The Millennial Mom: for better or worse, changing how children are raised
The generation of young adults referred to as millennials is commonly seen by society as eternal teenagers: an image millennials themselves don’t mind cultivating. Taking longer to start an independent life, living with parents until their late twenties, openly confessing to being stumped by the many rules and requirements adult life brings – like fictional children from Neverland, millennials never quite grow up. It is all too easy to forget that the oldest of these kids are already in their mid-thirties, having had enough time to get married and spawn children of their own. According to an analysis of US Census Bureau data, they’re now taking over as parents. Roughly one in five moms is a millennial, and they now account for almost 90 percent of the 1.5 million new mothers within the last year. There are nine million mellennial moms raising kids as we speak.
The real question is: how does the generation that “never learned how to adult” cope with the challenge of parenthood? There is, of course, no simple answer to this. Just like every other generation before them, millennials have their issues and their strengths. Unlike the previous generations, they have some distinguishing features that characterize their parenting style.
A typical millennial parent is in their late twenties to mid-thirties by the time their first child is born. The current average age of first marriage and childbirth is around 27 for women and 30+ for men – compared to 24/26 as recently as during the 90’s. The increasing difficulty to achieve financial independence and career goals before starting a family is something the generation of young adults knows only too well. If and when, however, they make the choice to devote themselves to family, millennial parents do not go halfway. Compared to their own parents, millennials are almost twice as likely to become stay-at-home parents (with a surprising percentage of fathers ready to take on this role). At the same time, millennials no longer consider being formally married a requirement for having a child.