Today, a wave of cultural, technological, political and demographic changes threaten traditional family life. Before I dig into the details, I’d like to zoom out to explore the shifting terrain affecting the family unit.
- Care → Competition: work is longer, more demanding and uncertain. More often, we’re seeing both parents work full-time.
- Collectivism → Individualism: Young adults are encouraged to leave home, explore the world and find themselves. Millennials are taking longer to grow up and a culture of individualism results in less appeal to raise families altogether.
- TV Generation → IPhone Generation: the way we pass time and consume media is shifting from collaborative to individual consumption. Time once spent playing board games or playing music together is more likely spent alone on the computer or tablet.
- Local → National: Power is increasingly shifting from the family unit to the market and government. As governments and markets assume responsibilities once held by the family, the role of the family in our lives diminishes. Inherited culture, family businesses and caring for the sick/elders are being replaced by national political views, corporate jobs and health insurance/day care.
- Near → Far: Having kids later in life creates a generational gap within the family, resulting in differences in perceptions, values and needs. Boomers want to live in the suburbs, millennials want to live in dense areas. Both have different opinions of what they want out of life.