What Does Modern Parenting Look Like? 23 Millennials Share Their Rules

We’re millennials, of course we don’t make our kids hug anyone they don’t want to. Or spank them as a disciplinary action. Or make them finish their dinner before having dessert. Because parenting the way our parents may have is exactly what is not in for 2024 — at least for the group of people between the ages of 28-43 who have children.

Millennials are bringing a new wave of modern parenting, something that many argue is for the better. And while every generation of parents comes with certain rules and certain expectations aligned with the times people were living in, gentle parenting is making quite the statement with millennials (along with a few other parenting styles).

So what does parenting actually look like today? What kind of rules are millennial parents enforcing, or actually not implementing at all? How does it differ from the way millennials were raised themselves? Below, 23 millennial parents share their parenting rules and tips.

Here’s What Millennial Parenting Looks Like

My daughter, who is 2, sleeps in our room, and she will until she doesn’t want to anymore. I hated sleeping by myself as a kid, and as an adult, I still don’t sleep alone. I never want her to feel alone in her own house.” — Allie

My biggest thing is apologizing to my kids when I have my own ‘big feelings.’ I was raised tiptoeing around adults’ feelings, and when they would blow up, I always felt like it was my job to apologize to them or do them favors or be extra sweet until they felt better. Now, I make sure to apologize to my kids when I lose my shit and explain that being a grown-up can be hard.” — Christina

I answer all their ‘whys’ so they understand my perspective.” — Rachel

I respect when my daughter says ‘no’ or indicates she doesn’t want to do something. If I tickle her while we’re playing and she says ‘no,’ I stop.” — Hannah*

I’m totally OK with my kids taking mental health days off from school. Neither of them struggles with grades, so if they feel like staying home occasionally, I’m all for it.” — Kristen

We don’t spank our kids. We may smack a hand or two in the heat of the moment, but never anything more than that. My mom was a spanking mom when I was a child, so it’s something I feel really strongly about.” — Lauren*

We don’t comment on food.” — Savanna

We don’t make our kids eat everything on their plate in one sitting. If they don’t finish their food, they put it in the fridge. When they ask for a snack, they eat whatever’s left on their plate before getting something new.” — Desirae

We let my daughter see us fight but also let her see us repair after a fight.” — Erin

“I make sure to apologize to my kids when I lose my shit and explain that being a grown-up can be hard.”

Our screen-time rules are two hours of screen time per day. But also, no chatting with anyone on their computer games. If they want to chat, they can communicate with their preapproved friends on FB Messenger Kids.” — Jamie

“My daughter loves ballet but hates recitals, so no forced performances. I would’ve been forced to get on stage. She sat with us in the audience and happily cheered her sister and friends on at their recital. If she learns that you can love something without needing to produce a product, I’ll be thrilled.” — Emily

We don’t idolize dessert. It’s not something she earns, sweets are given to her the same way every other type of food is. Food in general is not a reward.” — Kim

We don’t talk about bodies except for what they can do and how they work. Never what they look like or what someone else looks like.” — Katherine

“My son is only 3 and my daughter only 8 months old, but I don’t talk negatively about my body in front of them,” — Ashley*

I never hold a grudge or use the silent treatment. We talk about emotions and work through them.” — Jamie

We definitely don’t make them hug or show physical affection to anyone they don’t want to. However, they still have to wave or say goodbye/hello in some way of their choosing.” — Rosalind

Almost no sleepovers, excluding some family and one or two friends who I consider family. I’ll pick them up at midnight before they sleep over.” — Lacey

“Regarding technology, my children do not have their own tablet. They aren’t allowed to be on any of our phones or on a tablet at the dinner table or at restaurants.” — Madi*

“I wasn’t allowed to stand up to my parents or say when something was bothering me or hurting my feelings. One of my proudest accomplishments is that my daughter is comfortable enough to tell me exactly how she’s feeling or if I’ve hurt her feelings. Her being able to express her emotions openly is so nice for all of us.” — Stacy

My son is allowed to be something other than happy. Growing up, if we had any feelings other than happy, we were told to fix our attitude. I tell my son he can feel his feelings.” — Amanda

We don’t force our kids to share their toys if they don’t want to, but we also tell them that others might not want to share with them sometimes, and that’s OK.” — Erin

“My kids are 13, 11, and 8. My boys are expected to do all the same home-care tasks as my daughter. They will leave my house knowing how to maintain the inside of the house and the mental load just as well as how to mow the lawn. Sports are also not gendered; they do what they’re interested in, whether that’s dance, gymnastics, hockey, etc.” — Katy

We don’t do solo timeouts. If our 3-year-old isn’t listening, we give her three warnings. And after the third time, we remove ourselves from the situation with her, sit down somewhere quiet, take some deep breaths, identify the emotion causing the behavior, and then talk through why the behavior wasn’t OK and how to communicate that emotion in a healthy way that is respectful to herself and those around her.” — Tifani

An asterisk (*) indicates the name has been changed.