Millennial Parenting Statistics: Navigating Modern Parenthood in Today’s World
Millennials are rewriting the parenting playbook, ushering in a new era of open communication and emotional intelligence with their kids. To learn more about millennials’ parenting styles, we surveyed 1,000 millennial parents across the U.S. As of 2024, millennials range in age from 28-43. We found many millennials are taking a different parenting path than their parents did, seeking advice from the internet, juggling work and family obligations, and navigating conversations around mental health.
- 73% millennial parents believe their parenting style is better than past generations
- 3 in 4 millennial parents practice gentle parenting
- Nearly half (46%) of millennial parents feel burned out
- Navigating a digital world: 85% believe social media creates unrealistic parenting expectations and 1 in 4 don’t double check parenting advice from social media
- 80% believe discussions with children around mental health are very important
- Work-life balance: 82% of millennial parents work and 4 in 5 prioritize children over careers
Navigating Generational Parenting Styles
Millennial parents are doing things differently. Nearly 9 in 10 (88%) say their parenting style is different from how they were raised, and 3 in 4 (73%) believe they are better parents than their parents. With that in mind, 1 in 3 say their family members question their parenting methods.
"Gentle parenting should not be confused with permissiveness and accommodation of behavior,” says Miller Shivers, PhD, pediatric psychologist in The Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Lurie Children’s. “Children need limits and a certain amount of structure to best function. I worry that the emphasis on gentle parenting leads parents to believe that they have to be ok with all kinds of negative behavior from their children and that they cannot set limits and have consequences.”
Nearly 3 in 4 (74%) millennial parents practice gentle parenting which is characterized by helping guide children through the decision-making process and not threatening or punishing them. Gentle parenting focuses on a partnership between parents and children with an emphasis on communication, empathy, respect, and boundaries.
Top 3 ways millennial parenting styles are different from past generations:
- More open communication
- Greater emphasis on emotional intelligence
- More flexible parenting styles
The Impact of Technology and Social Media on Millennial Parenting
Parenting in the 21st Century brings additional challenges previous generations did not face, especially when it comes to technology and social media. Nearly half (46%) of millennial parents feel burned out with 85% believing social media creates unrealistic parenting expectations.
Further demonstrating the challenges technology can pose, 30% of millennial moms say they compare their parenting success to others on social media.
The top places millennials report getting parenting advice include:
- Talking to other parents
- Social Media
Among parents, 24% have received parenting advice from a social media influencer, but 1 in 4 admit to not double-checking the advice they get from social media.
“Parenting suggestions on social media don’t take into account the individual child and what is contributing to the issue, and anyone can give advice on social media without any real expertise,” explains Dr. Shivers. “Therefore, it can foster unrealistic expectations for parents that managing behavior and difficult issues is easily solved with a small snippet of advice.”
Navigating Mental Health Conversations and Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children
Millennial parents are trying to put more emphasis on mental health and talking about it with their children. Among them, 47% have a child that experiences anxiety and 12% currently have a child in therapy. Among parents with children in therapy, 1 in 5 hesitate to tell others for fear of judgment.
Despite this, 80% think discussions about mental health and emotional well-being are very important in shaping a child’s overall development. There’s a stark contrast between the generations and discussing mental health: 2 in 3 millennial parents say their parents never talked with them about mental health while 98% of millennial parents talk with their children about it.
“Discussing emotions is a healthy part of development for children but it can be intimidating and uncomfortable for parents who are unaccustomed to discussing such things,” says Dr. Shivers. “There is a fine line between having an open discussion and parents trying to fix things for their child. Often children just want a place to say what is on their mind, so parents should be cautious about jumping in with solutions. Supporting children as they struggle is part of healthy development (albeit it, hard for parents) and swooping in to solve their problems does not prepare them for the future or enable them to learn their own problem-solving abilities.”
While 80% of millennial parents believe they set a good example for their children in dealing with stress and supporting mental health, they admit it isn’t easy. The top challenges millennial parents experience in talking with their kids about mental health include difficulty finding the right words, struggling to determine if a child understands, and fear of making things worse.
More than 4 in 5 (82%) millennial parents work. Among them, 58% say it’s hard to balance their work and home life. Millennial moms feel this slightly more with 63% facing challenges between work and home life, while 55% of dads struggle with the balance. The majority (4 in 5) prioritize their children over their careers, especially moms (81% vs. 78% dads).
The biggest challenges millennial parents face include dealing with stress, finances, raising children in a digital age, parental guilt, and balancing work and family life. Despite the challenges, 77% of millennials believe they're more present with their children than their parents were.
Navigating parenthood in 2024 isn’t an easy feat. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, and parents don’t have to go through this process alone. There’s no perfect playbook for parenting, but each generation is figuring out the way that works best for them and their families.
In December 2023, we conducted a survey of 1,000 millennial parents (ages 27-42) from across the U.S. about their parenting experience. Among respondents, 50% identified as male, 49% as female, and 1% as non-binary with an average age of 35.
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