Executive Creative Director
We all want what's best for our children, but sometimes a parent has to take a step back, present the options and let the kid make his or her own decisions. Our hope is that we have raised young people who are secure and confident enough to identify the right path.
As a Gen-X parent of two college-age Millennial boys, I get the occasional pushback. "Why are you so controlling, we're 21 and 19!" I've come to realize (many grey hairs later) that trying to force fit them into my definition of how I want them to experience things will make them run for the door. My understanding of how they process things in their world allows me to motivate, guide and even manipulate them in a way that keeps them happy while achieving my parental goals.
So, in the name of effective cross-generational communication, let's take a look at some of the pervasive myths and truths about our youngest generation, the Millennials.
Myth 1. Millennials are Pessimists
Truth: Millennials describe themselves as happy, confident and positive. With trust and optimism as qualities high on their list, there is a connection to parents and future. They will often boast about their generation's power and potential.
Myth 2. Millennials are Self-absorbed
Truth: Millennials are cooperative team players. They are all about the collective, and gravitate towards group activities and learning. Possessing strong team instincts and tight bonds, they can be highly motivated by team-oriented outcomes that allow collaboration instead of competition.
Myth 3. Millennials are Fruggal Shoppers
Truth: Millennials are strategic shoppers. While they love figuring out how to get the best deal and the best advantage for themselves, they are more than willing to spend their money on the things that matter most to them and scrimp on the rest.
Myth 4. Millennials Lack Interpersonal Skills
Truth: Maintaining strong personal connections with family and friends is extremely important to the Millennials. While they are accustomed to leading the wired life (technology is in their lifeblood and their gadgets keep them connected), they have a sincere concern for people.
Myth 5. Millennials are Rebels
Truth: Millennials are no more rebellious than any previous generations. They have been conditioned to think that many things are wrong and evil, yet at the same time have been taught to be tolerant and understanding. They will be the ones who turn towards community, patience and trust with a new focus on action over talk. They are determined to make an impact for their communities.
Myth 6. Millennials are Disloyal
Truth: Millennials have been trained to reset/reboot when things are not working. They don't take a wait and see attitude if something is unsatisfying and demeaning. They believe it just makes sense to start over somewhere else.
Myth 7. Millennials Reject Rules
Truth: Millennials will rewrite - not reject - the rules to move things in a positive direction. Millennials are the first generation to have the tools that allow them to make, edit and conform the ways they want to experience things in their lives. Once Millennials do make their choices in products and services, they expect many personalization and customization features. To them it's a way of expressing individuality.
Myth 8. Millennials Accept Diversity
Truth: Millennials celebrate and embrace diversity as both a lifestyle and workplace imperative. It is one of this generation's defining characteristics. They are accepting and tolerant; nothing shocks them. Millennials are sharp enough to know that diversity is a total experience in an inclusive culture where all are welcomed.
Myth 9. Millennials are Impatient
Truth: Millennials prefer to keep their time and commitments flexible. They expect their services to be instantly available when they want and where they want.
Myth 10. Millennials are Unmotivated
Truth: What motivated previous generations doesn't motivate Mellinnials. Money and status are not their priorities; relationships and experiences are. They will work hard if they believe they are making a difference and are appreciated (they do enjoy personal attention). Millennials have no resistance to change and little aversion to failure as long as they are learning something.
Source: Millennial Rising, Neil Howe and William Strauss