Millennial parenting and its defining, modern features
Millennial parenting is the norm now. How many of these practices do you believe in?
A breastfeeding app to help? Yes, please! Two important influences on millennial parenting are apps and technology. For Anne Halsall, a millennial mum, her breastfeeding experience was tough, she tells the New York Times.
She brought her first son home from the hospital in 2012. Despite following the best advice on breastfeeding, her son kept losing weight. She got conflicting advice from experts.
Frustrated, she turned to Google.
“That’s when I realized I was a second-class citizen in the eyes of the internet,” she says. “I tried to download an app for breastfeeding, and they were all clearly made by men, and they were all horrible.”
So she did what any millennial would do. She solved the problem herself. Halsall, an engineer, created her own breastfeeding app, called Baby’s Day. “I was a frustrated mom who built an app for moms,” she adds.
Like her, many other millennial mums turn to technology when they need a problem that needs solving. Millennial mums grew up with technology at their fingertips, so why shouldn't that apply to parenting too? But it's not just technology that these new-age parents are drawing into their methodology of raising kids.
The defining features of millennial parenting
1. Millennial parenting: New #firstworldproblems
Many millennial parents are already so used to sharing their whole lives on social media that when they have kids, this continues. Never mind the cybersecurity concerns, millennial parents continue to share and share and share. Many of them will give their children an Instagram account from their first sonogram and most babies or kids have their own hashtags now.
Halsall's partner in the business, Sara Mauskopf, 32, even went so far as to name her daughter with her social media profile in mind.
“I wanted to name her Bryn, but when considering middle names, there were a couple of ‘A’ names we were thinking about. We chose Bryn Avery because I could get the Twitter handle @BrynAvery,” Mauskopf says.
Other millennials like Kassandra Ortiz, 26, are on the other side of the spectrum. The stay-at-home mother of two in Brooklyn is wary about posting about her kids online. “I have this fear that if I post a picture on Instagram, then my child will become a meme," she says.
2. Millennial parenting: "We're co-parents."
Ahh, equality. The Boston College Center for Work & Family, which leads the research on "The New Dad" studied millennial families and found that a third of millennial families follow traditional gender roles and are comfortable with their decision. Another third of them say spouses should share chores equally and feel they achieve this goal, while the final third strive for this equality but the female partner, in reality, does more.
Gone are the days where archaic patriarchal dogmas dictated the ideals of parenting... Good riddance, we say as millennial parents. Dads ARE more than just 'substitute mums'.
From running her company, 'Winnie' (which produced Baby's Day), Halsall concluded that “millennial dads are different than their elders, in that they see it as a positive masculine trait to be involved with their children".
3. Millennial parenting: It's okay to rely on our parents for financial help (and help with the kids).
This might have gotten you a few stares a couple of generations ago. But not now, not when millennial parents are strapped for cash. This is not to say that they are lazy or incompetent.
Most millennial parents start off their families already straddled with debt. For example, earlier mentioned, Ortiz started her own photography business on the side while her husband, who hopes to get into real estate, drives for Uber. As a last resort and to make ends meet, they get financial help with rent from her mother-in-law.
Many millennial parents cannot afford to hire full-time caregivers and helpers, and end up turning to their parents for help with the kids too.
4. Millennial parenting: Blurring lines
The parent roles (previously known as mum and dad, now known as co-parents) are not the only thing being challenged by millennial parents. They are challenging other (outdated) social norms too. Most who marry now do not mind if their spouse is from a different religious group. After all, Singapore law allows for it.
Millennials are also bridging the gap between the race divide. Nine in 10 millennials approve of interracial marriage or cross-cultural marriage, according to Pew Research Center.
Even more progressive millennial parents practise gender-neutral parenting, in which they shun the gender divide. Children are given gender-neutral names, gender-neutral toys and their rooms are painted in gender-neutral colours. Though some may suggest its futility, it is undeniably a growing trend among millennial parents.
Millennial parenting is progressive and different and certainly gives older parents food for thought. What do you think about this trend-breaking group of young parents? We'd love to hear your thoughts!