How to Relate to Your Millennial Children

If you’re the parent of a Millennial, you face a greater communication challenge than your parents may have with you. While there’s always an uncomfortable divide between each generation and the next, the gap between previous generations and Millennials is a chasm. The explosion of the internet, first felt by Generation X, has completely changed the way we live and relate to the world at large—we’re now more connected than ever through the power of always-on broadband connections and ubiquitous social media. This is the environment in which Millennials have grown, and it has given this group a unique set of traits.

It seems like everybody loves to hate on Millennials. They’re called anything from narcissists to snowflakes to entitled brats by the media, their bosses, and yes—sometimes by their own parents. But these labels, for the most part, come from a place of deep misunderstanding. If you’re interesting in learning how to relate to your Millennial children, here are the essentials to understanding the mindset of their generation.

They’re Idealistic

If there’s anything that defines the Millennial generation, it’s their enduring idealism. While some might find this attitude unrealistic, out-of-touch, or naive, it’s anything but. Because Millennials are so deeply connected to global events, they know how bad things are, and their brand of optimism is tinged with realism, street smarts, and practicality.

Because of their idealism, Millennials believe that the world can be changed for the better. They’re kind, and they expect that same kindness of others. They don’t tolerate, for example, fear-based management styles at work, or unkindness toward those who break cultural norms in their social circles.

You might be tempted to label a Millennial as weak when they express discomfort at someone’s unkind words or deeds, but make no mistake—this isn’t weakness. They know how the real world works, but they also want to change it.

For Millennials, their strength comes in the form of unrelenting idealism, and the belief that the world can be changed through social reform. If you keep this in mind as you try to connect with your Millennial children, you’ll have a much better understanding of why they act as they do.


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