Parenting the Millennial Generation: Guiding Our Children Born between 1982 and 2000

Parenting the Millennial Generation: Guiding Our Children Born between 1982 and 2000

Parenting the Millennial Generation: Guiding Our Children Born between 1982 and 2000

Parenting the Millennial Generation: Guiding Our Children Born between 1982 and 2000


They have strong values- faith, family, tolerance, intelligence, and altruism among them. But, contrary to what one might guess, these people are not America's sage elders. This is the Millennial Generation. Born between 1982 and 2000, the oldest among them today are entering their 20s or in their teen years. They aim to rebel against society by cleaning it up, returning to old-fashioned values and relationships. Author Verhaagen describes why, nonetheless, parents are feeling more anxious and frazzled than ever before, even as they are faced with the task of raising what some predict will be our next hero generation. Verhaagen explains how research shows adults can help keep these young people on a positive path, stoke their ideals, and help them be resilient when the inevitable mistakes and obstacles arise.

The Baby Boomers and older Gen Xers are parenting this new crew, aiming to ground them and instill great hope for the future. But Millennials face challenges greater than any generation faced before them. Many spend all or part of their childhood without a father in the home. Technology, including the Internet, is exposing them to adult material at increasingly young ages. They are subject to violent images that are more common than ever before in movies, television, and games. So parents still need to provide guidance. Verhaagen aims to help parents with research and advice, including how to teach determination, problem-solving, emotional smarts, and resilience. His text includes vignettes and his personal experience as a psychotherapist/father.


A mom sat across from me in my office, her brow knitted in concern for her son. He was a twelve-year-old kid who was failing school and looked likely to repeat the sixth grade. Worse still, he was completely defiant and belligerent at home. He refused to follow the simplest direction and would cuss her out at the slightest provocation. I agreed that things looked bad for her son, but I was optimistic there was a fighting chance of getting him back on track.

She asked me, [Do you see many kids like this?]

[I see kids like him every day,] I said. [That's my job.]

She looked puzzled for a moment; then she said, [What's wrong with kids today? Why do they act like this?]

I must admit that when all day long you see kids with problems it can give you the impression that today's youth is in a world of trouble. Many people have argued—some passionately so—that children and teens are worse than ever. We hear that they are ruder, more disrespectful, lazier, and even more violent than in the past. Other people have argued that it isn't the kids who have changed, but the entire culture that has shifted right under our feet. To them it seems we live in a different world than when we were kids. So which is it—different kids or a different world?

These questions have sent me on an exploration of the youth we are raising in today's culture. For more than a decade, I have interacted with this new generation. I want to understand them better, as I know you do. These are our kids, but they are very different from us and they've grown up in a different world. So here's the question: Does this generation of kids need a new approach to parenting? My answer is a decisive yes. This book will lay the groundwork for understanding these kids, their culture, and a parent's response to both.


A fascinating scene unfolds at a busy coffeehouse in the middle of town. It's a summer night, a nice breeze sweeping through the patio, some live jazz over in the courtyard. This is a good night to be out people-watching, I think to myself. There are some middle-aged folks chatting and one older couple reading together. A group of teenagers gathers out front. The boys . . .

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