New research finds that 74% of millennial parents practice gentle parenting

Gentle parenting has been widely adopted by millennial parents. Picture: File

Gentle parenting has been widely adopted by millennial parents. Picture: File

Published Feb 26, 2024


Over the decades, different parenting styles have emerged.

Some make use of verbal threats and forms of physical discipline when dealing with their children, but others prefer positive reinforcement and open communication over spanking and scolding.

These sentiments were validated by a recent study conducted by the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago in the US.

The health institution’s report found a whopping 74% of millennial parents practise gentle parenting.

Gentle parenting is all about gently guiding children through the decision-making process, instead of threatening or punishing them.

The same report found that despite gentle parenting receiving mixed reviews, 73% of the researcher’s millennial parent participants said that they believed that they were doing a better job at raising children compared to previous generations.

The millennial age demographic are those born from 1980 – 1995, a generation which reached adulthood in the early 21st century and have been shaped by the technological revolution.

And according to the research, nearly nine out of 10 millennial respondents said that their parenting style was different to how they were raised.

Their parents form part of the Baby Boomer and Gen X generations, who were parents of young children during a time when the world was somewhat different.

There wasn't as much technology at your fingertips, the globe’s financial conditions were different and educational opportunities were not as widely available.

Parenting in the digital era. Picture: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

And it appears that not everyone from previous generations agree with the concept of gentle parenting.

One in three of the millennial research respondents said that their family members questioned their parenting methods.

But the Lurie Children’s Hospital study found that the millennial cohort was more open to communication with their children.

The research also found that they placed a greater emphasis on emotional intelligence and more flexible parenting styles.

Another notable research finding was that 98% of millennial parents talk to their children about mental health, a condition that they widely prioritise.

In addition, 47% of the respondents said that they had a child with anxiety and 12% of them had a child who was receiving therapy.

And while access to information appears to benefit modern parenting styles, misinformation poses a significant challenge.

A quarter of millennial parents who were part of the research admitted to seeking parenting advice from social media influencers, with one in four failing to verify the accuracy of such information.

This phenomenon was something that the previous generations were unable to do, due to technological constraints.

But the research also points to the fact that when millennials were children, their Baby Boomer and Gen X parents were not inundated with the scale of information today’s parents have access to.

This meant that parents from previous cohorts did not have to contend with misinformation on the same level.

As society continues to evolve, the way children are raised is expected to continue to change.

Technology will continue to be one of the biggest drivers of this change as economic conditions and educational opportunities are also expected to evolve.