If you’re a millennial, people might assume your BFF, or “best friend forever,” is in your peer group. But, it’s now officially normal to admit your parents are your best friends. According to a Benenson Strategy Group report, more than half of millennials consider one of their parent’s to be their best friend. While some still hesitate to make that claim, research indicates millennials have closer relationships with their parents than former generations. So what exactly caused millennials to become such tight buddies with mom and dad?
Because of social media, an online relationship between millennials and parents is strengthening the parent-child relationship in real life. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram give baby boomer parents an inter-generational bridge into the once off-limits social world of their children. A convenient click is all it takes to see photos of their kids out at a bar or which memes they like. Millennials are compelled to let their barriers down for their parents because they are peers during their online interactions. They comment on the same conversations, like the same pictures and share the same videos with each other. A Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults reported 77 percent of those surveyed were in “regular touch with their parents electronically.” By having so much of their social lives intertwined online, it’s no surprise they’re becoming friends.
Today, millennials quarrel less with their parents. According to a Pew Research survey, baby boomers are “having fewer serious arguments with their children in their late teens and early 20s than they recall having with their own parents.” Millennials are socially aware and tolerant to other lifestyles, which is why they aren’t fighting with their own parents. While they do not share the same morals and values with baby boomers, they are the generation that can “agree to disagree” and will put differences aside when it comes to relationships. Being digital natives, they grew up in the age of opinion and are experienced when it comes to interacting with people who have different beliefs. Millennials want to get along with their parents and will not let any disagreements get in the way.
Millennials depend on their parents emotionally, and parents also depend emotionally on their kids. The Clark University Poll of Parents of Emerging Adults found “four out of five parents say their 18-29-year-old kids rely on them for emotional support.” The report concluded that because millennials are waiting longer to find a life partner, they’re depending on their parents for ongoing support and comfort in the meantime. Also, 86 percent of parents polled said relationships with their children are a current source of enjoyment, passing both hobbies and travel in popularity. Both baby boomers and millennials have a heartfelt need for one another, because they aren’t just family – they’re friends too.
Millennials have been wrongly accused of being a generation of self-centered and ungrateful young adults. But in reality, they cherish time spent with their parents. With more millennials and parents being friends, we know they’re learning about the experiences and the mistakes their elders made. It shows they are open minded to different perspectives. That’s something we all need for a promising future.