19 Days to 30th Anniversary: Raising Children as Millennial Parents

Written by Children Ministry

For millennial parents, raising children in the 21st century where social media and mental health awareness are on the rise, presents unique challenges and opportunities. Born between 1981 and 1996, these new parents are learning to nurture the next generation, while navigating rapid technological advancements, evolving social norms, and economic pressures. They have distinct values and approaches to parenting, shaped by their unique experiences and upbringing, often prioritizing mental health and integrating technology mindfully into daily life.

In this exploration, we turn to the real-life stories of two millennial families who consider SIBKL their home church, each offering a unique glimpse into the variety of ways they approach the joys and hurdles of parenthood. Meet the Au Yong family, consisting of Wai Leem, I-Lynn, their 4 year-old daughter leva, their 1-year-old son Kden, and another bundle of joy on the way. One fun fact about them is that each child is (and will be) born in different states. We also have the Cheah family with us taking part in this discussion.

Being a millennial parent comes with its own sets of rewards and challenges. For the Au Yongs, one of the most rewarding experiences is witnessing their daughter Ieva’s spontaneous worship songs, reflecting her faith amidst the world’s current culture. Additionally, Ieva’s ability to recognize Bible stories from her own reading time during church services makes her parents extremely proud. For the Cheahs, they expressed that they’re grateful for the ability to immediately obtain information from the internet rather than relying on books, which has proven to be incredibly helpful in parenting situations that they’ve never dealt with before.

However, the journey isn’t without its challenges. A significant hurdle for the Au Yong family is addressing Ieva’s endless streams of “WHYs”, which we’re sure is a common struggle that many young parents can relate to. The Cheahs, on the other hand, find themselves having to manage the undesirable habits that their 3-year-old picks up at school, requiring consistent effort to teach him to unlearn these behaviors. They also find that they have to put in extra effort to spend quality time with their children as they are actively serving every weekend.

Compared to previous generations, millennial parents like the Cheahs and the Au Yongs also face unique challenges of their own, particularly concerning technology and safety. Today, it is not uncommon to find children attached to screens, which necessitates stricter regulations to ensure a healthy balance. A little screen time is okay, as the Au Yong family has mentioned “on screen equals parents resting time!” Additionally, they believe that parents of the 21st century should provide a higher level of security for their children, as the sense of community safety that once allowed children to freely play in the streets is no longer prevalent.

Au Yong Family

In a digitally saturated world, parents often struggle to balance the use of technology and screen time limits for their children. The Cheah and Au Yong families counter this by setting clear limits. Screen time for the Cheahs is usually restricted to half an hour or one movie as a reward, ensuring that their children also engage with physical entertainment like toys and books. The Au Yongs also carefully curate the content their children are exposed to, limiting their time with screens as well.

Another aspect that brings concern to parents in general, not just millennials, is navigating the complexities of raising children in a society and culture that frequently contradicts or challenges Christian beliefs and values. The Cheah family states that it is important to stand firm in their faith, and to teach and model the values they believe in, guided by Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

The Au Yong family adds that leading by example is crucial; parents must first live lives that counter societal norms, being set apart and not following the ways of the world. This in turn helps them be role models for their children, as Wai Leem and I-Lynn emphasize the importance of being their children’s closest and most trusted friends so that, whatever the world throws at them, they will turn to their parents first for guidance.

Drawing from their own upbringing, the Cheahs emphasize the importance of discipline, guided by Proverbs 13:24: “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Consistent and loving discipline helps instill a sense of right and wrong, responsibility, and respect in children. For the Cheahs, discipline is not merely about correction but about guiding their children towards becoming respectful and considerate individuals. Similarly, the Au Yong family believes in setting clear boundaries and ensuring that both parents are on the same page regarding discipline. This consistency provides a stable environment where children understand expectations and consequences.

This method reflects how these millennial parents were raised and how they now choose to raise their own children. Both families stress the importance of administering discipline with love and patience, ensuring it is constructive rather than punitive. Open and ongoing communication plays a significant role in this process, as it helps maintain a loving and supportive environment.

For the Au Yong family, community and church involvement also play a significant role in their approach to parenting. They believe that their church community provides essential exposure, security, and comfort, contributing significantly to their children’s social, emotional, and spiritual development. Similarly, the Cheah family emphasizes the importance of an intergenerational congregation. They advocate for a church setting where children are not seen as distractions but as integral members of the community. It is important to them that their children are able to join them and participate in the sanctuary, worshiping and learning about the Word alongside adults. This inclusion fosters a sense of belonging and spiritual growth for their children.

Cheah Family

Despite the inevitable exhaustion that accompanies parenthood, the Cheahs remain dedicated to bringing their children to church services and Kidzstation regularly. They integrate spiritual practices into their daily routine by singing praise and worship songs together and praying, especially before bedtime and meals. They believe that this consistent practice helps instill a deep-rooted faith and spiritual discipline in their children.

Wai Leem and I-Lynn, like the Cheahs, actively involve their children in daily spiritual activities. They encourage their children to join them in reading the Bible every day, using biblical examples to navigate everyday life. This practice not only strengthens their children’s understanding of the scriptures but also provides moral guidance. They also emphasize on the importance of prayer, and will pray with their children before bedtime everyday.

Raising children as millennial parents comes with a unique blend of challenges and rewards. It involves balancing modern parenting techniques with traditional values, fostering a strong spiritual foundation, and navigating the complexities of technology and cultural influences. Through it all, their faith, community, and family remains unwavering, providing a loving and nurturing environment for their children to grow and thrive.

Want to know more about Children Ministry?

Life is busy and our children are growing fast. Shall we join hands to grow them to love their Father God? Let’s raise our future generation to know who they are in Christ, to know the Father’s heart, that their faith grows strong. Our various services are curated for the littlest ones to the not-so-little ones of 12 years.