Commentary

Hey, Dude ... Happy Father's Day

In this space where we focus on millennial moms, it’s a good time to shine the spotlight on millennial dads on this Father’s Day weekend. After all, it’s good to remember that moms wouldn’t get the title without dads (or whatever term fits in today’s family dynamic). Marketers could find valuable opportunities with millennial dads, a young generation of men who are rewriting the script for what fathers look like and how families are shaped. Today’s dads are influential, involved and interested in new ways to approach parenting. Sound familiar? 

In recent research, I found three key points that are important to consider in what I will call marketing to families.

1. The role of dad has changed for millennial couples. Raised by Boomer and Gen X parents, millennial moms and dads were taught to believe they could achieve anything. For today's dads, this includes conquering the tasks of diapering a baby, laundry and cooking. The number of stay-at-home dads in the U.S. has tripled in the past 10 years, up to 154,000 in the most recent census. Some of the increase may be attributed to the 2007-08 recession, but faced with returning to work when the economy started to recover, many dads decided they liked staying home with the kids.

2. Millennial Dads parent differently than their fathers. Millennial Dads are much more involved in their children's lives and more active in sharing household responsibilities. Previous generations saw dad's role ranging from traditional breadwinner, financial planner and often the disciplinarian. Younger parents have an expectation that fathers will be more active in family life. Roles are often shared, even switched as one mom summarizes, "My husband is very involved, working opposite shifts so one of us can always be home with the kids. We each have our role. He does a.m. parenting while I do p.m. parenting. On weekends, everything is shared."

3. Today's dads value family time. In a 2015 parenting survey, an overwhelming majority of millennials agree with the statement, "Dads do more around the house and have no qualms about manning up to help with the children." An older millennial dad of two says, "My dad was a great guy; he tried to be at every major event ... but sometimes the work-life balance shifted more towards work. I always balance more toward family. I think there was more focus on the one with the most cash wins, where our generation values time over money."

It’s an interesting conversation to start with today’s dads about how they see their own fathers and what they want out of family life. It’s also an opportunity for marketers as millennial dads and moms continue to change the consumer landscape.

To dads in every generation, I wish you a Happy Father’s Day. Comment here or tweet me @momtalkradio with your thoughts about millennial dads.

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