Millennials are categorized by those born from year 1980 – 2000, which is comprised of roughly 22 million in the US. There are so many elements to consider about parenting, and just as with any generation before us, each generation faces their own unique set of societal circumstances.
Today, we are certainly facing obstacles, standards, and expectations that have given both opportunities and hurtles that are shaping a new generation. Our children will begin to shape the world we live in, just like we (the millennials) are shaping our culture currently.
Are millennials making good moves?
It’s not a startling revelation, people are getting married way later in life, not at all, or ending marriages as soon as the “good” wears off.
- In 2015, the average man married at 29 yrs old and at 27 yrs old for women, compared to 23 and 20 respectively in 1960.
Just looking at this stat, some assumptions can be made. Buying homes, settling into a career, and having babies are going to come later in life. Now, there are of course exceptions. Some millennials get married younger and immediately have children, others have babies first and then get married, and some have babies without the marriage.
Regardless, by and large, most millennials are having children later in their adult lives. Hence, we will be older as we navigate parenthood, which can be positive but negative as well. Typically, being older when babies come into the picture aligns with being more financially stable and having a stable home environment.
We (millennials) also grew up with parents that were focused on being everything their parents weren’t. Most of our parents grew up with little hand-holding, and little focused attention. These aren’t necessarily bad, but our parents than overcompensated, and wanted us to feel like there wasn’t much we couldn’t have, get for ourselves, or do. Life was kinda built to center around ourselves. In the midst of us growing up, technology hit a new stride and life changed a lot surrounding how we communicate in general.
Like I said above, each generation has it’s quarks, and poses unique aspects to the lifestyle we live and the children we raise.
What Millennials need to consider about parenting:
1.If you have babies when you’re older, you’re pushing your luck at seeing your grandchildren for a significant portion of their lives. This is a sad thought, but so true! I don’t know about you, but the thought of not having an impactful relationship with my grandchildren is HEART BREAKING! This one thing is probably the thing Adam and I lament over the most since becoming parents.
We want to be around for when our grandchildren grow up; to have the chance at really making an impact on their lives. Our Family = Our Legacy. This was never something we considered before having kids.
I need to back up and say though that we are SOOOO okay with the choices we made in establishing our marriage and not pursuing children quickly (even though we fully believed God was in control the entire time). Our life happened just as it was supposed to (heck for a while I didn’t want children, read about that here), but it still stings a little on the other side that we were “older” as we began this parenting journey.
I believe that most millennials think we have all the time in the world and that we can do literally anything we want to put our minds to, and while this is a great frame of mind, it’s a notion that I know most of us realize HAS LIMITATIONS (I mean, we do have the opportunity to do MANY things, maybe just not like become Queen of a newfound country, just sayin’).
Time is precious and there are NO GUARANTEES! I say, if you’re settled down, married, and feel like children are in your future >>> WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Just go all in because you will never be “ready”, and what a magnificent blessing to have time (statistically) on your side to be around for your family as long as possible.
(This philosophy does leave out the unknowns like infertility or tragedy or things out of our control, but in God’s. Regardless, start your journey because whatever comes your way, time is good to have on your side…know what I’m saying?).
I just wish I would have maybe considered this thought because while 5 years doesn’t seem to make that big of a difference….5 years in old age DEFINITELY DOES!
Now, don’t take me too seriously here. Ultimately, when children come along, it’s God’s perfect timing and there are NO GUARANTEES IN LIFE. But, this is just something to ponder on if you’re in the phase of thinking about starting a family. It’s a perspective Adam and I hadn’t discussed, and now after having children and really thinking about how much time we may have… I think we both wish we could’ve hedged our bets on having more time possibly.
2. We have to be intentional! This one I believe is hard for us (millennials) because we are so very occupied with technology. Whether, we are using technology for work, connecting with others, or using it as a vice >> it’s to the point that we CANNOT get away from it. BUT, what we can control is our intentionality (making up this word, you know me) with our focus and time. We all know the saying ” there’s a place and time for ___”, and this is TRUE FOR OUR PARENTING! I know it’s hard (believe me, I KNOW HOW HARD IT IS) to have self-control over our focus when it comes to interacting with others, but we DON’T HAVE A CHOICE! (I’m doing a lot of caps and exclamation marks because this is important!) We have to get off our phones, tablets, and computers when the time is necessary to be present >> which is A LOT with kiddos.
Our parents were “lucky” in that technology wasn’t so prevalent in our (millennials) formative years. In the car we actually talked to each other because it was either that or sing to the top of our lungs for entertainment (think long car rides). We didn’t have to worry about talking at the dinner table, because what other option was there? I guess you could eat in silence the entire time, who knows? Haha….but you get the picture. Being present with kids on the floor or during bed time, reading books. It was a sweeter, more intimate time without phones. We can have those same moments with our babies. We just have to be intentional!
Our children emulate EVERYTHING we do. Their focus, attitudes, and closeness towards us is dependent on our’s towards them. What example are we setting if we are never looking them in their eyes, or actively listening when they are talking to us. We have to realize what our interactions are signaling to their brains.
Babies need to be heard, to be given SO much undivided attention, and to feel a true connection if they are to grow into emotionally capable, intelligent adults. Therefore, we have to be present and steadfast with our ability to put down distractions!
3. We are outfitting our children’s tool-belts for life. This is analogy that I like to use because it’s pretty dern accurate. What we cultivate in our homes and parenting our kids, directly links to how they handle life. Sure, there are outliers that shape people (i.e. trauma, illness, etc.), but we (the parents) are VERY critical to how our children develop.
That’s why God gives us directives throughout scripture:
- “and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:!5 ESV – Paul wrote this to Timothy referencing how Timothy was raised knowing the teachings of the Bible, which helped his understanding of the Bible into adulthood and his role within the church.
- “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 ESV – I LOVE this verse because it sums it up in a nutshell >> the greatest gift we can give our children – learning of God’s love – will NEVER depart from their hearts. They will always know love if we teach them and SHOW them who God is.
- ” And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV – So basically, we are to be examples ALL DAY LONG. Are we going to be perfect > NOPE! BUT, we are to be aware that what we do is affecting everything are children will one day be dispositioned towards.
Why we need to be vigilant as millennial parents?
Today, culture and our society has become an open door lifestyle. There is really nothing that is too much. We are accepting of all things, and while this can be seen as a characteristic of God (do not judge, lest you be judged), we are to adhere to a standard of living. This standard is what we teach and leave to our children.
We must equip them with the right tools to share, love, and defend the glory of God and what He has died for. We do not get to sit idle and let the world raise our children and shape their hearts and minds. We are commissioned to do right for our babies by coming alongside, and helping posture their heart towards God’s.
Our greatest achievements are to be seen in their likeness.
It’s a challenging road to be parents and today, with the world literally at our fingertips, we face a great feat of doing what we can to lead our children into adulthood with morals, values, and strength rooted in their love and knowledge of Christ!
If you haven’t already, join our Facebook group and be a part of the book club – Life Giving Parent. If you don’t catch it the club live, you can do a self-paced study with all the video lessons inside the group!