Tag Archives: parenting

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

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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.

Fatherhood Friday #2: Why it’s awesome to be a dad

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m on reddit semi-frequently and I posted a comment today on a thread asking “Why are Redditors so poor”. The original poster commented that making money isn’t difficult, that he found something to do after his day job and was so successful in it that he decided to quit his job and focus on his ‘after work job’.

I said:

I wouldn’t say I’m ‘poor’, together, my wife and I afford a comfortable middle-class life–we’re 25. We just bought our first house in May, we have a 15 month-old son.

I work in the public sector, she works for a large national department store chain.

To be honest, the reason I’m not rolling in the cash is for a number of reasons.

1) I work in the public sector, as I mentioned. Not often going to find high salaries for people working in the public field in their mid 20s.

2) I have a family I have to support. My job has great benefits (esp. health benefits), flexible hours, steady wage increases, fairly decent job security. I don’t really have much luxury with ‘risk’ when I have a family that has their own needs.

3) When I get home from work, I want to play with my son. He sits with a babysitter during the day, and when I get home, I see his eyes light up and he comes running up to me and hugs me. I want to spend my evenings building block towers, and reading books, and teaching him new things than picking up something I can ‘do from home’.

Afterwards, a fellow Redditor responded:

Back when I was 25 I decided it was time for me to “grow up” and start pursuing adult goals, specifically, marriage, children and owning a house. I’m 30 now, so it is really interesting for me to listen to your story, and consider how differently my path might have gone.

My parents divorced, and my dad was a workaholic, so from a very early age I realized I wanted to do things a different way. Specifically, I didn’t want to miss my children growing up due to work. At the same time, I wanted the typical middle class comforts such as two cars, air conditioning, etc. I realized I needed a certain amount of wealth, and I also realized that working 80 hours per week into my 60s was not for me. What to do?

About 5 years ago I sat down with the girl who is now my wife, and laid out a “5 year plan” detailing where I wanted to be at 30. Namely, I wanted what you have now- a regular 40-hour schedule, a young son, a house, and (the holy grail) a wife who could be a stay-at-home mom for awhile while the kids were very little.

For the past 5 years we agreed to both work for the future, both of us working full time, her working overtime on a regular basis, and me spending my time split between a full-time consulting gig and a start-up business that I was hoping would replace her salary and let her stay at home. Of course, this past 5 years also included the total collapse of the real estate market (right after we bought the house) followed by a stock market collapse (right after we started saving and investing). Fate kicked me square in the nuts, and I lost a few years just getting back on steady footing.

So looking forward, what will 35 look like? Well, it looks like 5 years from now most of our material goals will be met. My wife may need to keep working solely for the insurance benefits, but I expect her to drop back to a “part time” job at most, and be able to focus on the kids we hope to have. As for me, I have learned that I am just like my father, a hopeless workaholic who is now forced between two full-time jobs; I expect I will be a horrible father, but will provide my wife with the opportunity to exceed as a mother. In other words, yup, dad is an asshole, but mom will be able to stay at home and give you the attention I never will. Kind of sad when I type it out and read it.

Its like this- something happens when you hit the end of your 20s, and most of the thing you used to enjoy just kind of lose their appeal. Example: I love roller coasters, but I feel silly waiting in line without a son. I’m too old for that crap- and I’m sure people assume I’m a pedo bear in disguise. So you decide: “I’ll have kids, so I can relive all the awesome stuff from childhood, and all the stuff I missed the first time around”. But, being crazy like me, you decide first you’ll pay your dues, so when you finally have kids, everything will be perfect, the sun will shine, and magical unicorns will fly you to Disney World for free.

So you spend a few years working, while the wife does the same. You don’t go out much, and try to be as frugal as possible. Friendships and family sort of fall away because you are so focused on the future goal. Grandma dies, and you tell yourself- “no time to grieve about lost opportunity- focus on the future…the futureTHE FUTURE

And then you look back at yourself on a quiet Friday afternoon, and it dawns on you just how insane your plan has been the entire time. I’m 30 now, my wife is 34, and the doctor has already explained to us that between waiting so long to have kids and preexisting medical issues on her side, adoption is now our best chance and healthy offspring. And since having kids “the normal” way is now out of the picture, why not pay off the house first? And once we’ve paid off the house, why not enjoy a few cruises for all our hard work before we settle down and adopt?

If you asked the 12 year old me what I wanted when I grew up, I would have told you a normal house by the beach with a few kids, enough money to feed them, and most important- the time to really dedicate myself to fatherhood.

The 30 year old me has the house by the beach (and the pile of associated bills and overdue repairs). I have enough money to feed plenty of kids, but I feed strangers’ kids via charity because I have no time for kids of my own. The wife and I both work so much that our social lives are pathetic, and we’re both so tired that a dinner followed by a movie at home and some sex is a thrilling evening for us both.

By the time you get to be my age, you will have a 6 year year old boy at the start of his school career. You’ll have a little clone of yourself to take trick or treating. I’ll tell you something- right now, I’d trade you every penny I have for that. Don’t be jealous of some numbers in a bank account; I’d trade them all to be playing baseball with a 6-year-old right now as opposed to finding the strength to do another 18-hour shift of work, watching as another weekend is traded away for some more money that I’m not even sure I want anymore.

However- in all fairness to myself- I hope the 40 year old me will look back at the 30 year old me and say: “suck it up, and hang in there”. Assuming we stay the course, assuming luck continues to go my way, I could be psudeo-retired by 40, adopt a litter of kids then, and spend the second half of my life dedicated to being the best father ever.

I’m just afraid that by the time I get there, I will be so jaded and tired from the work I’ll decide to get another dog and a Porsche instead. And this much my dad taught me well- it ain’t worth shit. My dad and I are friends now, but neither of us has time for the other. By the time I’m 40 he’ll likely be dead. Its strange too, because we both know it. Even when we get a few moments to joke around, there is this looming sadness always. The ghost of what might have been.

tldr; when you get home tonight, lay on your back on the floor, and use your foot to make him “fly” above you. Tickle him until he turns red. Blow on that little belly until you are both nauseous from giggling. No matter what happens 5 years from now, you’ll both be glad you did.

And you better believe I’m going to do just that. And that’s why I’m a dad.

Time to man up

As a reader of reddit, I often come across a post about the trials and tribulations of parenting and expecting parents. One came across my desk the other day that I found particularly interesting.

Long story short, a man had suspected his wife of “pulling the goalie”, that is, to stop birth control on purpose without telling. As you can imagine, the wife became pregnant, denied doing it, and then admitted to it. Also, as you can imagine, the husband was pretty pissed. The first emotion he felt was probably betrayal, followed by anger, perhaps mixed with some confusion.

In his reddit, he lamented that his ‘life was ruined’, debated leaving his wife, pondered demanding an abortion, etc. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed (both for he and his wife, and probably pushed along a bit by the thoughtfulness and rationality of many redditors), and they have decided to go along with having the child.

This story isn’t unique. Many children are born due to ‘accidents’–purposeful or not. Before this story had been resolved, I found myself more appalled at the husband than the wife. Now, did she betray his trust and do something she should not have done? Yeah. And at the same time, I understand his feelings. The discussion of kids before Parker was a topic that made the blood boil between my wife and me. It’s no secret now that she really wanted a child and I really didn’t.

But there comes a point where you just sort of have to leave that way of thinking when a child is coming into your life. My wife told me she was afraid to tell me she was pregnant because she was afraid I would leave her.

Kids are part of the business of being adults, especially being married. Birth control doesn’t always work, and kids have to be part of the equation when two people engage in adult relations.

I think what hit me the hardest was the ‘my life is ruined’ line. I’m incredibly happy to see that this redditor decided otherwise and realized that he’s going to have a child and that life goes on. But for many children born into the world, they are blamed for it. Was Parker born to us at an ideal time in our lives? No. But being his dad is the single greatest thing I’ve ever done.

Becoming a dad is ‘man-up’ time to the nth degree. You can bench 400 pounds and it doesn’t come close to equating what it takes to be a dad. Resenting your partner and kid won’t do anything for you. It makes you weak. You aren’t strong by leaving your wife and neglecting your kid just because of timing or circumstance.

You’re strong when you change a diaper. You’re strong when you can calm a crying newborn. Strength comes from picking up your child when they are hurt, or putting them on your shoulders when they want to go with you. You’re the man when you let them splash in the bathtub a little more than they should.

I’m glad this redditor found his way back to that. To understand that strength and a good life come from turning anger and resentment into love and commitment. And one day, his child is going to see him as the real man.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

Millennial Parenting and Religious Behaviors/Weight Update

Today begins a two-parter, and final breakdown, of the Pew Research Center’s survey on millennials. We turn to millennials and religious behaviors and how, ultimately, it will affect millennial parenting.

Religion is perhaps the largest gap between millennials and older generations. Millennials are, by far, less religious at their current age than Boomers and Silent/Greatest generations were.

One in four millennials are unaffiliated with any faith, more than Gen X (20%) and Boomers (13%). Additionally, millennials attend religious services less often and view religion as less important in their lives. But, it is interesting to note that millennials’ views on life after death, miracles, heaven and hell, and God’s existence resemble very much the attitudes of older generations.

68% of millennials consider themselves Christian (43% Protestant and 22% Catholic). That compares to 76% for Gen X, and around 80% for Boomers. But, millennials are really no more likely to be agnostic or atheist than Gen Xers or Boomers. The biggest discrepancy comes from young adults who left their religious upbringing without becoming involved in a new faith.

One-third of millennials say they attend church at least once a week, compared with 41% of those over 30. Those most likely to attend church were Evangelical Protestants (58%) and Historically Black Protestants (59%).

In regards to other religious practices, millennials are less likely to read religious scripture (27% to 36%), meditate on a weekly basis (26% to 43%), and pray every day (48% to 56%). But, these results do not differ much from when Gen X and Boomers were the age of today’s millennials. Data tends to show that daily prayer increases as people get older. In addition, millennials are very much in-line with older generations when it comes to the existence of God, miracles, heaven and hell, and life after death.

I think it’s not hard to show that, well, millennials are less religious right now than their generational counterparts. But, millennials are not less likely to believe in God or a higher power. It rather seems like millennials just tend to do less in practicing religion.

The biggest question surrounding these results is, as millennials grow older, will religious practices increase? Examining the data, it seems like millennials are just as firm in their beliefs as older generations, but less likely to be affiliated with any particular religion.

This is not a recent phenomenon. From my interactions with fellow millennials, we are less likely to approve of “someone or something trying to control our lives”. Religious affiliation tends to be thought of by millennials as that. By and large, it seems as if many millennials prefer to take on a personal relationship with God, rather than using a church or religious organization to help facilitate that. I actually left my original faith (American Baptist), became non-denominational for a while, and am now in the process of joining my wife and son’s faith (Catholicism). Having a kid actually very much changed my views on religiosity. I wanted my son to grow up in a faith, so I started going to church again. And since I wanted my son to be raised Catholic, I also decided to join the church.

It will be interesting to see if similar occurrences take place with millennials, as there is no breakdown right now in religious affiliation between millennials with children and those without.

Churchgoing is very much a trait that is handed down through parenting. That is, if your parents go to church, you probably also go to church, at least for the bulk of your childhood. If millennials do not go to church at the rate at which their predecessors did, it’s less likely our children will attend church as they grow older.

With such a small blip of millennials having children, it’s very hard to tell what is in store for religious affiliation among millennials. Will millennial parents continue/go back to church when they have a child, or will they continue to not go to church? The answer to this question will have a very, very heavy impact on the future of religious affiliation in our country.

Tomorrow, I will break down the final portion of the Pew Research Center’s survey: Religious Beliefs. You’ll definitely want to stay tuned for that one, because it could have a profound impact on how issues in our churches today may change forever.

As an aside, Parker had his weight check today, and grew a full pound this past month, keeping on his percentile curve (finally!). It looks like our little guy is just destined to be a string bean! The pediatrician was very pleased and so are we!

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.

Millennnial Parenting & Political Party Identification

It’s not unknown that millennials had a big stake in the 2008 presidential election. They overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama (66%), which was the largest disparity between younger and older votes in four decades of modern exit polling.

Millennials also showed up to the polls, creating the smallest turnout gap between younger and older voters since 1972. Leading up to the 2008 election, millennials were solidly in the Democratic Party’s camp, and by the time the election rolled around, 62% of millennials were affiliated Democrats.

Since Obama’s election, that gap has shrunk, with only 54% of millennials identifying as Democrats and 40% as Republicans. As with older voters, Obama’s job approval has also drastically declined, from 73% at the time of the inauguration to 57% now. Perhaps due to Obama’s promised ‘change’ in Washington fledgling a year into his administration. Only 46% of millennials believe that Washington has changed since Obama took office.

Examining the Pew results, millennials have become critical in Obama’s handling of several issues, most notably the war in Afghanistan, with millennials the only age group that disapproved more than approved Obama’s handling of the war.

These results aren’t terribly surprising, even historically. Both the Boomers and Silent Generation, when the age of today’s millennials, leaned Democratic, a phenomenon that is not uncommon in political science; that the populace tends to become more conservative or Republican as they advance in age.

But what, if any, effects will this have on parenting? Millennials are largely the children of Baby Boomers. Yet Millennials are much more Democratic-leaning than their parents. A lot of this could have to do with education, as college campuses tend to be a much more liberal environment, and with millennials attending college at record paces, it would only make sense that spending the most formative years of your life in a liberal atmosphere would, in turn, make you more liberal or Democratic-leaning.

But already, we are starting to see a shift in party identification, showing that millennials are not immune to overall public opinion. Their approval of Obama and identification as Democrat is following a very similar curve to their generational predecessors. For millennials, 2008 was the first time the majority of us were old enough to vote, and Obama, even though his job approval has fallen considerably among millennials, his personal appeal has not. Obama, a younger man, an African-American, with his platform of Hope and Change captured the minds of many a millennial, and what we are seeing now could just be the natural disillusionment that comes with the presidency.

However, much of what the results show for party identification and Obama’s approval among millennials has not affected political values. Tomorrow I will discuss the final results of the Politics & Idealogy section and how those results may change party politics as we know it.

Millennial Parenting and Family Values

Perhaps one of the most important sections of the survey—one that will likely have a direct effect on the nation’s future social policies—came in the results on millennial views on family values.

On the whole, millennials, simply, are more tolerant than other generations in what the Pew Research Center called ‘nontraditional behaviors related to marriage and parenting’.

Millennials are the only generation to favor the legalization of gay marriage, and tend to fall more in line with Generation Xers than Baby Boomers or the Silent Generation. In regards to trends in marriage, millennials are least likely to believe that gay couples raising children, working mothers, people living together before marriage, and interracial marriages are a ‘bad thing for society’.

In looking for the reasons why millennials trend this way, Pew took a look at millennials growing up. Of the four major generations, Generation Y responded that 62% of their parents were married while growing up, compared to 71% of Gen Xers, 85% of Boomers, and 87% of Silents. A full quarter of millennials grew up with divorced parents, and another 11% said their parents were never married.

In regards to gay marriage, specifically, only 36% of millennials oppose legalization of gay marriage, bringing them a little more in line with Gen Xers, but creating a wide gap between them and their parents (Boomers oppose gay marriage by a ratio of nearly two-to-one).

Much of the gay marriage debate comes down to who we know. Not surprisingly, those who have a close family member or friend who is gay are also more likely to support gay marriage. For those under 30 that have a gay friend or family member, less than a quarter oppose marriage equality. And millennials are also more likely to have a close friend or family member that is gay (54%), compared to 46% of Gen X, 44% of Baby Boomers, and 26% of the Silent Generation.

As with most issues, thoughts on gay marriage split among demographics, with women more supportive than men, Democrats and Independents more supportive than Republicans, etc. (the topic of political activism will come later), but nonetheless, millennials, by and large, see quite a large gap between them and other generations on the topic of family values.

How could these survey results impact millennial parenting?

The topic of single/two-parent households is muddied. On one hand, one could make the argument that divorce/single-parent households is a normal outcome of a marriage or parenting for millennials, and therefore, millennials are more likely to get divorced themselves or never marry their child’s other parent. But one could also say that millennials did not approve of their parents’ divorce/single-parenthood and will try harder to make marriages work and therefore be less likely to divorce.

Millennials, on average, are getting married later than those in other generations. Research has shown that those married at a young age (generally before 25), are more likely to experience a divorce, especially in the first five years of marriage. Perhaps with millennials waiting to get married, marriages will consist of more mature, responsible spouses and therefore a higher rate of successful marriages. Or, perhaps millennials will be less likely to get married and we will see more single-parent households. The data is, well, forthcoming.

The topic of gay marriage is one that I’ve blogged about a few times (here). My wife and I will talk to Parker about this issue; that not only can marriage exist between a man and woman but it should also be allowed to exist between two men or two women. And it would appear that the majority of our millennial counterparts feel the same way.

If you go back to Political Science 101, you will see that values are most often passed to someone through two structures: family and peers. That is, introduction to certain values and very often, opinions on values, will shape to the opinions around. If your parents and friends support gay marriage, you will probably be more likely to.

I know growing up, I wasn’t entirely supportive of gay marriage, mostly because I grew up in an evangelical area of the country where homosexuality was looked down upon or not even talked about. I didn’t know any openly gay people in school, so I really had no reason to even care.

But I came to college, entered a culture where gays could be open, and became friends with them. I explored an environment that had multiple views on major issues (I can’t recall much debate in my hometown over any political issue, really). During this time, I determined that I supported gay marriage, and married someone else that did, too.

To us, marriage is a family value, and that includes same-sex unions. It absolutely is a value we plan to pass to Parker. If you think about it, millennials grew up during a time when same-sex relationships were not widely accepted, but still ended up widely supporting gay marriage when they became older. If millennials can raise their children in environments that are accepting of gays, there is no reason to think we can’t have marriage equality in this country. And with that comes a whole host of secondary benefits, such as more acceptance of gays in our schools and less bullying due to sexual orientation.

Some have made the argument that as people get older, their views on many issues tend to change, so gay marriage may be something millennials widely support now, but may not in 10 years. I doubt it, because while peoples’ views may change on certain subjects, it tends to do more with issues that affect the wallet and less about social subjects. In any case, I hope this is an issue that millennials are preparing to discuss with their children, either way. Even if some millennial parents don’t support same-sex marriage or relationships, I hope at the very least, homosexuality is discussed and children are told not to treat their gay friends and peers any differently because of their orientation.

I may be taking a break for the weekend on blogging due to work and travel commitments, but I plan to post again tomorrow or Monday on the next topic, Politics & Idealogy.

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!