When we think about Millennials, the first things that come to mind are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – social media in general – selfies, celebrity gossip, unemployment, student loan debt…and so much more. What probably does not come to mind right off the bat is parenthood. However, Millennials are quickly becoming the largest generation in the United States and one in four of those Millennials are already parents.

What does this mean for you? The most influential generation to date is undergoing a significant life change that will affect their buying patterns, behaviors, and attitudes forever. If there is one thing to keep in mind, it’s that these parents are anything but traditional.

How are Millennial parents changing the roles of mom and dad?
Mr. and Mrs. Millennial parent are tech savvy, digitally dependent, pragmatic, and family-oriented. They want what is best for their family but are still invested in their own social circles and are always on the lookout for experiences that they can share with the people they love most. Brands that connect with them on a personal level and recognize that the traditional roles of mom and dad are no longer the norm will win big.

1. Putting down the playbook and picking up the poms poms
In the days of Ward and June Cleaver, parents were seen as the coach. They were the disciplinarians who had ultimate rule and determined the law of the land. Today, we are seeing a shift towards a Modern Family style of parenting where children are much more involved in the decision-making process and parents are taking on a more supportive role rather than an ultimate leadership role. According to research from the Family Room, 60 percent of Millennial parents agree that their children are their best friends. While Boomers still had a close relationship with their children, the majority would not consider themselves to be BFFs with their kids.

2. Share the responsibility, share the fun
Parenthood is a partnership. Millennials especially embrace this mentality and are creating a more equal environment when it comes to responsibilities in the home. Today, 60 percent of dads with a kid over the age of 13 feel that they are teammates with their significant others. Gone are the days of dad as breadwinner and mom as homemaker.

3. Millennial parents are still Millennials and will use their “Millennial-ness” to raise their kids
Despite all the talk about how parenthood is life-changing, Millennial parents are still Millennials changing family dynamicsand are without a doubt the largest consumers of digital, social, and mobile technologies than any other generation. The key, however, is how they are using that digital savviness to raise their kids. Among Millennial parents, 85 percent of time spent online is on their mobile phones. Additionally, Millennial parents are buying digital devices, computers, TVs, phones and other electronics based on quality – not price – meaning they are putting a greater priority on connected devices. When it comes to engaging their kids in their connected lifestyle, 73 percent of Millennials said they intended to or have already bought apps for children on their phones or iPads. This is fueling an even younger generation of connected consumers who will give brands a run for their money when they become more able to make their own purchase decisions.

The Millennial influence is not one to take lightly. Especially as Millennials are entering parenthood, a time when major mindset shifts take place, their influence becomes two-fold because their buying behaviors and attitudes will be passed down to their children. Brands that speak to Millennial parents the same way they would target parents from previous generations will sorely miss the mark. However, aligning with a new generation of moms and dads that embrace their social networks and an inclusive mindset will receive positive brand love and loyalty among Millennial parents.

For more information about the content landscape, be sure to check out my new book Millennials with Kids, which will be released this August!

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