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Millennials invent parenting 2.0

News, 20 January 2015

NEW YORK: Nearly 6 in 10 millennials are intentionally raising their children differently from how they themselves were raised, and they generally think they're better parents than their own parents were according to new research.

For its latest Prosumer Report – The New Dynamics of Family – marketing communications agency Havas Worldwide drew on findings from an online survey of 6,767 adults in 20 countries (Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine, UK, and the US). 


"Nothing is more important than family. But that word has very different meanings for different people," said Havas Worldwide and Havas Creative Group Global CEO Andrew Benett.

"To contribute to consumers' lives in a meaningful way, brands must first understand the realities of family relationships and the complexities of parenting in today's digital environments."

Havas highlighted the finding that millennials are going out of their way to bring up their children in a different way from their parents. One might think this true of every generation but the proportion in this generation is higher than before: 59% of 18-34 year old parents agreed they were doing this, compared to 53% of 35-54 year olds and 47% of the over-55s.

This age group was also convinced of its own abilities in this regard, with 44% saying they were better parents than their own parents had been, compared to 16% who disagreed.

This gap was much smaller among older age groups, perhaps able to look back with a greater degree of detachment. Only 36% of 35-54 year olds felt they had done better than their own parents (19% disagreed) and 29% of the over 55s (19% again disagreed).

And while millennial and baby boomer parents could agree on some aspects of child rearing – the importance of raising them to be kind, honest, resilient and tolerant – there were other areas on which they placed very different emphases.

Thus millennials were looking to instil their children with a sense of adventure and creativity, while baby boomers looked to the value of hard work.

The role of technology got a mixed reception. Around half of respondents thought it important that parents give their children up-to-date technology, while a similar proportion were fearful of its impact on childhood.

Indeed, a majority agreed that digital technology and the internet were ruining childhood, with millennials most likely to think this. They were also more likely than older age groups to express concern that technology is destroying family life.

Data sourced from PR Newswire, Havas Worldwide; additional content by Warc staff