In this year’s WE Millennial Parenting Report, YPulse surveyed young people in Western Europe and asked them everything about parenting. The data from the report shows that Millennials in this region are more likely to be parents than their North American counterparts, and also more likely to have smaller families.
In the survey, we also asked specifically what type of parenting trends or activities they’ve done for their children. Parents were given a list with various activities such as “gave my child a unique name,” “joined a social media group devoted to parenting,” and “bought subscription boxes of kids’ clothing or toys,” and were asked which they had participated in. Unsurprisingly, there were many similarities in the answers between the two regions. After all, YPulse has been telling you for a while now that Millennials and Gen Z are the Borderless Generations, who are immersed in the same global culture. In the recent WE Local / Global Citizenship Report, YPulse found that young Europeans have very comparable shopping habits to their North American counterparts. However, some answers to this multiple-choice question were different, revealing that parenting is not exactly the same in both regions. Here are some key parenting differences in Western Europe and North America that brands should know. We’ll start with some of the things Millennial parents in Western Europe are doing more than those in North America:
Millennial Parents in Western Europe are more likely to sing lullabies and read to their kids than their North American counterparts
A majority of Millennial parents in Western Europe say they do parenting the old-fashion way: by singing lullabies and reading to their kids every day. Parents in this region face a distressing increase in cost-of-living, and political tensions, and as a result, are increasingly worried about the future of their kids. With all these worries in mind, nursery rhymes give them, and their little ones, a sense of much-needed comfort—although many do not know the lyrics of the lullabies! North American parents are less likely than their European counterparts to sing and read to their kids. Part of the explanation might be that they prefer to turn to non-traditional songs that are not technically considered nursery rhymes—how about singing Rihanna’s Lift Me Up or Snoop Dogs’ DoggyLand songs? Or maybe they just prefer to turn to CocoMelon instead (we’ll come back to screens later).
Western Europe parents buy more gender-neutral clothing than North American
Gen Z and Millennials are more willing than previous generations to break gender stereotypes, a theme that YPulse explored in the Gender Blur Trend Report. The data from YPulse’s Millennial Parenting Report confirms this trend, and shows that three-quarters of Millennial parents in both regions agree with the statement “I want to raise my children without being influenced by traditional gender norms.” That being said, a lot more Millennial parents in Western Europe say they have bought gender-neutral clothes for their kids (39% vs 28% in NA). And this figure is also increasing compared to last year, when 29% of Millennial parents in Western Europe said they had bought gender-neutral clothing for their kids. This interesting parenting difference between NA and WE seems to confirm that gender-neutral clothing is gaining traction in Western Europe, and more rapidly than in North America. Is it because Millennial parents in Western Europe are more influenced by the “Aesthetic moms” Instagram trend, or that retailers in this region offer more options for gender-neutral clothing for kids? It could be a combination of the two.
Meanwhile, North American Millennial parents are more likely than European parents to give their kids their own tech device
Of course, there were also some things in our survey that parents in North America were more likely to do, including giving their little ones their own devices:
Two in five parents in North America said they have given a tech device to their children, compared to a third in Western Europe. One explanation is that Western European parents do give tech devices to their children at a slightly older age than in NA. In YPulse’s Tech / Device Usage Report we asked parents at what age they plan to give their children a smartphone. The average age in Western Europe was 12.6, while it was 12.3 in North America. Another factor to consider is the culture of the European Union to promote online privacy and lobby social media companies to be more protective of children’s rights. Many big tech companies have been fined recently over privacy issues by this European institution. This might also explain why Western European parents are less likely than North American parents to have started a social media account for their children.
Millennial parents in North America are almost twice as likely than their European counterparts to have a gender reveal party
The last interesting parenting difference between North America and Western Europe has to do with gender, again. It turns out the tradition of having a gender reveal party—and all the social media hype that goes with it—has not made it across the pond quite yet. Only 13% of Millennial parents in Western Europe say they’ve had a party to reveal the gender of their baby, compared with 23% in North America. But there is a slight growing interest among young Europeans though—up +2pts from last year—so it’s possible that gender reveal parties will gain in popularity in Western Europe in the near future. After all, who knew that prom would become a thing in Western Europe?