In an era marked by social awareness and a desire for progress, young British parents (those falling into Gen Z and Gen Y) are using their personal experiences of the modern world to redefine traditional parenting norms and values. With three key shifts in their approach to parenting compared to previous generations:
One of the fundamental shifts in parenting approaches is the emphasis on embracing open mindedness. Young parents not only want their children to appreciate and respect diversity in other people, but also to be as true to themselves as possible no matter how much it deviates from the status quo (whether this be through sexuality, career plans or the lifestyle they desire). With single parent families making up 15% of all families in the UK in 2021 and same-sex couples accounting for 1 in 6 of all adoptions in 2020, Gen Z and Gen Y couples are taking on more modern approaches to parenting shaped by their own family set-ups that fall outside of what was considered a ‘traditional’ family set up.
In an age of misinformation and distrust to authoritative figures, parents are also encouraging critical thinking and courage to challenge those in positions of power and authority. Described as ‘healthy cynism’, Gen Z’s and Gen Y’s own personal experience of recent multi-crises in the news see them wanting to strike a balance between more traditional parental values such as kindness and empathy, with self-determination and the ability to be opinionated about the world around them. Things such as online safety controls, parental guidance and curated media consumption have thus played an even more crucial role for families, especially in navigating potentially toxic online environments.
Gentle parenting and emotional intelligence
With mental health becoming one of the biggest topics talked about over recent years, Gen Y and Z parents are now prioritising their children’s emotional intelligence, understanding and expression. With buzzwords such as ‘gentle parenting’ trending on platforms such as TikTok, modern families aim to promote more open conversations about feelings, helping their children navigate and manage emotions like anger and irritability, which would have otherwise been classed as misbehaviour or naughtiness in more traditional approaches.
Named as ‘the most miserable’ generation, Gen Z’s and Y’s have grown up in a world of economic instability and emphasis on social injustice. With a greater sense of distrust towards those in power, young Brits have a resolve for paving the way for a more progressive Britain – an agenda that starts in their own home. From true representation of modern family make-ups in communications, to helping parents bring mindfulness and mental health to children in a playful way – brands would benefit from showing their alliance and a thorough understanding of young families’ evolving familial values that shape the decisions they make in the future.