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Millennials have been helicoptered and over-scheduled. How will they parent their kids?

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Stephan Hochhaus, Flickr Creative Commons

Millennials have been helicoptered and over-scheduled. How might these factors affect how they parent their own children?

In this day and age where every joyous moment of life must be shared with the public via the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, some couples are now going to extraordinary lengths to tell the world they're expecting.

Parents today, it seems, are taking the whole parenting game up a level. That's one of the takeaways of a recent piece in TIME titled "Help! My Parents are Millennials!"

Katy Steinmetz, San Francisco bureau chief for TIME, joined Take Two to talk about what sets the millennial parenting style apart.


Who are we talking about when we say "millennials"?

Generations are always squidgy things in terms of a start and a stop date. For a long time, we've been looking at them in 20 year spans, and so the easiest dates for millennials are born around 1980 to 2000. But there's some economists that will argue that the millennial generation, or this cohort, starts as far back as '76 and goes as late as 2003 or 2004. And there are others who argue that because generations historically have been defined so much by how technology has changed, and because technology is changing so much faster, that we should in fact look at the millennial generation as one cohort born in the 80s and a totally separate one born in the 90s. But to be inclusive, for our piece, we interviewed parents who were born in the very late 70s to the 90s.

How many millennial parents are there?

At this point, we know that millennials represent more than a quarter of the population in America, that's more than 80 million people. And at least 22 million of them, that's about a quarter, are parents.

What stood out to you from the millennial parents you spoke with?

One thing that I heard again and again was 'What works for my family might not be what works for your family.' It's very much this open-minded, tolerant idea about parenting that comes, I think in part, because millennials more than other generations have fewer ideas about what a family has to look like. This is not "Father Knows Best," 2.5 kids kind of generation. This is blended families, this is single moms, this is single dads by choice, this is stay at home dads. There is a huge movement to say, "OK we're open to anything." And then you give them the Internet, which has unprecedented levels of information and opinions and experts on it, and so that can make for a very overwhelming dynamic.

Where do you see this going in the future?

This generation of kids growing up now is going to be the most ethnically diverse generation we've ever had. They will have, I believe, even fewer expectations about the role that the mom or dad has to play, and so I think inevitably they're going to carry with them this millennial spirit of being a little more liberal probably, open-minded, tolerant, seeing self-expression and having a unique identity as the highest possible values.

To hear the full interview, click the blue player above.

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