Dear Jack (2 years old),
You are the product of two Millennial (or Generation Y) parents.
Both Mommy and I were born a few months apart in 1981, the year that began our generation. The way we will parent you will be different as compared to how it would have been if we were part of the generation that ended just a few months before we were born; Generation X was born roughly between 1964 to 1980.
As the sort of first-born of my generation, I am constantly trying to figure out what makes us different from previous generations. After all, people say that Millennials were the first children notto rebel against their parents. That’s pretty weird…
An article published about a year ago in The New York Times referenced your parents’ generation as the “post-emotion generation… no anger, no edge, no ego.”
On the surface, it may appear that we are sheltered, narcissistic, jaded by the polar extremes of American politics, motivated by recognition more than money, obsessed with green living, and easily inspired by social justice issues.
I’ll be honest- it wouldn’t be a stretch for someone to describe me in any of those ways. Actually, I wonder how else I appear as a stereotype to other generations of parents.
In fact, I’m so curious about the traits of my generation, especially as they relate to being parents, I have decided to pinpoint 5 token traits of Generation Y parents:
1. They give their own kids either extremely classic or extremely original names. For every Jack there is now a Brody and for every Sarah there is now a Hadley. Millennial parents tend not to name their kids the popular names of their own generation, like Chris and Matt for boys, and Amanda and Jennifer for girls.
2. They want their kids to be, or at least seem, unique. That’s part of the explanation for some of the bizarre baby names popping up these days. Millennials were raised to believe they were special; evidently more special than every other child of The Eighties who was told that. Now, Generation Y parents subconsciously still wish this extra dose of uniqueness on their own kids.
3. Millennial parents are overly self-aware of their parenting style. Everybody’s watching, all the time, thanks the social media outlets and blogs we plug into on a daily basis. We make sure no one can ever question if we’re involved enough in our kids’ lives. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? To spank or not to spank? To helicopter parent or not to helicopter parent? Those are the questions.
4. Facebook replaces the necessary phone call update and proud wallet pictures of our kids. There’s no real need for us as parents to pick up the phone and update our friends and family on what our kids are doing, nor is there reason those people should be desperately curious to see new pictures of our kids: There’s a constantly updated flow of that on Facebook every day.
5. They are really into what their kids eat. Back in the 1980s, processed food was king. Now, the awareness of disease, cancer, and obesity has caused parents to actually question what “natural and artificial flavor” means. Trust me on this, you don’t want to know. There’s a reason food companies keep those ingredients a mystery.
So there you have it, son. Hopefully I’ve taught you a thing or two about why your parents and your friends’ parents are so quirky…I mean, “special and unique.”
.....Ophelia Grace...............Mira Lorne...............Jude Bennett.........Liam Daniel Baines.