Millennials hear it all the time: This generation doesn't want to have kids because they want to travel, and spend money on other things (like themselves), and they might not even want to get married. As a millennial myself, I don't really understand where these beliefs come from. I know people who still want to get married and start a family and think that's a beautiful thing.
One thing I do know for sure: When millennials become parents, they do things a lot differently than previous generations. This seems to be because they grew up in such a unique time. They saw such massive changes in technology: As kids, they had dial-up Internet and clunky computers, and by the time their college years rolled around, they were using slim smartphones and social media. They had tapes, VHS, and DVDs, and now they stream content along with everyone else.
The world is simply different now. Everyone is plugged in all the time, and people have so much information coming at them everywhere that they look, and that's going to affect what kinds of moms they are. How could it not?! What's one thing that they do their own way? That would be disciplining their children.
Here are 20 things that millennial moms do differently when it comes to discipline.
20 Younger Moms Are Not Big On Grounding Kids
As Romper says, millennial moms aren't big fans of grounding their children. The website explains, "Across the board, millennial parents seem to be trying to work towards a gentler form of discipline. They tend to believe in encouraging democracy in their homes, and plan to rely less on archaic forms of discipline like grounding."
If our own parents grounded us when we were growing up, we probably hated it. We didn't see the point and we resented that this was happening to us. It's safe to say that millennial moms think that grounding is so old-school and that there's no reason to do it.
19 They Get Lots Of Advice And Then Figure Out The Best Method
In the past, moms would turn to their own moms and other female family members for advice on how to raise their kids. There wasn't a huge wealth of knowledge that there is today.
When millennial moms are figuring out how to discipline their kids, they get lots of advice and figure out the best method to follow. They don't just do what their own parents did.
Very Well Family says, "Millennials have an enormous amount of resources to draw on for parenting tips, thanks to the internet, social media and the instant contact of texting... There is no end to the amount of advice available, but savvy Millennials are able to weed out what works for their children and what doesn't, and in turn, can offer advice to new parents when the time comes."
18 Millennial Moms Tell Kids That They've Done A Good Job
Another thing that millennial moms are doing differently when it comes to discipline is telling kids that they're doing a great job. Moms of this generation are much more likely to do that than to follow any discipline methods that their moms used on them.
As Dr. Kathleen Gerson, an author and sociology prof. at New York University, told Kindercare, "We’re in the middle of a debate about whether we’ve gone too far in the other direction. Are we rewarding children too often when they haven’t achieved great things?”
It seems like many millennial moms would say that they would rather be positive toward their kids than focus on what they did wrong. If we think about it, that's the idea behind constructive criticism. We always respond better to someone who compliments us before giving us some feedback.
17 They Want The Family Vibe To Be Chill
Romper says that millennials want their family vibe to be pretty chill: "According to ABC News, millennial moms are more likely to take a laid back approach towards parenting and discipline less." Romper quoted Mike Fogarty, SVP and global publisher at BabyCenter, who said to ABC News, "They're creating an environment for their kids that's more laid back and less structured, and they feel more relaxed and happy as parents. They reject the pressure they grew up with."
It's funny because I also envision a quiet and chill family life, and even though my own parents weren't millennials, they brought me up to enjoy good conversation, family meals, and lots of time spent reading. I think that millennial moms have got the right idea when it comes to focusing on a casual atmosphere with less discipline.
16 They Will Cut Down On Screen Time If Their Kids Are Complaining Or Misbehaving
While millennial moms have a reputation for giving babies and toddlers iPads and never having any rules around technology, that's not actually the case. Many millennial moms will cut back on screen time when it's necessary, and this is a discipline method that they believe in.
Global News interviewed a millennial mother named Kristen Corvers-Vettraino who said that she cuts back on her son's screen time because, as the publication says, "he’ll become obsessive and whiny, and will constantly ask to play with her phone." She was also quoted as saying, “We have limits on phone and iPad game time. He gets to play when we desperately need him to chill, like when I’m getting a dental cleaning or we’re trying to get through the tail end of a meal at a restaurant.”
15 They Have A Laid-Back Attitude About Picky Eating
Millennial moms have a different attitude about picky eating than their own parents did (and previous generations, too). While older generations would force kids to eat everything on their plate or discipline them for their behavior at the dinner table by sending them to their room without dessert, millennials wouldn't do that.
For example, a dad and husband posted on Reddit that when his son comes home from school, he doesn't eat much, but his wife is okay with that and has a laid-back attitude toward it. He wrote, "It's in her nature to always ask him, what he wants, how he wants it, where he wants it, etc... about anything. I say it's crazy to give a kid so many options. She says it will teach him to be independent."
14 They Use Technology To Help Kids Behave
Millennial moms sometimes use technology to help their children behave. This is totally relatable, right? Who hasn't done this?
As a mom wrote for Parent Map, "There’s just too much else to do. And that’s why, sometimes, I can’t help but throw a tablet his way as I try to answer an email, bake some dinosaur chicken nuggets and possibly wash under my arms with a washcloth because I seriously smell."
Millennial moms know that using technology such as iPads and iPhones can be a way to discipline kids. While you can take them away when your kids are misbehaving, you can also give them a bit more screen time in order to keep the peace. Maybe it's not the best thing to do all the time, but it works when you have no other option.
13 When They Discipline, They Have A Soft And Gentle Approach
According to Blavity, millennial moms have a soft and gentle approach to discipline. This is because many of us remember being disciplined as kids and we found those methods too harsh.
People often say that the new generation of moms always believes that they know the best way to raise kids and that they want to ignore the things that they were taught growing up. This could be said of millennials, too. Just because our mom thought that it was helpful to send us to our room to "think about what we did" doesn't mean that we agree with her. Honestly, we probably just sat in our room and felt bored and waited to come back into the living room again.
12 Millennials Aren't Disciplining Kids As Much As Other Generations Did
According to Romper, there have been studies that have said that millennials aren't disciplining children as much as other generations did.
This makes sense: back in the day, it was common for kids who got into trouble to be sent to bed without dinner or to give up privileges like playing outside with the neighborhood children. Today, millennial moms would rather sit their kids down and chat about why they're feeling this way. I know that's my own instinct.
My own parents weren't big on discipline when I was a kid and we would often talk about the right and wrong ways to behave, and that did work really well.
11 Dads Are More Invested In Their Kids' Lives, So That Affects Discipline, Too
Today, it's pretty much unheard of for a dad to go to work and come home and say that he's too exhausted to help out with the kids. That just wouldn't fly, and no millennial mom would be okay with that. Instead, millennial dads and moms are equal partners, and that affects discipline since we have conversations and decide what to do as a couple. It's no longer true that a dad or mom would make that choice themselves.
Gerber Life says, "Nowadays, new fathers play a bigger role at home than did previous generations of dads. They strive to be 'perfect' and are interested in learning everything they can about parenting. As super dads, they are more involved with tasks like baby-proofing, changing diapers, making important purchasing decisions and more."
10 They Don't Rely On Time-Outs Or Old-Fashioned Discipline Ideas Just Because Their Own Moms Did
One thing that millennial moms are definitely doing differently with discipline is not blindly following the methods of their own mothers.
Our moms might say, "I sent you to your room or didn't let you have dessert for a week and you turned out okay." Sure, we did, so she's not wrong there. But we want to discipline in our own way and that's something that is very important to us. Even though our moms put us in time-outs or used other old-fashioned forms of discipline, we want to steer clear. We have no problem telling our moms that we're not comfortable doing these same things.
9 They Compliment Their Kids A Lot (And Can Admit It)
According to the PEW Research Center, millennial parents say that they give their kids too many compliments: "Yet, there is one area in which Millennials stand out, even when looking only at parents with children younger than 6: Millennials are more likely than Gen X or Boomer parents to describe themselves as parents who can sometimes praise too much. Four-in-ten Millennials say this, while 35% say they can sometimes criticize too much."
The important thing to note here is that millennial parents will totally admit that they give their kids too many compliments. It seems like we're much more willing to make positive comments than to discipline.
8 They Think More Carefully About Parenting Methods
According to Motherly, millennial moms think differently because they think carefully about ways to parent. As the website says, "Backing off in a big way, millennials are approaching family life in a more democratic fashion by questioning themselves and asking children for input in decision-making. Plus, these parents are emphasizing a renewed focus on empathy to help children garner a greater understanding and engagement with their world."
If we asked our own moms for advice and they said to discipline our kids more often, we wouldn't say yes immediately and do that. We would think about whether it would work for us and maybe do some research, too.
7 They're Cool With Getting Help (Which Could Mean Others Are Disciplining Their Kids)
The LA Times says that because many millennial moms have jobs, that could mean that they are getting lots of help with their children. The publication says, "There are other facets of millennial parenting that are starting to receive scrutiny. This generation, in keeping with the more relaxed theme coupled with the fact that more mothers are working outside the home, is reputedly comfortable with outsourcing much of the childcare needs. It's not exactly a village, but more of a team-based approach, without the guilt that tortured older parents when they realized they couldn't do it all."
If we have other people look after our kids, then it makes sense that sometimes these nannies, caregivers, or daycare employees might have to discipline our kids. We might not love this, but it is something that might happen.
6 Millennial Moms Take A "Each Child Needs Different Discipline" Approach
According to Fennell At Law, millennial moms take a specific approach to discipline: believing that each child is different and, therefore, needs something different.
After all, maybe we remember growing up and thinking that it was strange that we were disciplined the same way as our sister. Maybe she didn't mind being sent to her room because she would read a book and it was where she wanted to be anyway, but we were more social and hated being away from the rest of the family. We can totally see that our kids are all different people and that we have to tailor our discipline to each of them. As Fenell At Law explains it, it's "focusing more on tailored discipline, discipline that is specific to each individual child."
5 Millennial Moms Care About How Their Kids Feel
As a millennial mom wrote for Romper, "I am really proud of the steps my generation is taking to parent in a way that's more emotionally nurturing for our children."
When it comes to how they discipline their children, millennial moms care about how their kids feel. We're more likely to ask our kids how they're doing and why it wasn't the best idea to say what they did or take the toy away from their brother (the more things change, the more they stay the same, right?). Our own parents might think that this is too soft of an approach, but it works perfectly for us.
4 They Don't Want To Be The One In Charge
Forbes.com says that millennial moms don't really want to be the ones in charge but that this might have some problems. The publication says, "Implications: As millennial moms expand their families, it becomes more difficult to collaborate with their children and incorporate each child's perspective into household decisions. Rather, they must become the authority and make firm decisions for their family— traits rejected [by] most millennials."
We can probably agree that it makes us feel strange to think that we're in charge of our kids. Sure, we know that technically we are and that we're the grown-ups here. But we want to have fun with our kids, and we don't want things to be so stiff, formal, old-fashioned, and serious.
3 They Don't Want To Take Their Stress Out On The Kids
For some millennial moms, stress is a normal part of life, but not something that they want to take out on their kids. They know that when you're about to discipline your kids (yelling at them for fighting with their sibling, for example), it could be because you're having a tough or stressful day.
Ohelfamily.org says, "Millennial parents are more psychologically aware than ever before, and it is not uncommon for parents to attend lectures, parenting classes, family therapy, or individual therapy, to learn parenting skills and how to better cope with everyday stresses. As in every generation, some millennial parents want to parent their children exactly as their parents did, while others intend on doing the exact opposite. Either way, there is a new awareness and understanding of the fragility of a child and his needs for validation, understanding, and having his basic needs met."
2 They Would Never Put Kids To Bed Early As Discipline
Redbook magazine talks about the old-fashioned things that moms used to do, including putting kids to bed early because that was a way of disciplining them.
Would millennial moms ever do this today? Definitely not. It seems like a really bad idea and it doesn't seem like it would accomplish anything. We're much more interested in talking to kids about their behavior and figuring out how they can do better next time. We don't see bedtime as something that needs to be part of discipline or any serious conversations about behavior. Even if this is something that our own parents did, we don't agree with it.
1 Millennial Moms Care More About Self-Care And "Me Time"
According to Abcnews.go.com, millennial moms are really into "me time."
It seems that the emphasis that millennial moms place on having some time to themselves and practicing self-care allows moms to be kinder and more present toward their children. That could be mean less discipline or a less strict family environment. Even if our own moms think that we should discipline more often, we can agree to disagree on this topic. This is what works for us and this is how we're raising our kids. Every mom has to follow their hearts and this is what feels right for millennial moms.
Sources: Romper.com, Verywellfamily.com, Kindercare.com, Globalnews.ca, Parentmap.com, Gerberlife.com, Pewsocialtrends.org, Motherly.com, Latimes.com, Fennellatlaw.com, Forbes.com, Ohelfamily.org, Redbookmag.com, Abcnews.go.com