Every generation of parents have a new set of worries when it comes to their kids. If you were a parent in the '60s, you probably worried about your child being sent to Vietnam, that they might get hurt during a demonstration, or about potential nuclear threats. During the '80s, you were probably concerned about the effects of video game systems and MTV on your impressionable child’s mind. So rest assure, there are plenty of weird things all millennial moms worry about, too. Regardless of the decade, all parents have one thing in common: a constant, palpable feeling of impending doom.
Of course, the concerns of millennials differ from those of previous generations and in a number of ways. For one thing, we’ve never lived in a society that’s this technologically advanced. While our tech is wonderful and amazing and beneficial, it can also be dangerous or, at the very least, mysterious in its lasting effects. Then there are concerns that are of a more political and financial nature, both of which are often intertwined. Our environment has also never faced so many challenges, which is a concern to most parents who are hoping their children will, you know, have a healthy planet to live on.
Then again, many of the concerns we have now are just variations on the same concerns parents have always had. "Does my child stay up too late with their tablet?" translates to the more universal, "Does my child get enough sleep?" And all parents wonder about what their kid is doing at a friend’s house, or out late at night, no matter what’s happening in the world. However, if you want to get down to the specifics of millennial parenting and what us moms of today are worried about, read on.
"Should I Care About Keeping GMOs Out Of My Child, Or Nah?"
Many parents are torn on the debate about GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, in foods. Some parents feel that consuming GMOs can be harmful to humans as well as the environment. Other parents don’t see what the big deal is, or don’t believe it’s as harmful as some believe. Still, it’s a debate that many of us struggle with as we shop for our children’s food.
"Are Those Other Kids Vaccinated?"
Vaccines have by and large helped our society eradicate some seriously unpleasant diseases. However, some question the safety of following the vaccination schedule recommended by doctors nationwide. Thanks to erroneous reports regarding vaccines, like the debunked idea that they cause autism, diseases like mumps and measles have made somewhat of a comeback. It makes many parents question whether or not the kids around their own child are vaccinated, because none of us want our babies sick.
"Do My Child’s Friend’s Parents Own Any Guns?"
Statistics show that seven children under the age of 19 are killed every single day by gun violence. In 2017 alone, 40 children have suffered due to unintentional shootings, by either themselves or other kids under the age of 17. Why are these kids getting shot? How are they getting a hold of guns? Many millennial parents worry about guns, gun safety, and how other gun-owning parents secure their weapons in their homes.
"How Much Screen Time Is Too Much Screen Time, Really?"
Most millennials worry, to some extent, about how much screen time their kids get. Because many of us are often overworked, we tend to rely on television and tablets and other devices to keep our kids entertained and out of our hair when childcare is lacking (or nonexistent, because it's damn expensive). While too much screen time can’t be good, if you’re making sure your kids are at least watching or interacting with something educational, chances are it’s not that bad.
"Will My Kid Ever Understand What It’s Like To Actually Need Patience?"
On a related note, our kids are living in an era of instant gratification and so-called entitlement. Want to watch your favorite cartoon? Just pull it up on Netflix. Can’t remember the name of that book your teacher recommended? Enter some keywords and run a Google search. Lots of millennial parents are looking for ways to instill patience in their otherwise demanding kids.
"How Harmful Will Social Media Be For My Child?"
Social media is definitely a major issue for millennial parents. Should we be sharing photos of our children, or can that cause them to become targets for pedophiles and others who may want to harm them? Should we allow our young children to have social media accounts? How do we monitor their actions? Many of us worry because we grew up in the era of the now-infamous AOL and Yahoo chat rooms — the wild west of the internet back in the late 90s and early aughts — and we remember the kind of stuff that went on in there. Unfortunately.
"Is My Kid’s Name Too 'Normal?'"
Not the most pressing matter, but it seems like millennials are choosing more and more non-traditional names for their kids. Seriously, I’m pretty sure my son is one of the few kids in his preschool class with a totally “normal” and potentially “boring” name. In a world of Aryas and Colbys, naming your child can be a pretty stressful endeavor.
"Will My Kids Be Able To Afford College Someday?"
A more pressing matter for many millennial parents (not born with trust funds or million dollar loans from their fathers) is their ability to help send their children to college someday. As it currently stands, many millennials aren’t really seeing the point of attending a four year university, unless they plan to ender a high-demand field. Going to college to be a doctor or lawyer makes sense, but it’s hard to see the point when you’re over $100,000 in debt working at a bookstore with a degree in Latin American studies or sociology (I know, I majored in anthropology).
Then again, we want our kids to be able to enjoy all that college offers. We just have no idea how on earth they’ll manage to afford it.
"Is My Child Going To Be OK If Confronted By A Cop?"
This is a major cause for concern for millennial parents of children of color. While white families might not be worried about their child being stopped and frisked or shot because they were playing with a toy gun, families of color are constantly fearing all of the above. Many take it upon themselves to try and teach their children how to essentially “stay alive” during such encounters, but even that doesn’t always help.
"Will My Kids Always Have Health Insurance Coverage?"
As someone who has used medicaid and also been uninsured multiple times throughout my son’s life, I am forever terrified that my son will need medical care and will be unable to afford it due to lack of coverage. At a time when the ACA is on the verge of being taken away, it is especially worrisome to many millennial moms.
"What Kind Of Environment Will Be Left For My Kids Once They’re Older?"
Climate change is real and it is happening at alarming rates. Millennial parents are terrified of what will happen to our planet over the course of our children’s lives. Even if it’s not catastrophic just yet, what about our grandkids? Or their grandkids?
"Is My Child Being Bullied Or Bullying Others?"
Bullying remains a serious problem in schools and, thanks to social media, online. Some children are bullied so much they get sick, while others get sick and tired and take matters into their own hands by killing themselves or their attackers. Millennial parents have to worry about bullying and they have to make sure to educate their children on why it's never OK.
"Will My Kids Ever Appreciate Old Technology?"
The new generation of little ones have no idea what it means to be low-tech. They don’t have to blow on their video games. They don’t have to worry about their tapes winding up wrong and getting destroyed. They don’t have to worry about their DVDs scratching (because everyone uses a streaming service these days). It’s not a huge deal, but millennials are incredibly nostalgic and some of us wonder if our kids will ever learn to love records the way we used to.