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The media and marketers are obsessed with millennials, who are often portrayed as smartphone-addicted Instagram professionals, with a taste for good food and a strong desire not to grow up.
Here's the reality: The oldest end of the millennial generation—those born in the late 1970s—are now very well into their thirties, and they've done what generations and generations and generations before them did. They've started families.
There are now more than 22 million parents among the ranks of millennials. The progeny of this obsessed-over generation grows by 9,000 babies, every day.
Time magazine's cover story, published last week, delved into how millennials are raising their kids. The short answer: Differently than how they were raised. Millennials are the first to be considered digital natives (they've had the Internet and its attendant devices basically all of their adult lives). They're also, famously, that generation of kids supposedly coddled, given participation trophies and kept in metaphorical bubbles, the better to preserve their delicate self-esteems. At the same time, as the Time covers, their helicopter parents also had them in every possible activity, which for many didn't go over so well. And all of these things culminated in a desire to raise their kids differently—much like every generations that preceded them!
The Time piece features a homeschool stay-at-home dad; a mother of four whose own single mom tended to smother her; and plenty of data about social media, tech use and how our unprecedented access to find and share information is shaping how we behave and feel about ourselves as parents.
Time makes available some of the stats of their nationwide study of 2,000 parents with children under the age of 18, and found definite generational differences. Millennials appear to, unsurprisingly, have embraced social media more than Gen X and baby boomer parents (though nearly one-fifth of millennial parents had never posted an image of their kid on social media). Millennials worry about over-scheduling less than their older peers, but are practically obsessed with giving their kids original names (60 percent think it's important, compared to 44 percent of Gen Xers and 35 percent of boomers).
Author Katy Steinmetz participated in a discussion on Digg to further delve into some of the issues and answer readers' questions. It's a fascinating read if you want more than just the stats-heavy Time piece. Steinmetz responds to plenty of snarky, troll-y and judge-y comments—a reality for certainly most millennials and parents of any generation.