Millennials are rethinking parenting norms thanks to these 3 mega-influencers…
- Millennials are rethinking how they raise their little ones as new experts lead mega-trends in childrearing
- This generation’s version of Dr. Spock are building platforms and followings on social media
- Longstanding norms are being questioned by a generation of parents with more data at their fingertips
After family and friends, social media is Millennial parents’ top source of parenting advice according to YPulse data. We also found that between 2020 and 2021, the number of Millennial parents in the U.S. who seek advice online increased from 35% to 42% and those who turn to books/magazines for advice increased from 20% to 27%. The shift—which most likely had to do with being quarantined and away from others—created a boom for Millennial childcare experts on social media. These mega-influencers are earning millions of followers and helping Millennial parents rethink the way they approach parenting. This gen’s Dr. Spocks are armed with Instagram, substack, and getting Millennials to rethink some longstanding parenting norms. Here are 3 to know…
Last year, Time Magazine called Dr. Becky “The Millennial parenting whisperer”–and with good reason. Clinical psychologist Dr. Becky Kennedy has made a name for herself doling out Instagram guidance via videos and even scripts for everything from tantrums to Zoom schooling to a growing audience. Since starting her account @drbeckyatgoodinside in February 2020, she’s gained over 1.2 million followers—the majority of whom are women 25-44-years-old—and her podcast Good Inside With Dr. Becky went straight to number one on the Apple podcast Kids & Family chart after its April 2021 launch. Many turned to Dr. Becky to cope with the struggles of parenting in the pandemic, but Kennedy’s lessons are also aimed at helping Millennials “reparent,” or unlearn problematic parenting behaviors that might have contributed to their own anxieties and issues so they can “raise [their children] differently from the way [they] were raised.” The New York Times reports that Dr. Becky’s appeal lies in this fundamental reframing of parenting. Her perspective is that making kids happy shouldn’t be parents’ goal, and instead teaching them to manage distress and disappointment will help them in the future. Many also consider her the face of the “gentle parenting” approach, which is gaining significant momentum with this gen. She’s a proponent of parents using self-reflection to manage their own reactions to kids, which likely appeals to a generation that’s constantly seeking intensified wellness and self-improvement.
Millennial parents are turning to Emily Oster’s data-based answers to childrearing questions. Oster, a former economics professor, has turned pregnancy and parenting advice books on their heads with her “wildly popular” books: Expecting Better, Cribsheet, and now The Family Firm. Frustrated with the lack of information and logic behind the “rules” being dictated during her own pregnancy, Oster began writing “data-driven guides” for parents that analyze the studies, and often conflicting research, that have led to mom-shaming over everything from glasses of wine during pregnancy to “too much” screen time for kids. Expecting Better is a guide to Millennial moms during pregnancy using only research-backed advice and a sense of humor, and leaving no taboo unturned. The success of the book led to the follow-ups, which take the same approach to parenting young children. Her books question the status quo—and Millennial parents can’t seem to get enough of the logic-based, revealing, and ultimately judgment-free analysis. Beyond her books, Oster’s Instagram @proemilyoster doles out data-backed advice to over 147K followers, and her substack ParentData sends out her takes on “the latest data about pregnancy and parenting,” to help readers, as Oster puts it, be “empowered to make [their] own pregnancy and parenting choices.” This year, Oster was named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people, just one sign of her growing influence over Millennial parents, and their embrace of her data-driven parenting approach.
Solid Starts / Jennifer Best
Earlier this year, The New York Post delightedly reported: “Millennial parents dragged for letting their babies gnaw on chunks of meat.” The amazing headline was referring to a growing practice among this generation. Millennials are embracing the idea of baby-led weaning, or #BLW, which teaches that instead of parents spoon-feeding purees and mush to little ones, babies can start eating small finger foods themselves around six months. (Goodbye, mushy peas.) Of course, the popularity of this approach (which can be confusing for older gens) has flourished online thanks to Instagram accounts like @SolidStarts. As Romper reports, the account was started by momfluencer Jennifer Best, who made it her mission to popularize the approach after her own difficulties getting her kids to transition to food. The @SolidStarts account, which has over 1.7 million followers (including Emily Oster!) posts content to help parents understand what foods they can start feeding their babies, how to skip the purees, and inspirational videos of tiny tots nomming on real meals. (Yes, how to feed steak to babies is a post.) But Best has also turned #BLW into a business, with the Solid Start website and app providing guides and courses, a digital cookbook, and access to an exhaustive database of food information. Thanks to proponents of this “baby feeding revolution,” the #BLM movement is continuing to grow as Millennial parents question the norms of baby rearing and figure out what works for them. As Best explains, ““I see in this generation of moms a demand for evidence and a total, beautiful disregard for how things used to be.”