Buying and Free time Habits of Parents Ages 25-40

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Insights; Parents Personality Traits

Millennial parents are different from parents in other generations in many ways, including time spent with their kids, how they view parenthood, and how long they wait to have children (and why). Their approaches to parenting revolve more around community-based upbringing styles, and they seek support, knowledge, and wisdom from communities both local and global. These parents have very little free time, and spend much of the time they do have focused on improving their children’s lives and helping them to become ethical, self-reliant, and well-rounded individuals.

1. BECOMING A PARENT IS TRANSFORMATIVE

  • Research from the CDC shows that Millennials are starting families later than any other generation before them has; reasons for this include those related to financial security, career paths, and the excitement of living life to its fullest while still young enough to enjoy it.
  • Over half (56%) of Millennial parents stated that they “prefer experiences to belongings” and other trappings of adulthood. This spills over into how they raise their children, as well, in that they more often opt for experiences over a larger house, newer car, or more toys that will collect dust.
  • Nearly all (99%) of Millennial parents that waited to have children, and who spent the time establishing their careers and households, stated that they truly enjoyed the job of parenting.
  • Just over half (52%) of Millennials without children said “having kids was one of their top life goals, far ahead of a successful marriage,” though they were waiting for the right time to do so.
  • Millennial parents are more likely than other generations to believe that “parenthood is a major part of their identity.”
  • In fact, many Millennials “have made parenting … their own with an impressive array of sub-identities that reflect not just their status as child-rearing adults, but also their personal, political, and social ideologies.”
  • In one survey, 25% of Millennial parents noted a “drastic shift in focus from self to family” once they had children. As one writer puts it, “The stereotypically self-absorbed Millennial has disappeared, making room for both new life and a new take on adulthood.”

KIDS SHOULD BE TREATED AS INDIVIDUALS

  • While Baby Boomers opted for traditional names so their kids would fit in (and not stand out), Millennials are the opposite, doing things their own way including how they choose to name their children. They “are finding unusual, special, and varied names for their babies,” which signify the unique individuals they believe their children to be.
  • A whopping 81% of Millennial parents have shared (or routinely share) images of their kids’ lives on social media channels, like Facebook and Instagram.
  • This generation grew up online and believes one of the best ways to show how amazing, unique, and special their kids are is to fully document their lives for family and friends (near and far) to experience with them.
  • This extends each family’s community to not just include locals, but also the world at-large.

HAVE REDEFINED WHAT “FAMILY” MEANS

  • About 68% of parents in today’s world are married, which is a significant drop from the 93% rate in the 1950s.
  • Of these, more families than ever before are headed by single women, with many of these women choosing single motherhood (rather than getting into it by accident, as was more the case with previous generations).
  • Additionally, there are some two to 3.7 million American children (under the age of 18) living with LGBTQIA+ parents, with not quite a quarter million being raised by same-sex couples, “single LGBTQ parents, or by a different-sex couple where one parent is bisexual”.
  • Because of this, this generation of parents has redefined the way society views the “family unit”.

SELF-RELIANT, ETHICAL KIDS

  • A whopping 91% of Millennial parents rated “raising successful children” as more highly valued in their lives than living up to their potential.
  • The vast array of knowledge and resources from which to draw, combined with Millennialssavvy for all-things-internet, has given these parents the ability to find any number of tips they can apply toward refining their parenting skills and styles.
  • Many Millennial parents are discerning, and spend time sorting through the wide collection out there to identify the best-possible solutions for their unique children.
  • These parents “seek out experts in every field of parenting, gathering information from both virtual and real contacts.”
  • Of note, nearly three-quarters (71%) of Millennial parents spend time researching how to be a good parent on the internet or through social media channels, which is how they opt to spend some of their very limited free time.
  • The Millennial generation is the last one that will be predominantly Caucasian in America, and this generation is leading the way toward a more open-minded, fair, and equitable society on the whole.
  • Many parents of this generation want to "raise their children in a world that provides the fairness and freedom they themselves seek.

IT “TAKES A VILLAGE” TO RAISE CHILDREN RIGHT

  • Additionally, many Millennial parents have started their own parenting blogs, often using these to communicate the ups and downs of their children’s lives (and their own parenting journeys) with family and friends near and far.
  • They also use them to seek out advice on being better parents or to offer advice on areas in which they’ve seen success.
  • Millennial parents, and dads especially, “have more egalitarian beliefs about childcare, and are striving to see more even distribution of parenting duties in their own households.”
  • Though moms typically still do more for the household than dads, the percentages are moving more toward the center, with modern dads spending about 30 more minutes a day on average on household tasks than their dads did.
  • Experts state that this generation believes in “the democratization of everything,” and that includes running the household and parenting.
  • This higher level of engagement of both parents, and the specific demonstrations by the father figure of sharing in household chores especially, has huge benefits for the children. For example, this behavior teaches male children that housework is “family work” (rather than “women’s work”), and teaches female children that they are just as important as their male counterparts.
  • Interestingly, more balance in the household and family-related chores also serves to improve the stability of the parents’ marriage, and strengthens the family unit as a whole.

HAVE VERY LITTLE FREE TIME

  • One recent study found that most moms who work have under an hour of free time each day, while dads enjoy not quite two hours. Another survey found that parents only average about 32 minutes of free time each day.
  • Although Millennials spend much of their time (by choice) with their families, “many find themselves being forced to actually hide from their kids in order to get away”.
  • In an average week, a Millennial (or other) parent makes about six trips toting kids back and forth to school and extracurricular activities, makes about five trips to buy food and supplies, and administers discipline to their children an average of five times each week.
  • Nearly half of American mothers believe they don’t get enough personal time to spend with friends or on their hobbies/interests. In current times (as compared to previous generations), “mothers with a college education spend half-an-hour more with their children each day.”

TIME IS BEST SPENT WITH THEIR CHILDREN

  • Research shows that Millennial parents “are far more child-focused than parents in past decades,” and are spending more time on average each day with their kids than previous generations.
  • Fathers, especially, are spending three or four times the time with their kids that parents in the 1960s did, with that figure today being around the one-hour mark.
  • Many Millennial parents structure their kids’ schedules to include family time, like attending classes together or parents coaching academic or athletic teams in which their children are active.
  • Additionally, more parents have opportunities to work from home, and therefore, are more available to attend to immediate family needs.
  • Many of these parents also “sneak in” family time, like the time spent in carpools with their children and their friends.

MILLENNIAL FATHERS ARE MORE INVOLVED

  • About half of fathers state they’d prefer to have more time to spend with their kids, if work-life barriers did not present so many obstacles.
  • Notably, only about 3% of Millennial fathers state they’ve never changed a diaper; stark contrast to the 43% of fathers who had not done so in 1982.
  • This focus is likely influenced by current research that shows times like bathing and dressing help parents strengthen familial bonds with their children.
  • About half of fathers state they’d prefer to have more time to spend with their kids, if work-life barriers did not present so many obstacles.
  • Despite the changing ideologies and roles of modern fathers, the corporate world and society have a long way to go toward catching up. Many companies have maternity leave policies, but no family leave policies (which the father could use).
  • Many fathers in the working world are struggling to balance the “demands of their corporate culture” with their desire to keep their children as their top priority.

IPRAGMATIC IN THEIR SPENDING

  • Although Millennials typically purchase products from brands that are aligned with causes the parents support, there is a rapid shift occurring in this demographic away from brand loyalty and more toward cost-consciousness.
  • Experts state this is likely “correlated to the reality that Millennial parents are entering adulthood and family life at a greater disadvantage than previous generations.”

RESEARCH STRATEGY

The age range of 25 – 40 years old falls most closely in the current ages of parents in the Millennial generation; because of this, we have used this generation as the best possible proxy for the desired age range. We focused our search processes on identifying personality traits, values, beliefs, interests, and habits of Millennial parents, and found a plethora of studies detailing how they think, act, and behave in their family roles. From this collection, we pulled the most relevant findings related directly to the points of interest noted, and correlated them into a set of insights that correspond to the highest number of Millennial parents.

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