- Prince Harry, 34, will be a millennial dad. He’s reportedly looking to take two weeks of paternity leave after his child is born.
- Experts say millennials are raising kids differently than any other generation before them.
- For example, they get parenting advice online and aren’t committed to marrying before they have kids.
- We listed the defining features of millennials’ parenting style below.
Prince Harry is reportedly looking to take two weeks of paternity leave when his wife, Meghan Markle, gives birth to their child.
A friend of the Prince is reported to have said, “He doesn’t need to take paternity leave because he doesn’t work in the way most people do, but he thinks it’s a very modern dad thing to do.”
According to the Pew Research Center, 82% of babies born in 2016 are the children of millennial parents like Prince Harry.
And those parents are doing things differently from any other generation before them. Below, Business Insider has collected some of the defining traits of millennials’ parenting style, according to researchers and other experts.
Read on to find out how 20- and 30-something parents are shaking things up.
Millennials turn to the internet – not just family and friends – for parenting advice
An article in The New York Times suggests that millennial parents (“parennials,” if you will) are turning to Google, chat rooms, and apps for all kinds of parenting advice. As one expert told The Times, “Google is the new grandparent, the new neighbor, the new nanny.”
That expert also said, “The good news is that parents know more about child development than ever before.” The bad news is it can be overwhelming – and sometimes disempowering.
Millennials are documenting their kids’ lives on social media
That same New York Times article mentions that many millennial parents are giving their kids personal hashtags and YouTube channels.
And a poll conducted by TIME and Survey Monkey found that just 19% of millennial parents have never shared a photo of their kids on social media, compared to 30% of Gen X parents and 53% of Baby Boomer parents.
Still, some parents approach their kids’ social media presence with a different attitude: They’re terrified. One parent in the New York Times article only posts pictures of her child walking away. She’s both worried for her child’s safety and worried that her child will “become a meme.”
Millennials are relatively confident in their parenting skills
A Pew Research Center survey found that 57% of millennial moms say they are doing a very good job as a parent, compared to 48% of Gen X moms and 41% of Baby Boomer moms. (Interestingly, fathers in all age groups gave themselves lower marks.)
Millennial parents are more likely to struggle financially
A report by Young Invincibles explains why millennial parents are having a harder time financially than previous generations.
For one thing, childcare and education costs have increased to 18% of the total cost of raising a kid, from just 2% in 1960.
What’s more, as the Washington Post points out, the average 18- to 34-year-old today makes about $2,000 less than they would have in 1980. And many millennial parents are still paying off their own student loans, making it difficult to put money away for their kids’ college education.
- Wonder Woman/Flickr
Millennials are waiting longer to have kids
A mother’s age at the birth of her first child has been steadily increasing for decades. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, in 1980, it was 22.7. In 2013, it was 26.
As Business Insider previously reported, as more women get an education and enter the workforce, they generally marry and have kids later. That’s possibly because the US workplace doesn’t afford the kind of support that would enable women to have kids and develop their career at the same time.
Millennials are less likely to form ‘traditional’ families – though that trend may be reversing
In 2009, the oldest millennials were in their 20s. And as The Wall Street Journal reports, of those older millennials who did have kids, most were unmarried. Meanwhile, a Pew report finds that just 46% of kids in 2016 were living in a household with two married parents in their first marriage, compared to 61% in 1980.
Yet the Journal highlights a report from research firm Demographic Intelligence that predicts about 60% of the children of millennials will be born to married parents.
Millennials are getting creative with their kids’ names
So long, Plain Janes.
The New York Post reported on a study of 1,000 millennial parents, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of GoDaddy, that found as many as 20% of millennial parents said they changed or considered changing their baby’s name based on available domain names.
Meanwhile, Refinery29 reported that some millennial parents are naming their kids after IKEA furniture.
Another recent trend involves millennial women who, after taking their husband’s name, give their child their maiden name as a first name, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Millennial men are more likely to take on housework and child care than in the past – even though women still do most of it
Gender roles are changing, if ever so slightly: A 2015 survey by the Working Mother Research Institute, highlighted on CNBC, found that millennial dads are more likely to help out around the house than previous generations of fathers were.
Still, 79% of working mothers say they are responsible for doing the laundry, and mothers are twice as likely as fathers to take care of cooking. Plus, working mothers are largely responsible for child care.
Millennial parents think they dole out too much praise
A 2015 survey from the Pew Research Institute found that 40% of millennials say they praise their kids too much, compared to 31% of Gen X parents and 24% of Baby Boomer parents. This was true even when researchers controlled for kids’ ages.
Millennials don’t place as high a value on playtime
A survey from The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association, highlighted on Parents.com, found that millennial parents value outdoor playtime less than parents from previous generations. For example, 65% of millennial parents say playtime is important for children to develop emotional skills, compared to 75% of Gen X parents and 85% of Boomer parents.
Millennials spend more time hanging out with their kids
A 2016 study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family and cited on Quartz, found that mothers from 11 wealthy Western countries spend about an hour more taking care of their kids than mothers did back in 1965. Meanwhile, dads are spending almost an hour, up from about 16 minutes in 1965.
Millennials are more likely to talk to their kids about money
The children of modern parents are putting those piggy banks to use.
A 2018 study by Capital Group found that millennials and Gen X parents started talking to their kids about money sooner than Boomer parents did. In fact, 39% of millennial parents in the study said they would start telling children at age 12 or younger to start saving early.
Millennial men are resisting stereotypes about dads’ incompetence
The World Economic Forum reports that stereotypes of fumbling dads aren’t just insulting; they also don’t reflect reality. In response to millennial men’s frustration, many brands are trying to change the depictions of dads in media. For example, Disney has pledged to drop “bad dads” and other gender stereotypes, WEF reports.
- George Rudy/Shutterstock
Millennials are sometimes embracing gender-neutral parenting
Romper reports that, while some millennial parents are still attached to traditions like gender-reveal parties, other millennial parents are using terms like “theybies,” to describe babies who grow up to decide their gender for themselves. The idea is that gender is a social construct and that it’s important not to impose gendered stereotypes on kids from birth.
“I am intentional about following my child’s lead around identity and expression,” one parent told Romper.
Millennial parents want to know that the brands they buy reflect their values
According to a National Retail Federation report, as many as 44% of millennial parents say they only shop at brands that reflect their social or political values, compared to just 23% of parents from other generations.
Milllennial parents also appreciate speed and convenience, the report found: 86% have used same-day shipping, compared to 67% of parents from other generation.
Millennial-led families are traveling more often
In 2017, Forbes reported that 64% of millennial families had taken at least one international vacation in the past year – which was more than millennial couples or singles had traveled. California, Texas, and Florida are the top destinations for millennial families in the US, according to a report from the TMS Family Travel Summit.
- Flickr/ devinf
Millennials’ parents aren’t always so hands-on with their grandkids
A 2016 New York Times article described a group of younger Baby Boomers and older Gen X-ers who are caught between living their own lives and helping out with their grandkids. In fact, a 2013 survey by Grandparents.com found that 65% of respondents agreed with the statement: “I love being part of my grandchild’s life, but it’s not the center of my life.”
That said, grandparents aren’t necessarily holding back financially. USA Today reported on a TD Ameritrade survey that found millennial parents said they received an average of $11,000 in the past year in the past year in financial support and unpaid labor from their parents.
Millennial moms are more concerned with their kids’ nutrition
A survey by Influenster, cited in AdWeek, found that millennial moms say nutrition is more important than price or convenience when it comes to packing their kids’ lunch.
In fact, 60% of moms surveyed said they pack lunch boxes differently than the way their own mothers did, largely because the food is more nutritious.
Millennial moms are more likely to breastfeed
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that breastfeeding rates have increased over the last decade: from 35% in 2000 to 49% in 2010. That’s partly because, according to the CDC, more hospitals are implementing practices that keep moms and babies together right after birth.
Millennials are raising less religious children
Romper reports that millennials are more likely to say they’re unaffiliated with any religion than older generations are. And a survey by the Center for Open Science found that 18% of millennials’ kids said they never attend religious services with their families, compared to 14% of Gen X-ers’ kids.