Tag Archives: millennials

Changes bring about a blog reboot

I started From None to One: A blog about a Generation Y dad over five years ago.

24 years old, a newlywed, recent college graduate, and soon-to-be father to a little boy. I blogged fairly consistently for 3 1/2 years. But life gets in the way and a blog suddenly becomes a drag, rather than a place for thoughts.

Now I’m staring down 30. Not a newlywed anymore, but entering my seventh year of marriage. Not a recent college graduate–a graduate student now. And I’m not the father to only a little boy, but a preschooler and, in June, a daughter.

It’s time for a reboot. I won’t say it’s starting over, though really, it kind of is, but a new approach to talking about parenting. When I started this blog, I was really one of a handful of millennials I knew with children, and now it seems like we’re sprouting a whole new generation–Generation Z, or Net Gen, or Post Gen, whatever, they’ll figure out their own names. But I feel like more than ever, millennial voices are needed.

I started reading a book last night about raising a daughter. I put it down after five pages because it didn’t speak to me at all as a millennial–or even as a parent.

I’m excited about raising two kids. I’m excited that we can raise both a son and a daughter. But we definitely need to talk about it. And millennials need to be part of the conversation. We’re raising our own kids now. The books that have been popular for years no longer speak to us the way they may have spoken to other generations.

So yes, it’s a reboot. It’s also a chance to talk again. And it’s time for that.

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Sentences

‘Arker? Nap…yesh.

That was one of the ‘sentences’ that Parker spouted off the other day when it was time for a nap. Sentences in the toddler would generally aren’t well structured or grammatically correct, but it’s more the ability to string together multiple thoughts at a single time, generally applying a verb to a noun or answering their own question.

It’s hard to believe how well he has started communicating with us. We actually have legitimate back-and-forths now (usually him simply telling us ‘no’ to something we ask, but that’s okay). He’s also started following verbal directions more. As I typed this, I yelled into the living room for Parker to come give me a kiss, and in he came and a kiss I got. He’s also starting to pick up on cues based on a situation he might be in. In church, he knows he can’t yell, and if he thinks what he just did was too loud for church, he’ll say “shhhhh”.

He likes to help out around the house now, pre-empting what he does with a “thank you”. For instance, he’ll hand us a dish from the dishwasher and say “thank you” as he hands it to us. He helps pick up toys, he’ll close the door for us.

You think a kid can’t change much more than from birth to age 1, but I’d say age 1 to age 2 gives it a run for its money. While most of the change that occurs in the first year is mostly physical, it seems the second year is mostly emotional and mental. You think of the milestones in the first year: holding their head up, rolling over, crawling, cruising, walking, and then the second year: words, puzzles, sentences, identification of objects.

And of course, for me, the understanding of his language. Of course his words aren’t completely clear yet, so translating becomes a big part of what I do, but on the bright side, he’s willing to keep saying what he wants to say until you understand.

This year has been a lot of fun, and next month, we’ll be halfway through the second year, on the downhill to age 2. What more can he learn in just four months?

Growing up

/PrepareForDeepThoughts

I’ve spent the last few days just ruminating on my life and came to the conclusion I’ve learned more about life these past two years than the previous 23.

Becoming a dad, being a husband that is also a dad…you grow up quick when these become part of who you are.

If you aren’t a parent, you probably will roll your eyes at how many times you’ve heard this statement, but being a parent is the greatest thing you can ever do. Being “addy” puts me on top of the world. I’ve accomplished everything I have to do in life by being Dad to the most incredible person in the world. My heart pounds out of my chest for Parker.

On the same hand, my wife and I married “young”. I had just turned 22, and she was 21. She still had two years of college left and I was holding down a job that barely paid the bills at the time. In a way, we were still just two college students. Flash forward to now and we’re parents that hold down full-time careers. She and I have done a lot of growing up together as well. I think she would agree that right now, our marriage is finally what a marriage should be. It’s one thing to have a spouse that is the mother/father of your child, it’s a whole other thing to finally connect with each other as parents.

But back to my original point, that I’ve learned more about life in these past two years than I had in my entire life before. I don’t feel like I ever understood unconditional, undying love until Parker. Don’t get me wrong, my wife and I love each other, we’re best friends and everything to one another, and our love is only enhanced because we had Parker together. But the love that I have for Parker exceeds what would be considered normal for any person. To look into the eyes of someone that you had a role in creating? Wow. A person that is literally half you.

I remember when Parker was first born, I cried. Not even because of happiness, but because it finally hit me that what my wife was holding was my flesh and blood. To have a child is to learn how it feels to laugh. Parker is the funniest person I’ve ever met in my life. And I can’t help but laugh to myself when he does something that might drive me crazy if someone else did it (my wife and I will constantly insist that he is “your son”).

But I’m Dad (well, “Addy”). And there’s nothing else I can do in life that will live up to that name. What life was I living before Parker? And how did I live this long without him?

In any case, I’m thrilled for us. Our little family could not be better right now. And it’s a great feeling.

/endDeepThoughts

Less than perfect? Well yeah…

I was making the rounds this afternoon on the news websites and came across this article on CNN.com and wanted to share my thoughts.

Sharing the achievements of our children is commonplace, just as it has always been, amongst parents. Today, with the advent of social networking like message boards, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, it’s easier than ever to share with the world the latest achievement that the little one has accomplished. Have I done my share of bragging? Of course. But that’s because my kid, in my opinion, is the most amazing little kid in the world.

But if you’re a parent, you already know that parenting isn’t perfect. Of course there are times when Parker drives me absolutely bananas. I try to keep him from standing on the couch or hitting the dogs almost daily. We’re struggling with eating right now, as Parker is so independent with eating that he won’t actually let us try and feed him. It’s a learning process, and half the time ends with me wanting to slam my head into a wall.

I’ve changed my share of absolutely disgusting diapers. I’ve seen the worst this kid has to offer. And of course that’s part of parenting. Parenting isn’t about perfection, and I don’t presume that any parent that talks or brags about their child is saying that everything is perfect.

I understand the point of the blog–that we as parents don’t often show the “non-glamorous” of parenting–but I also think we run the danger of not sharing things about our children for fear of being labeled a braggart or a “perfect parent”. I’ll admit freely that everything I do isn’t correct. I’m sure I do things as a parent that others would frown upon, and I could share some stories that I’m sure would make a non-parent never want to have children.

But I don’t really remember those things. Changing a diaper is part of the job. But I’ll remember when my son took his first steps. I’ll video him saying his alphabet at 16 months old. I won’t take video of him throwing a temper tantrum or take pictures of his post-nap diapers.

I guess my point is, be proud of your kids. It’s okay to be thrilled when they take their first steps. It’s okay to post a Facebook status about the amazing thing they just did. I’ll continue to talk about the amazing things my son does because they truly do amaze me.

But until he does that next thing, I need to go keep him from standing on the couch.

The Dangers of ‘Labeling’ Millennials

A friend of mine yesterday sent me a link from Slate Magazine, with an article by Jessica Grose titled, “Generation Scold:  Why millennials are so judgmental about promiscuity”.

The article basically argues that millennials are more judgmental than their generational counterparts on the concept of promiscuity, that is, sexual relations with a multitude of different people, citing that even millennial men are more likely to use negative connotations to describe men with multiple sexual partners.

They say it’s judging promiscuity, I say it’s eliminating the double standard. And while the article touches on this point, I believe it’s the far bigger point to be made. Promiscuity, even during the ‘free love’ era in America in the 60s and 70s, has never been widely accepted in the United States. Sexuality, in general, and its derivations, have never and will probably never be a widely discussed subject compared to other nations. To suggest that millennials are judgmental towards promiscuity seems, premature and even incorrect. But, we do see millennials assigning less double standard to men and women (the old ‘slut’ vs. ‘stud’ argument).

The article cites the authors Neil Howe and William Strauss and their book, Millennials Rising, where they called Gen Y deeply conventional and traditional. What the article fails to mention is Millennials Rising was written in 2000, when even most senior millennials were still in high school.

And thus is the danger of pegging millennials. We can look at the polls and the research, but when millennials are still in high school, I think it’s premature, especially in 2000, to start labeling millennials. In fact, the Pew Research Poll (taken at the beginning of this) suggests that millennials are anything but traditional, values-oriented, and conventional.

I encourage journalists, authors, and researchers to use caution before labeling an entire generation before we reach adulthood.

Millennial Parenting and Political Attitudes

Yesterday, I discussed the political party identification and job approval of the President in relation to millennials. Today, the research turns to how millennials view ‘hot topics’ of today’s political environment.

On the whole, millennials pretty much fall in line with other generations on the attitude of businesses, that businesses make fair profits and are not powerful, and millennials are actually more likely to agree that business corporations generally strike a fair balance between making profits and serving the public interest.

Millennials are also less skeptical than older generations about government effectiveness and are more likely to agree that the government should held more needy people even if it means a rising national debt, but even then, support is not strong, and has in fact declined over the past two years.

In national security, millennials are much less likely to support an assertive national security policy, with most millennials not supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are least likely to agree that the best way to ensure peace is through military strength.

As mentioned in the family values section, millennials are also much more likely to support affirmative action, even though a majority does not support. Millennials are also the most likely to agree that ‘it’s all right for blacks and whites to date each other’, with nearly 93% support.

Unfortunately, Pew did not do much research on health-care, social security, or other generational topics, so it’s difficult to see how millennials might affect these issues in the years to come.

Millennials are somewhat stuck in a middle ground right now. They came out of the 2008 election season fervent on an Obama administration and positive attitudes about government. But recently, that tide has turned. However, our views on many political topics have not.

I’m most interested to see how these changes in political identification, but not necessarily political values will affect party politics in this country. As many know, I left the Republican Party around the time of the 2008 election. But as more millennials shift their identification to the GOP, yet haven’t changed their socially liberal views on a number of topics, I have to wonder if the influx of younger millennials into the GOP with socially liberal or libertarian attitudes will change the culture of the Republican Party. Or, will millennials abandon both parties for a change of pace, perhaps a libertarian candidate?

How will this affect parenting? I imagine it won’t be unlike how millennial family values will shape families. If millennials speak about these values in their households, we may very well see attitudes shift significantly as our children grow.

But, both Boomers and Gen X were about the same in identifying as liberal during this time of their lives, and Boomers, at least, tend to be more conservative now. We live in a country where political attitudes change as often as the weather, and it doesn’t appear that millennials are really immune from this. But it will be interesting to see how, if millennials remain solidly liberal on many political issues, this will affect party politics in our country, especially as millennials become a more solid voting block.

Tomorrow begins the final chapter in this series, and will shift the subject to millennials and religion.

Millennial Parenting and Technology

Millennials were the first generation to really grow up in the age of the internet. I can recall ‘surfing the web’ for the first time at home around age 11, and I’m an older millennial. My younger brother, for instance, was out on the web at age 6. E-mailing, texting, instant messaging, Facebooking, tweeting, and perhaps even blogging, have become our preferred method of virtual communication.

 And perhaps it is in the realm of technology and social media that the gap is so large between millennials and their generational predecessors.

According to the Pew Research survey on millennials, ‘Millennials outpace older Americans in virtually all types of internet and cell use.’

75% of us have a social networking profile, compared to 50% of Gen Xers and 30% of our Boomer parents. 62% of us have accessed wireless internet away from home, compared to 48% of Xers and 35% of Boomers. 20% of Millennials have posted a video of ourselves online. Far outpacing Xers (6%) and Boomers (2%).

In cell usage, 88% of Gen Y use their cell phones to text, compared to 51% of Baby Boomers. 80% of us have texted in the last 24 hours; only 63% of Xers and 35% of Boomers have. 41% of Millennials have no land line phone, compared to 24% of Gen X and 14% of Baby Boomers.

Generation Y is also more likely to have a positive view on new technology, and also more likely to agree that new technology makes people closer to friends and family than previous generations. Similarly, we are more likely to agree that new technology makes our lives more efficient, rather than being time wasters.

 But how, if at all, could this affect how millennials parent their children?

Well the most obvious begins with the internet. Millennials were probably among the first in their households to really use the internet as a communication and information medium. Even today, I think my parents would agree that my brother and I are more internet-savvy than they are, simply because we started using the internet at a young age. We were the first in our families to get Facebook (remember when Facebook used to only be for college students?). We were the first to watch videos on YouTube. We are the only ones that blog. I even still find myself helping folks of older generations navigate online features. Heck, I even Facebooked labor and delivery from my cell phone.

Our children won’t experience this. They are going to be born to parents with Facebook profiles (or parents that have blogs documenting their childhood…talk about embarrassing!). We’ll be teaching our kids how to utilize the internet. Elementary school work will be done on the computer. Children are going to be growing up in wireless households with laptops and networks and fighting over internet usage.

Similarly, children are going to grow up in a world of cell phones. About 51% of our parents use their cell phones to text; for our children, that number will be more like 9 in 10. Smart phones have revolutioned the telecommunications industry, and is quickly becoming the ‘norm’ for millennials.

I agree that these technologies have helped me be more in contact with my friends and family. I know for my parents, me having a cell phone helped knock down a barrier of worry. If I was out at night with my friends, they could get a hold of me and vice versa at any time. My mom or dad can text me now if they know I’m busy, or send me an e-mail, or post on my Facebook wall.

Millennial parents have to consider when to give their child their first cell phone, or perhaps their first laptop. While the internet has been helpful in keeping people in touch, a lot of dangers exist, and millennials will have to teach their children appropriate internet habits and who/what to look out for. With new technology come new concerns.

It’s certainly going to be a broader area to navigate for millennials parents, and one I know we’re already discussing even while our son is still an infant. We want him to enjoy all that the world of technology has to offer. But when will kids start to have phones or start using the computer regularly? What rules will parents have for their children? Will we monitor their Facebook profiles, or let them have independence? All questions that millennial parents are going to be facing very, very soon in the lives of their children.

Stay tuned, as Part III of the continuing series will focus on family values and the effects on millennial parenting.

Study: Good Parenting Valued by Millennials

Last week, the Pew Research Center finished up the most exhaustive study on the Millennial Generation to date.

The study found, among other things, that Millennials are more ethnically and racially diverse, less religious, and are on track to be the most educated generation in American history. 75% of us have a social networking profile. 37% of us are unemployed, but 9 in ten of us say we have enough money right now or are optimistic about meeting our long-term financial goals.

One in five of us are married, and one in three of us is a parent.

And here is perhaps the best and most relevant information. When asked to name our top priorities in life, 52% of us mentioned “being a good parent”, topping all other priorities including having a good marriage, owning a home, having a high-paying career, having lots of free time, and becoming famous.

Being a good parent tops our priorities. This is the same generation that author Jean Twenge dubbed ‘Generation Me’, suggesting millennials were miserable and narcissistic, yet we care so much about being good parents to our children.

As I’ve mentioned, it’s much to early to write the book on millennial parenting. Only a third of us have children right now, but even the oldest millennials are turning 28 this year. But for ‘Generation Me’ to have such optimistic hope for not only our own future, but our childrens’ future, things look very bright.

I would really encourage you to check out the study. It’s very fascinating to see such a large scale project done on our generation. This is, perhaps, the best look at the future of our country right now, whether it be our top priorities, shifts in values, or parenting. I’m especially interested in how all of these findings will affect parenting. And over the course of the next few days, I’d like to break them down and really get into how these findings might affect millennial parenting.

On a separate note, thanks to the meticulous clicking of the readers, this blog debuted in the Top 100 of topbabyblogs.com. So if you get a chance, be sure to click the brown badge down the side of the page!