Millennials and boomers generally share a more progressive frame of mind, but when it comes to parenting practices, quite a bit has changed over the years. Queue Frank Sinatra’s “I did it my way” and read on for a glimpse of some Millennial parenting trends that boomer grandparents just can’t get behind.
1. ‘Peaceful parenting’
To be fair, Boomers were at the forefront of peaceful parenting in that they made a progressive shift away from the cold, authoritarian approach of their own parents. That said, some remnants of this controlling style were still present for those of us growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s (see: helicopter parenting or the yuppy obsession with grades and success, which was later rebranded as Tiger Mom behavior). Alternately, Millennials have embraced positive, gentle parenting more than any previous generation—in part because the rise of the internet and social media has given them access to a wealth of parenting advice that encourages asking questions, exploring feelings and avoiding shame. Clearly, there’s a lot to like about this approach. But we also don’t blame our parents for raising an eyebrow when they overhear us asking our kid if he clocked his little sister in the head with a Hot Wheel because he was feeling “frustrated.”
2. The pressure to entertain their kids constantly
Did Boomer parents get home from work and start crawling around on their hands and knees pretending to be a kitty cat? Probably not. Is this something Millennials aspire to do constantly, and feel guilty about if they can’t? You betcha. Millennial parents—fathers, in particular—are more concerned with spending QT with their children, and it shows in the amount of active play they engage in as compared to the Boomer generation. Again, this is a good thing (particularly on the dad front). But there’s also a concern that the pressure to always be “on” and engaging with our kids isn’t great for own mental health, whereas Boomers understood the value of a good old-fashioned “Go play so I can do my aerobics video.”
3. Screen time limits
Remember what we said about Millennials having access to more information than their Boomer parents? Well, this includes all those studies that suggest excessive screen time will basically destroy your kid. (Oof, there’s that mom guilt again.) So while Millennials may have fond memories of watching cartoons for three straight hours on Saturday morning, they’re far less likely as parents to allow their kids the same amount of time in front of the tube. Plus, it’s probably a healthy generational shift given that the introduction of smartphones and tablets means that screens aren’t just in the living room anymore—they’re everywhere.
4. Insta-worthy everything
Hey, Millennial—we love the way that crisp white teepee looks next to the teak wood bunk bed. And those Hanna Andersson forest animal jammies are so cute. Yep, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Millennial who doesn’t have an Instagram full of photos that feature an impossibly pristine child-rearing aesthetic. Needless to say, social media wasn’t a thing for Boomer parents, so they didn’t give a hoot about Marie Kondo toy storage and mid-century modern playroom sets. (And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Boomer-Millennial aesthetic divide.) There’s some common ground, though—namely that both generations can agree candle wax and nail polish should stay far away from carpeted floors.