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Life Style Study on Millennial Vs. Boomer Dads

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In the world of marketing, the demographic getting the most attention (and advertising dollars!) is the Millennial Generation – those born between 1977 and 1994. Their attitudes, opinions and behaviors have been studied and scrutinized because of the profound impact they have on our culture as they shape and influence trends. With Father’s Day approaching, the DDB Life Style Study® compares Millennial Dads to Boomer Dads (those fathers born between 1946 and 1964) and examines how they view their roles as fathers, their attitudes towards their children, and even how they think about themselves.

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Millennial Dads and Boomer Dads both derive a great deal of satisfaction from being a dad. More than 80% of Millennial and Boomer Dads agree, “Raising a child brings me a lot of happiness.” Both groups are strongly focused on their families and the experiences they share, with 75% of them agreeing, “I focus on my family more than on myself,” and “I look for ways to create lasting memories with my family.”

However, there are some integral differences between these two groups, suggesting that many Millennial Dads are struggling with the challenges of fatherhood, and have not entirely outgrown the characteristics of youth, including naiveté, defiance, and a desire to be cared for themselves. Millennial Dads express feeling the acute pressure of their responsibilities, with 55% saying, “I feel like I am under a great deal of pressure most of the time,” and nearly 50% feeling like people are always judging them. A surprising 20% of Millennial Dads admit to feeling, “I find parenthood a real burden,” and 36% concede, “If I had to stay home with my kids day after day I would lose my mind.”

Despite their status as parents, Millennial Dads are not done rebelling and are more than twice as likely as Boomer Dads to agree with statements like, “I have a tendency to engage in self-destructive behavior,” “I like to shock others,” and “I would find a decadent life of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll appealing.” Perhaps because they have not entirely adapted to their new role as parents, Millennial Dads still exhibit a strong desire to be the center of attention. They are significantly more likely than Boomer Dads to agree with statements like, “I think I’m special and deserve to be treated that way,” are twice as likely to say, “On my birthday I expect to be treated like a king,” and are three times as likely to say, “I deserve to be famous,” “I believe I’ll be famous one day,” and “I would allow TV cameras to follow me around 24/7 if it meant I’d be on a TV show.”

It appears that Millennial Dads have not entirely embraced their roles as the ‘adult in charge,’ and are struggling a bit because they don’t want to lose themselves amidst their parenting responsibilities. In fact, 55% of Millennial Dads say, “I think of myself as a parent first and a husband second,” and 25% of Millennials feel, “I’ve lost my identity because I’m a dad.”

As the country celebrates Father’s Day, the traditions that have been observed from one generation to the next will likely be prevalent. But with this millennial generation of dads, it seems clear that an old adage could be updated: “Get married, have kids, don’t settle down, yet.”

Check out the coverage in Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larissafaw/2012/06/14/millennial-dads-why-must-we-make-sacrifices-for-our-kids/

Elena Weinstein DDB Worldwide Communications Associate

Posted June 15, 2012 at 2:10pm

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