20 Differences Between Millennial Parenting And Parenting In The Past

There is nothing that makes a person reminisce about their own childhood more than becoming a parent themselves. When a person has a child, they start to think back to when they were a kid and all the lessons that their parents taught them. They evaluate what they believe their parents did right and what they should have done better.

Attitudes towards parenting and raising kids tend to change throughout the generations because cultural climates change throughout periods of time.

There is much hype about Millennials and Baby Boomers not seeing eye to eye in many different issues, child-rearing being one of the key ones.

According to The Sun, Baby Boomers are anyone born between 1945-1964. This generation benefited greatly from a time of increasing affluence and higher levels of income than their parents, and a surge in consumerism, enjoying more money to spend on food, clothes, and holidays. Millennials are anyone born between the early '80s-mid 2000s. This generation has been severely impacted by the Great Recession, high unemployment, and a period of economic instability.

Given this stark difference in circumstances, there is no wonder that these two generations don't see eye to eye when it comes to parenting. Here are the 20 differences between Baby Boomer parenting and Millennial parenting.

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20 Many Millennials Are Unmarried Parents


Though millennials are continuing to have children, they are still putting off getting married. Between the 1970s and the early 2000s, the percentage of women who got married by the time their first child was born fell by half, according to research by Jonathan Vespa, Ph.D., a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau. The percentage of unmarried pregnant women who lived with their baby's father by the time of the birth jumped from 8 percent to 28 percent.

According to the Pew Research Center, one-in-four parents living with a child in the United States today are unmarried. Half a century ago, fewer than one-in-ten parents living with their children were unmarried (7%).

19 Millennials Turn To The Internet, Not Just Family And Friends, For Parenting Advice


In this day and age, we literally have the world at our fingertips. We can search anything and get instant knowledge. This is why milennial parents find it easier to just search the Internet for parenting advice rather than asking their actual parents.

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 (Business Insider).

One expert in this study also pointed out, "The good news is that parents know more about child development than ever before." However the bad news being that too many different opinions are overwhelming and sometimes disempowering.

18 Baby Boomers Married Relatively Young (Before The Age Of 25)

baby boomer
Martha Andrews

Although Baby Boomer parents got married younger than the Millennial generation, only two-thirds of those who got married younger than 25 are still married today, according to Dr. Alexis Bramson. Millennial and Generation-X children grew up with many divorced parents, so it really is no wonder why we keep seeing a delay and decline in marriage.

Most baby boomers were married with children when they were in their twenties—and some had already been divorced by the time they reached the age at which most young adults even start to consider marriage today, according to Newsweek.

The study, which compared U.S. Census data from 1980 to 2015, found nearly 70 percent of baby boomers—generally people who were born between 1946 and 1964—were married in 1980 while only 41 percent of 24-to-34-years-old were married in 2015 (Newsweek).

17 Millennials Are Waiting Longer To Get Married And Have Kids


The average age of marriage and birth of the firstborn child keep going up for millennials. For decades, the 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.

Business Insider reported that as more women get an education and enter the workforce, they generally marry and have kids later. That is most likely due to the fact that the US workforce doesn't afford the kind of support that would enable women to have children and develop their career at the same time.

16 Millennial Parents Allow Their Children More Screen Time Than Baby Boomer Parents Did

millennial parenting
Mark Randall

We have all probably had our parents limiting our TV-watching time when we were growing up. Now that we have smartphones, they are not just in the hands of millennial parents anymore. They are now in the hands of their kids and sometimes even in the hands of their babies.

According to a Common Sense Media study, 38 percent of children under the age of 2 have used a mobile device. Though Generation X mothers were very concerned about screen time, and research has shown that it can cause some behavior issues, millennial moms grew up with technology, and they don't worry about it so much.

There are dangers and advantages for kids having such easy access to smartphone devices. On one hand, they are educational and they can talk to their grandparents via FaceTime. On the other hand, they can be highly addictive.

15 Baby Boomers Were The First Generation To Take A Child-Centered Approach Rather Than A Parent-Centered Approach

baby boomer

The generation who raised our Baby Boomer parents took a parent-centered approach when it came to raising their kids. In the WWII generation, their attitude was "you do what I tell you to do simply because I am your parent." Or they sometimes used the "do as I say, not as I do" approach.

The child-centered movement was an alternative to the adult-centered form of parenting, according to Psychology Today. In adult-centered parenting, parents set the rules and children are expected to follow them. In contrast, child-centered parenting is parenting organized around the needs and interests of the child, rather than those of the parent.

Is it any surprise that millennials became known as the "participation trophy" generation as a result?

14 They Were Also Dubbed "The Helicopter Parent Generation"

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Muppet Central

In addition to taking a child-centered approach when it came to raising their kids, Baby Boomers have also been known as the "Helicopter Parent Generation."

Helicopter parents are notoriously known as the group of ever-protective, over-anxious, and hyper-controlling parents. The parenting style, characterized by a helicopter-like tendency to hover over children and swoop in to rescue them at the first sign of trouble, exploded into mainstream consciousness in the early 2000s, just as the oldest millennials were entering young adulthood, according to HuffPost.

While many parents expect their kids to be more independent by the time they reach college age, helicopter parents never stop supporting them. This has arguably caused a co-dependency issues where millennials just don't seem to leave the nest.

13 Millennial Parents Are Far Less Likely To Be Homeowners Than Baby Boomers


According to a recent Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies report, Baby Boomers account for 80% of homeowners. The Millennial Generation and Generation-X are much slower to buy homes than any previous generation. This isn’t from a lack of desire but of affordability, says Abbe Will, a co-author of the report.

This same study also pointed out that the fact that about a quarter of Millennials prefer urban housing, such as condos or townhouses, over the detached suburban homes that were the Boomers’ preferred habitat, according to City Lab. The home building industry is now producing less than half the number of new houses it did in the mid-2000s due to the stagnant trend of millennials putting off buying a house.

12 Millennial Parents Are More Likely To Struggle Financially

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This is an unfortunate reality of becoming a new parent in the post-Recession era. A report by Young Invincibles explains why millennial parents are having a harder time financially than previous generations.

First of all, childcare and education costs have drastically increased by 18% of the total cost of raising a kid, compared to 2% back in 1960.

To make matters worse, the Washington Post points out that the average 18- to 34-year-old today makes about $2,000 less than they would have in 1980. Not to mention that many millennial parents are still paying off their own student loans which is making it difficult to put money away for their own children's education.

11 They Are Also More Likely To Raise Children In Poverty

The Champagne Supernova

This is one of the most depressing facts about becoming a new parent in this generation. Since millennial parents work hard and are not in the best financial shape, more of them are living in poverty than the Baby Boomer generation. In fact, one in five millennial parents is living in poverty, which is about 20 percent.

Though there are more college educated young adults than previous generations, the state of the economy means that many of those in the workforce are surviving on low-wage incomes. Many of them are still paying off their debt from student loans instead of saving money for their own children. This will make it difficult for the next generation to be successful.

10 Baby Boomers Still Continue To Support Their Adult Children, Even After They Leave Home

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A 2013 Pew Research Survey found that 73 percent of adults in their 40s and 50s had given adult children financial help in the past year, and not all of it was for college tuition. These types of parents are often from the highly educated middle class or wealthier, with social and financial resources to share with adult children, according to Huffington Post.

On average, millennial parents ages 19 to 37 said they received $11,011 in financial support and unpaid labor from their boomer parents, ages 50 to 70, according to gobankingrates.com. That is because without that kind of help, many millennials would not be able to make it on their own.

9 Millennials Are Having Fewer Children Than Their Baby Boomer Parents

Daily Mail

Toys R Us has recently went out of business claiming that millennials are simply not having enough kids to maintain the demand of their products. When toy emporium chain Toys R Us closed, they pointed to the declining birth rate in the US as a major reason their business wasn’t booming, according to Money Under 30.

Millennials are having babies at the slowest rate of any other generation in American history. Birth rates among women in their twenties dropped by 15 percent between 2007 and 2012, according to the Urban Institute. Four years later 2016 brought a record low for fertility—the CDC estimates only 62 births per 1,000 women (Money Under 30).

There are a few reasons for this. One, we lived through the Great Recession and having children is simply too expensive. Second, the hookup culture is a thing and people are looking at dating and monogamy differently. Third, the rate of marriage is also decreasing.

8 Millennials Are Documenting Their Kid's Childhoods On Social Media


Millennials simply cannot get enough selfies of themselves. Now add a new baby to the mix and they become especially indulgent when it comes documenting their kid's growth and development on social media. The New York Times mentions that many millennial parents are giving their kids personal hashtags and even their own YouTube channels.

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.

There have also been many concerns raised about the overexposure on social media when kids are young.

7 Baby Boomers Came From More "Traditional Families"

The Economist

Back when our Baby Boomer parents were growing up in the '60s and the '70s were more likely to have a two-parent household with the parents having their own biological children.

The television show, Modern Family was pretty much created to dispel that point. With divorce being the norm and different family dynamics coming into fruition, the nuclear family is becoming less and less common.

In 2009, the oldest millennials were in their '20s. 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.

6 Stay-At-Home Dads Are Becoming More Common Among Millennial Families

millennial parents
Essential Kids

Women have become a much larger part of the workforce since previous generations. In fact, 33% of Millennial women are accounting for the majority of their family income. Women have also surpassed men in this generation for receiving the majority of bachelor degrees, graduate degrees and doctorates.

The number of fathers who do not work outside the home has risen markedly in recent years, up to 2 million in 2012, according to Pew Research Center. That number of stay-at-home fathers has nearly doubled since 1.1 million in 1989. It is becoming more and more common for the mother of the family to be out-earning her husband.

5 Baby Boomer Parents Have Retired Or Will Retire At An Earlier Age Than Their Millennial Children

Viva La

For the past several years, the average age of retirement for Americans in the workforce just keeps increasing, according to Time. Those that were in their prime working years in the Baby Boomer generation could count on retirement benefits, including pensions, retiree health insurance, and more generous Social Security.

About 83% of Millennials and 80% of Gen Xers are more likely to think they face more obstacles in achieving financial stability in retirement, while about 75% of Boomers feel that way, according to a study conducted by the Transamerica Retirement Survey. What is even more unsettling is that about 47% of Millennials worry they won't be able to meet the basic financial needs of their families after retiring.

4 Millennial Parents Are More Likely To Give Their Kids Unique Names


We have all heard of celebrities such as the Kardashians giving their kids strange and unique names. Now it looks like that trend has bled over into the mainstream.

According to a Time survey, millennial moms put a big importance into names, and they believe it is important for a child's name to be unique. In fact, 60 percent of the millennial moms surveyed said it is important. That compares to 44 percent of Gen Xers and 35 percent of Baby Boomers.

The desire to have unique names have given us unorthodox names like Zenith or Dahlia. Let's just hope that these names get taken seriously as the kid grows up.

3 Baby Boomers Are More Confident And Self-Reliant

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When the Baby Boomers were young and in their prime, they grew up during a rebellious time where they were defying the social norms of their more traditional parents. With their anti-government sentiments, they could hardly have foreseen how important Social Security and Medicare would become for their future health and financial well-being, according to the American Society on Aging.

Even now that they are older, the now aging Baby Boomers are still showing signs of their independent spirits that their generation was known for. According to the same study, many older Baby Boomers are reluctant to move into different housing care arrangements when they can no longer take care of themselves, so this may or may not be a good thing.

2 Millennials Want To Be "Fun" Parents

millennial parenting

According to a Baby Center study, 88 percent of millennial moms would describe their parenting style as "fun." This is probably because many millennial moms might be resentful of the memories of their mother telling them that they are their parent and not their best friend.

When asked about what type of mom that would be described as the "best parent", not too many Baby Boomers would think to call themselves "fun" or the "cool mom". Millennials believe that they can be their kid's best companion and their parent all at the same time, which is a much different attitude than the generation before them.

1 There Is No More One-Size-Fits All When It Comes To Parenting Styles

milennial parenting
Elite Readers

Since families come in all different shapes and sizes now, there is no specific set of rules to live by when it comes to being a parent. In fact, most millennials are more content with their own parenting styles than the generation before them. 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.

Millennial parents are more open-minded and recognize that there is no one "right" way to raise their kids. With all the availability of information on the Internet and different cultural perspectives, there is a variety of options to pick from.

Sources: Baby Gaga, salon.com, Alexis Abramson, Senior Advisor, Business Insider, Gaga Sisterhood, Very Well Family, Chicago Now, Kinder Care, Motherly, AARP, Offbeat, The Sun, parents.com, Pew Research Center, Newsweek, Psychology Today, Huffington Post, City Lab, Go Banking Rates, Money Under 30, Time, The Street, American Society on Aging

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