It is a rare moment in television history when both critics and viewers like the same show. This rare moment appears to be happening to ABC with its new comedy, ‘Modern Family.’ The show, which is done in mock-documentary format, is a hysterical look at being a parent today through the eyes of three families—two of which, are very non-traditional in nature (but oh so based in reality): A much older husband and younger wife and a gay couple who just adopted a baby. While this is a comedy, one truth rings loud and clear: The family dynamic has truly changed and Moms want to see more families that look and sound like the ones living in their own homes.  

“Generation Y is a group that grew up with a lot of diversity,” says Kristin Bennett Butterfield, partner for Consumer Dig and M2Moms® speaker. butterfield“Their reality is a world where friends come from all different walks of life—different cultures, value systems, etc. They are going to want to see the same things represented in the media which is probably why this show is having such great success with viewers.” During her M2Moms® presentation, Kristin will be sharing data from The Intelligence Group’s Cassandra New Family Report that shows what makes today’s families tick and how they are different from previous generations.

So, how is the new American family going to evolve? Kristin gives us a look at two of the trends that are shaping today’s families:

Co-op Parenting
Parenting has moved beyond the nuclear family and now includes extended relatives—especially grandparents. “Grandparents are healthier and living longer and are becoming more involved in the lives of their children and grandchildren,” says Kristin. In addition to some grandparents taking on the task of raising their grandchildren, more and more families are finding it necessary for everyone to live under one roof. According to Kristin, there is no longer a stigma for young couples who choose to continue to live with their parents or have their parents live with them—it’s becoming part of the norm. “Part of this trend is out of necessity,” says Kristin. “Moving home with their parents or having their parents move in with them is a way to cut costs during tough economic times.” Another reason for the trend? Growth in the minority population—especially Hispanics, a culture that has long believed in the idea of having extended family living together and helping raise the family.

More Dad Involvement
Generation Y Dads grew up in a world where girls could do anything and their Moms were very liberated. So, it isn’t surprising to see a growing number of today’s Dads playing a more active role in parenting. “They have a real pride about being more involved and Moms are embracing this trend with open arms,” says Kristin. Once again, the recession has helped propel this trend to great heights. “Most of the people who were laid off were men,” says Kristin. “They are actually grateful for the opportunity to spend more time at home with the kids.” While Dads may be spending more time at home, Moms are still the ones behind most of the household purchases. “As long as she gives me a list, I’m good,” say most Dads.

Brands looking to effectively reach Moms need to keep these changes in the family dynamic in mind. “There needs to be a real message of ‘togetherness’– showing a wide range of people relishing the family time together,” says Kristin. “This includes dads, grandparents, etc.—it’s an authentic representation of the life today’s Mom is living and she wants to see that in the media.”

Unfortunately, not many brands are building this strategy into their marketing to mom plans. “The new commercial for Huggies Little Movers is great,” says Kristin. “But other than that, you just don’t see a lot of dads represented in brand campaigns. And grandparents? They are a completely underserved market.”

Kristin has always been a popular M2Moms® presenter and is looking forward to not only taking the stage, but being in the audience. “Unlike any other conference, there is a real genuineness about M2Moms®–a real enthusiasm about family and understanding the family dynamic,” says Kristin. “I am looking forward to meeting other people who are doing such smart and fascinating things in the marketing to mom space. I am just so passionate about this space—I can’t wait.”