. 29, 2017.

Schweitzer, Kate. “8 Things You Need to Know About Millennial Moms.” POPSUGAR Moms, Aug. 29, 2017, Accessed Oct. 29, 2017.

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