Millennials are the generation that has grown up with the rise of the internet and the birth of new gadgets. In today’s society, as millennials become parents, they are now faced with a new challenge – juggling parenthood and work life.
Around 46% of parents are both in the workforce, compared to 31% in the 1970s, but thanks to technology it has made this struggle something that millennial parents have to worry about less. However, there are a lot more differences between millennials and baby boomer parents or generation X parents.
In this blog, we will examine many different aspects of the millennial parent, such as:
- The different parenting styles between decades
- What do millennial parents expect from their child’s school?
- How can schools cater to millennial parents expectations?
The different parenting styles between decades
Each decade has a different parenting style, and these different styles have affected how much parents are, and want, to be involved in their children’s life including their education.
In the 1950s, parenting style was very adult-centric, children were a part of the family life but weren’t the main focus, and instead, parents let their children play in the streets and have fun. There was little fear of crime and danger against the child. This was partly because, in many urban areas, the sense of community was much stronger – everyone was looking out for everyone else. And when there were problems, technology wasn’t an element in their lives, and therefore finding information on these matters wasn’t at their fingertips on a daily – or hourly – basis.
In the 70s and 80s, women were finally given more rights and freedom when it came to decision making. All of this raised divorce rates, resulting in more women having to work and giving children more responsibility.
However, we can see that with the next generation, parenting style changed as a reaction to giving children more responsibility, and that style is known as the helicopter parent. Emerging in the 1990s, these parents feared for their children’s safety and would not only want to be more involved in everything their children did, but control their environment and interactions to the point of removing what most would consider ‘normal childhood experiences’.
And then we come to the millennials; their parenting style can be seen as a mixture of the other styles that came before them. They no longer wish to carry on holding on to the negative helicopter parent term, but they do not want to lose focus on their children and miss the memories of them growing up. We can see this with how close they are when it comes to sharing photos on social media. 81% of millennial parents share their memories with their children on social media, compared to 47% of baby boomer parents. We can believe that the reason millennial parents love to share the memories of their children online is because of the friendship groups they can meet, but also it’s a way to show their children how proud they are of them.
What do millennial parents expect from their child’s school?
Millennials’ new parenting style has a big impact on what they expect from schools. Decades ago schools were just seen as a place to educate children, but now they are seen as much more than that.
So the question is, what do millennial parents want from their child’s school?
Variety of learning
They don’t want their children to just be learning from a book, or just be learning from the screen, they want a mixture. Millennial parents know the importance of learning academic subjects, such as maths, but they also want their children to have the chance to learn different skills. They believe schools should have diverse learning as it will help their children find out what their passions are but also learn in their preferred way of studying.
Just like any parent, millennials want their children to receive the grades that they need for their next step in education. Yet, unlike the baby boomer parents, millennials understand the fierce competition in the working world and how grades are not the only important element needed for it. They believe schools should prepare children for what to expect in the real world, both the good and the bad elements of it. For them to understand that not everything will go their way, but also be able to develop their social skills and being able to adapt to changes quickly.
Good communication with teachers
Now, as we already know, millennials want to throw out the helicopter parenting style, as they believe that their children should be free to find out what they love. However, they do want to be involved more than the parents from three decades ago, as they know how good that can be to help their children gain those good results. They want to be able to help out at school events, which is quite shocking as we know that many parents are now both working.
Yet most jobs are adapting to take place at home, especially over the past year, and allow employers to alter their hours if needed, meaning parents can attend school events even if it’s last minute. Saying this, parents also believe that because more of them are working, teachers should use technology more to communicate with them.
The main reason that millennial parents want this great communication with teachers is that it gives them the chance to see into their children’s experiences. They can understand better if their child is struggling in some way, or doing well, and see what they can do to help their child learn.
It is clear that millennial parents have more expectations than any parents in the past decades, but it is also very understandable as to why they just want the best for their children.
Walton Family Foundation and Echelon Insights conducted a study on millennial parents and learnt the reason why parents expect more from schools is because more and more children are growing up in two-income households.
Although parents will make time to witness their child’s school football game, they do not have time to teach every single skill and quality that they need, because they have to work.
This explains why more parents want teachers to communicate more, and use modern technologies, as it’s a way to make them feel they still playing a part in helping their children develop into adults.
How can schools cater to millennial parents expectations?
There are ways that schools and teachers can change to make sure that millennial parents receive what they are expecting.
This can be seen as the biggest change that schools are doing compared to the schools from a decade ago. What many schools need to recognise that a phone is a virtual wallet, it has everything in it, and that means parents will always be carrying it around.
They need it for work, they need it to pay for things, they need it to schedule their busy lives and they need it to communicate. In today’s society, many companies are becoming more technology savvy because of their audience. Schools need to do the same, not only is becoming paperless more environmentally friendly, it is what millennial parents expect. And today, matters such as these can even be a cause for parents to prefer one school over another.
Fast, high-quality streaming
Now, this one might seem strange, why does a school need these? Although, stated above that more parents have more time to go and view school events, the unexpected events of life can stop them from attending.
Work, commitments and even illness can stop a parent from attending events, such as seeing their child’s play, and live streaming is a great way to keep them involved.
Finding a way to live stream events, or at least be able to film parts and send them to parents is a great way for schools to develop that great, and much needed, communication with millennial parents.
Allowing parents to share their feedback
It is true that millennial parents have higher expectations from schools than before, but they still want involvement. Millennial parents still want to feel that they are a part of their child’s education, even if work-life keeps them busy. Inviting parents to share feedback, whether this is face to face or online, will not only help create a healthy relationship between parent and teacher, it is another way to help parents feel they are playing a part in their child’s education.
It is very clear what millennial parents expect from their child’s school, and it’s understandable why they want a good relationship with the teachers. However, it can be difficult to start creating and then maintain this healthy relationship, and for teachers involve the millennial parent.
We have created the Splento App to help bridge this gap. The app is a way for schools to be able to share many amazing moments that their students experience, with their parents.
It is a communication tool for schools, a parent-teacher relationship tool, and a valuable parent engagement tool.
Right now it is in its trial stage, but you have the chance to try the latest demo where you can see how simply and beautifully it works.
It’s the perfect step to help make millennial parents feel more involved in their child’s education without the dominating control of the helicopter approach.
But most of all, it’s using today’s technology to assist the most important relationship of all – the parent with their child.