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Our Most Shared Article of 2013: How Millennial Parents Will Change Families

As we look back on 2013, we want to take note of not just the information we think is the most important, but also what you thought was important. We combed through a year of posts, and our article on how Millennial parents could change families was our most shared of the year. We dedicated a lot of 2013 to reassessing Millennials and talking about the ways that they are tackling major milestones as they age up and navigate adulthood. The coming wave of Millennial parents that we made these predictions about back in May will be sweeping in increasing force over the next few years, so paying attention to the way they approach their roles differently from previous generations will be vitally important to many brands. Today we’re sharing that popular post again to remind you of the stark generational differences we’ve seen as Millennials grow up and how they will be shaping the next generation in the coming years.
 
The oldest edge of Millennials have entered their 30s, and though the generation as a whole has delayed parenthood, 70% of Millennials who aren’t yet parents say that they want kids, and 26% of them want kids within the next five years. That’s a huge wave of Millennials who are going to become parents in the relatively near future, and they’re approaching parenthood with their own expectations. Just as they have begun navigating adulthood by picking and choosing the things that work for them, we’re seeing that these influential and unique consumers are already attempting to tackle parenthood in their own way, and negotiate traditional parenting structures on their own terms. Here are just a few of the ways Millennials could reassess parenthood, and shift family culture:
 
1. Bringing Baby to the Biergarten
Many Millennials are children of helicopter parents who know what it’s like to be doted on from birth. Boomers tended to structure their own families so that their Millennial children were the focus, and gained a reputation for letting their lives and decisions revolve around the kids. And though they appreciate the attention they received, Millennials are aware of the negative aspects to this upbringing. Perhaps in an attempt to compensate for their own parents’ over-parenting, we’re seeing that Millennial parents are less likely to remake their entire lives to focus on their children, and more likely to attempt to incorporate their kids into the life they already have. Already Millennial parents are buying Baby Bose to cart their kids to concerts and meeting up with friends at the biergarten with their Moby-wrapped tot in tow. This shifted approach could lead to a slight reversal of the helicopter parent phenomena, and create a relationship between Millennials and their children that is markedly different from their relationship with their own parents.
 
2. Not Just Millennial Moms
According to a recent Pew study, a record-breaking 40% of moms in the U.S. are the sole or primary breadwinners for their families. For Millennials, many of whom face massive student debt that they’ll be paying off most of their lives, there might not be any choice but to have both parents work. Mom being the primary breadwinner in many cases will not be newsworthy, but the norm. This means that childcare will shift even more drastically away from being mom’s domain, and that parenting as partners will be vital to Millennials. Add to this equation their team-oriented approach to life, and we could see an unprecedented attempt to share parenting responsibilities more equally. Whereas in the past, moms have received the bulk of attention from brands, more than ever dads being included in that messaging will matter. It won’t just be about Millennial moms, but about Millennial parents.
 
3. Parenthacks
We recently touched on how Millennials are using tools to lifehack adulthood and create shortcuts through the traditional red tape that comes with growing up. Parenthood will be no different; expect to see their inherent comfort with using technology to help them through life applied to raising their kids. Co-parenting apps like Baby Connect are allowing them to track and share vital info on their newborns, and services like Honest Company are delivering supplies of eco-friendly diapers and home supplies to their doorsteps. Photostreams and networks like Instagram are giving them easy tools to keep family and friends seamlessly looped in to major baby moments. Sharing parenting information amongst peers on parenting forums and blogs is already a vital tool for modern parents, and Millennials will only accelerate and grow the trend, relying on tips and tricks from both friends and strangers to navigate the new waters of having a family and using their phones as parenting lifelines.
 
According to Pew, 52% of 18-29-year-olds say that being a good parent is one of the most important things in their lives. That’s more than those who said owning a home, having a high-paying career, and having lots of free time were important, combined. The generation who has been represented as being “self-centered” has already placed high value on getting parenting right, all while the majority of them are not yet parents. But what it means to be a good parent will not be the same for Millennials as it was for those who came before them and we expect that they will continue to change the definition of parenthood as they take over the market.