Millennial parents: gentle parenting gone wrong

A new generation of students struggle.
Latest complaints of 12-year-olds crowding Sephora, needing Subway Surfer videos to focus and iPad babies come from a new age of gentle parenting, but there are larger issues at hand. With the new age of social media, screen time for children under 18 is at an all-time high. A problem that follows the COVID-19 pandemic is behavioral and attention issues, which have been pressing problems in schools and have contributed to a high teacher turnover rate.
Gentle parenting is trending with new parents. The parenting technique leans towards a hands-off approach with little to no discipline or rules. This parenting style is particularly popular with Millennials, who currently range from the age of 27 to 42. When done wrong, children often have issues with authority and maintaining a routine while also having screen dependencies. This has created a larger problem in schools — a lack of motivated students who maintain respect for educators.
According to Education Resource Strategies, the teacher turnover rate, including those who left their teaching role or their district, has risen 3.8% after the pandemic ended to an overall 27.7%.
Lillian Dinkins, a former Tulsa Public Schools teacher, has said, “The issue expands beyond the school walls, as there often seems to be a lack of accountability both within the educational system and at home.” Educators have been fighting an uphill battle with a lack of support from their district and numerous issues inside their own classrooms. Dinkins continues, “Another concerning trend is the growing demand for instant gratification among students. Some expect answers to be handed to them without putting in the effort to learn and understand the material.” The need for instant gratification has skyrocketed with the latest phone applications and social media with no regulation.
Deborah Gist, former TPS superintendent and current senior advisor to The University of Tulsa President Brad Carson, touched on this issue. “I’ve been an educator for 35 years and have seen all different forms of parenting styles. It’s less about what kind of parenting, but more about whether children are getting parented at all and whether the parents are partners with their educators at schools.” A hands-off approach for children born in the 21st century can be dangerous as new social media has few regulations. Any child can scroll on social media for hours uninterrupted and be met with an unlimited amount of content. Skincare routines praising “Drunk Elephant” products for young adults are in the hands of 12-year-olds. Tik-Toks are regularly split screen with a Subway Surfers or Minecraft parkour video to allegedly help the viewer focus.
The repercussions of this phenomenon extend beyond the walls of home and into the educational system, contributing to a pressing problem in schools following COVID-19. The behavioral and attention issues resulting from a lack of routine and authority have led to a high teacher turnover rate, with educators facing a constant battle for support from both districts and parents. Being active and engaged with our youth as parents, educators, and mentors can help combat the age of technology. Mitigating these issues requires collaboration from all corners of society and an ongoing commitment to reviewing social media rules and regulations.

Post Author: Eva Patton