Father's Day Gift for Millennial Dads: A Day Off?

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, June 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As millions of Americans contemplate the perfect gift to bestow on their dads this year, the best gift for Millennial dads might just be a day off. Not a day off from work – although many would probably appreciate that – but instead, a day off from the responsibilities of being a dad. Findings from the 2014 DDB Life Style Study indicate that Millennial dads, despite deriving great happiness from raising their children, actually struggle with the responsibilities of parenthood much more than Gen X and Boomer dads.

We compared attitudes and beliefs across a spectrum of Millennial, Gen X and Boomer dads who have kids age 19 or younger. While these three groups of fathers share some attitudes about parenting, what is readily apparent from this data is that Millennial dads feel the strain and concurrent loss of their individual identities most acutely. 

Forty one percent of Millennial dads concede they find parenthood a real burden. Only 25% of Gen X and 16% of Boomer dads feel this way. Additionally, 42% of Millennial dads say if they had to stay home with their kids day after day they would lose their minds, while only 18% of Boomer dads feel similarly. Twenty nine percent of Millennial dads admit they don't enjoy spending time with their kids.  More surprising, 35% of Millennial dads acknowledge they would rather spend time with their friends than their kids, whereas only 20% of Gen X and 12% of Boomer dads would make that choice.  It appears that Millennial dads are much less tolerant of children overall than their older counterparts, as 36% agree "there's nothing more unpleasant than other people's children" while only 21% of Gen X and 15% of Boomer dads admit to feeling similarly.

Part of the challenge for Millennial dads is coming to accept their parenting role. They worry, more than other generations of dads, about the subjugation of their individual identities relative to their parent status. Millennial dads are significantly more likely than Gen X and Boomer dads to indicate they feel like they've lost their identity because they are now dads (34% vs. 18% and 12%, respectively) and 39% worry that their wives no longer think of them as a lover and husband and instead just think of them as "dad." Ironically, 65% of Millennial dads say they think of themselves as a parent first and a husband second, whereas only 44% of Boomer dads feel this way and so, borrowing a metaphor, this appears to be a classic chicken and egg situation.

It is generally accepted that parents put their children's needs and happiness ahead of their own. However, nearly half of Millennial dads indicate their own happiness is more important than the happiness of others and they are significantly more likely than dads of other generations to say they like to be the center of attention. It seems Millennial Dads have not completely transitioned into the parenting role, which, for most, generally comes with children taking priority.  This might explain why many Millennial dads are less eager and find it less enjoyable, to spend time with their children.

"We know from prior research on this topic that 36% of Millennial Dads wish they had waited longer before they had children," says Denise Delahorne, SVP, Group Strategy Director of DDB US, "which might explain their ambivalence and insecurities about their parenting roles relative to the lives they enjoyed prior to becoming fathers."

                                                  Dads with Kids age 19 or less

Millennial

Gen X

Boomer

SAMPLE SIZE

436

392

236

Raising a child brings me a lot of happiness

82%

87%

92%

I do find parenthood a real burden

41%

25%*

16%*

There's nothing more unpleasant than other people's children

36%

21%*

15%*

If I had to stay home with my kids day after day I would lose my mind

42%

35%

18%*

Time away from my kids makes me a better parent

48%

46%

33%*

I don't enjoy spending time with my kids

29%

22%*

14%*

I would rather spend time with my friends than my kids

35%

20%*

12%*

I think of myself as a parent first and a husband second

65%

58%

44%*

I worry that my wife no longer thinks of me as a lover/husband and instead
just thinks of me as "Dad"

39%

40%

26%*

I feel like I've lost my identity because I'm a dad

34%

18%*

12%*

I do whatever I can to make sure my children get preferential treatment

67%

56%

49%*

My own happiness is more important than the happiness of others

49%

33%*

20%*

On my birthday I expect to be treated like a king

53%

38%*

26%*

I like to be the center of attention

44%

28%*

11%*

Which better describes your parenting style: 

(A) I want my kids to think of me as their friend

46%

31%*

30%*

Which better describes your parenting style: 

(B) I want my kids to think of me as the "adult in charge"

55%

69%*

70%

*Value is significantly higher/lower versus Millennial Dads

About DDB
DDB Worldwide (www.ddb.com) is one of the world's largest and most awarded advertising and marketing networks. In 2012 DDB was named Advertising Network of the Year by Campaign, as well as Agency of the Year and Digital Agency of the Year by Strategy magazine. At the prestigious 2013 Cannes International Festival of Creativity, DDB won 93 Lions, the most ever for the network. In addition, The Gunn Report has listed DDB as one of the Top 3 Global Networks for 12 of the last 15 years. The agency's clients include Volkswagen, McDonald's, Unilever, Mars, Johnson & Johnson, and Exxon Mobil, among others.

Founded in 1949, DDB is part of the Omnicom Group (NYSE) and consists of more than 200 offices in over 90 countries with its flagship office in New York, NY.

About Omnicom Group Inc.
Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC) is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom's branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.

For further information on Omnicom and its brands, please visit www.omnicomgroup.com.

Contact:
Christie Giera
Director of Corporate Communications and North American Public Relations
DDB Worldwide
Email: Christie.giera@ddb.com
Office: 212-415-2186

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