Catastrophe, C4 series
With two out of five households no longer fitting the traditional family mould, plus a sizeable backlash against 'perfect parenting', we explore how brands can recognise new opportunities and speak better to families of all shapes and sizes...
31 January, 2019
Despite some recent reinterpretations of parenthood in popular culture, there’s still a long way to go. Millennial mums aren’t seeing themselves reflected in the pastel tones and outdated, angelic representations of motherhood. Lower income, working or single parents are hardly featured. And LGBTQ parents are not only misrepresented, they’re pretty much absent. The Bad Moms films didn’t quite cut it.
What parents now want for their kids (and for themselves) has fundamentally changed. As the next generation of millennial parents continue to arrive and shake things up, the status quo of parenthood is shifting. Family values are being reinvented, big time.
So how do we speak to modern families in the right way?
We set out to explore these changing attitudes towards family life and parenthood. As two out of five households no longer fit the ‘traditional’ family mould, and a welcome backlash against ‘perfect parenting’ shows no signs of slowing down, we’ll show brands how to recognise new opportunities – and speak better to families of all shapes and sizes.
The milestones that have shaped modern families…
Contraceptive pill available in the UK
World’s first IVF baby is born
Netherlands becomes first country to legalise same-sex marriage
Gay couples can adopt children in the UK
‘Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids’ Act passed in the US
Toys “R” Us’ Stockholm superstore goes gender-neutral
Same-sex marriage legalised in England, Wales and Scotland
Shared parental leave introduced for men
30 hours free childcare launches across UK
Increase in older mothers (significant rise of over-40s giving birth)
So, where are we at? Well, 90 percent of all new parents are now millennials. And, with the number of millennial households having reached 16 million in the US alone (according to Pew Research), family-centric brands had better start taking note. Millennials reshaped how we think about work, leisure and the world around us – how will they redefine parenthood?
A modern family comes in all shapes and sizes. LGBTQ parents, empty-nesters, single parents, adults living with their parents, cohabiting couples with no kids (and a pet dog instead) – non-traditional families are growing. Stereotypical depictions simply won’t cut it anymore; what even is ‘family’ anyway?
Men are bouncing back from being ‘distant dads’ and female empowerment is driving women into increasingly diverse identities (not just ‘carers’ or ‘mums’). These fundamental gender shifts are major drivers for modern families. Working mums and involved dads, always-on screen time and always-present parents; the childhood experience is changing dramatically.
71 percent of parents now turn to the internet to help raise their children. Millennial parents are better informed than any other generation before them. Security, traffic, strangers, media concerns; it’s no wonder kids don’t play outside anymore. This, coupled with the fact parents now spend more time with their kids, makes for ever-optimised childhoods. From quality and mindful time, to creative and educational time – to fitting in as many life changing experiences before bedtime – millennial parents want it all.
The hunt for honesty and transparency that typify millennial consumers also extends into their parental purchasing habits. New sustainable business models have emerged, enabling them to buy consciously for their children. From recycled shoes, to never ending streams of ‘no-nasties’ food; raising daddy’s little eco warrior has never been so easy.
The endless sharing of family life online has opened up a backlash against images of perfection. A new wave of influencers embrace honest, realistic and relaxed approaches to parenting. It’s finally OK to be flawed. And it’s finally OK to keep your pre-parent identity – as the Mother Pukka blog celebrates: ‘For People Who Happen To Be Parents’.
Non-traditional family units are growing and stereotypical depictions of parenthood simply won’t cut it anymore; what even is ‘family’ anyway?
Guess what? Mums are funny, career-driven, bold, flawed, selfish and nurturing
Catastrophe, C4 series
Dads have evolved from hapless to hero, from doofus Dad to sensitive soul
Npower, ‘Super Powers’
Honest portrayals of real people, real situations and very real family chaos
TalkTalk, ‘This Stuff Matters’
Feel the force of the parent influencer, from warts-and-all parenthood, to aspirational family time
Becoming ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ doesn’t mean losing your hobbies, interests or style
Tiba & Marl
Here’s a quick toolkit on how to speak family in 2019 and beyond:
31 January, 2019