They are now more than 22 million Millennials in America with about 9,000 babies born to them each day. They account for 80% of the 4 million annual births and the number of new millennial parents is expected to grow exponentially over the next decade.
They are digitally native, ethnically diverse, late marrying and less bound by traditional gender roles than any previous generation. They are becoming parents later...the average age being 26 compared to age 21 in 1970.
How are millennials parenting?
They are moving away from the command-and-control model that many of them were raised with. They are taking a more democratic approach. It is not uncommon for them to take a poll with their kids in deciding what to do for the weekend. They are more empathetic, understanding and questioning of what their children's needs are.
- 52% closely monitor their children's diet.
- 64% say the environment is a top concern.
- 61% agree that kids need more unstructured playtime. This indicates a backlash against the "helicopter parenting" of the Boomers. They are backing away from the over-scheduled days of their youth, preferring a more responsive, less dictatorial approach to activities.
- 21% think their kids are over scheduled.
- 48% believe children do best if a stay-at-home mom raises them.
- 23% are stay-at-home parents compared to just 16% of Gen Xer's and 22% of Baby Boomers. This indicates a traditional streak.
- 80% feel the pressure to be the "perfect" parent compared to only 70% of Gen X parents.
- 50% say they try to buy products that support causes or charities. They are often cited as one of the most socially compassionate generations ever. The brands that connect with millennial parents help them feel better about themselves through purchases and brand engagement. This is further confirmed by the fact that the top 3 brands they favor - Nike, Target and Apple - all have a cause platform.
- 82% want their child to know that they don't need possessions to be happy.
- 77% want their child to graduate from college.
- 56% want their child to excel at sports.
90% are social media users. They have helped shape a culture that is always on...smartphone in hand.
Social media has become the place where it's acceptable to brag. Instead of only having 5 minutes to take out their wallet and show off some pictures, they now have a platform for sharing that operates 24/7. With camera in hand, parents record the first few minutes of their child's life and post it online. 46% say they posted a picture of their child before their child was 1 day old.
- 88% have a Facebook account and 35% have posted something in the last day.
- 59% have a Twitter account and 26% actively use it.
- 72% access YouTube.
- 69% have a Google+ account and 24% actively use it.
- 34% have an Instagram account and 14% actively use it.
What do these trends mean for the church? How can we effectively reach and disciple Millennial parents?
Here are some strategies that come from these findings.
- They are very open to parenting input and ideas. If you will provide quality, Biblical-based, relevant teaching about parenting, you will grab their attention.
- They are looking for ways to support causes and charities. What better place to find this than at church? Help them see that the mission of the church is the greatest cause you can give your life to.
- Social Media. Use it to engage and equip parents. Instead of asking them to come to you online via your website - go to where they already are. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest.
- Be a place that champions diversity.
- Don't over-schedule them. They are not looking for something else to put on their calendar.