Why Dr. Becky Kennedy Is "The Millennial Parenting Whisperer"

becky kennedy

Photo by Melanie Dunea

Even when our kids aren’t physically with us, they are present in our minds; we’re constantly planning their days, taking into consideration of their life in our schedules, and worrying about whether we are doing a good job as parents.

Parenting stress not only affects the parent and the child, but it can impact the relationship between the two. For instance, a high level of parenting stress is associated with a lower quality of parenting behavior and an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and fatigue for parents.

But what if there were resources, education, and an entire community that brings out the good inside every parent so they feel confident and supported in doing this important job of raising the next generation?

That is what Dr. Becky Kennedy, mom of three, clinical psychologist, and bestselling author, is striving to do with her company, Good Inside. Named by Time magazine as “The Millennial Parenting Whisperer,” Dr. Kennedy has become a trusted parenting guide for those who want to learn how to be good parents by understanding how their upbringing impacts the way they raise their children.

Good Inside's Mission

During Kennedy's early days of coaching parents, she realized the conventional methods that involved rewards, punishments, and time-outs weren’t just ineffective; they were terrible for the child and parent’s wellbeing. She wanted to develop a new and better method that incorporated mindfulness, emotional regulation, attachment, and internal family systems theory. 

Hence, Good Inside was born to “help families heal — bringing out the good inside everyone.” With more than a dozen on her team, Good Inside is on a mission to redefine what it means to be a parent, help families improve their parenting approach, and solve problems in the home with simple, actionable, and effective strategies.

She’s reaching millions through her weekly podcast that made Apple Podcasts' “Best Shows of 2021” list. In each episode, she answers questions from real parents. From bedtime battles and the emotional lives of teenagers to tantrums, she touches on a variety of parenting challenges that help her listeners feel validated while empowering them to use real impactful ways to overcome those problems.

Why Organizations Like Good Inside Matter

One of the current issues parents face that she has spoken about involves why children have become increasingly less happy over the past decade and what parents can do to address this mental health challenge. 

The prevalence of depression among children in the US has been on the rise in recent years. Between 2005 and 2016, it is estimated that the percentage of adolescents who experienced one or more major depressive episodes in the previous 12 months increased from 9% to 13%.

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic affected the health and well-being of every person across the world. A meta-analysis published in 2021 showed that globally, it is estimated that 1 in 4 youth are experiencing clinically elevated depression symptoms. This corresponds to a twofold increase in comparison to pre-pandemic rates.

Her Views on Parenting

Dr. Kennedy believes happiness isn’t the goal of parenting. She has talked about how children are growing up in a world that caters to our desire for instant gratification. From social media and phones to tablets, there are plenty of easily accessible ways to distract ourselves from difficult experiences and negative emotions, all of which make us feel actually worse.

A study looked at the use of multiple social media platforms and the symptoms of anxiety and depression among young adults in the US. It showed that those who used between 7 and 11 social media platforms were more likely to experience depression and anxiety symptoms compared to those who used two or fewer social media platforms.

Dr. Kennedy believes that the key to cultivating happiness in children is to have them experience frustration, struggle, and failure while teaching them to work through it so they can build resilience.

On Boundaries and Self-Care

As parents, most of us have experienced losing our sense of independence in the lives of our children. There is less time and space to practice self-care and dedicate to our own endeavors and commitments. When we spend time away from our kids, we feel guilty for not being there for them. And when we are with them, we are merely trying to keep the boat afloat, managing tantrums, checking homework, preparing meals, cleaning up spills, and changing poopy diapers. 

Dr. Kennedy tells parents that being a good parent means spending time away from them and tolerating the guilt we feel about self-care.

In a recent Instagram post, she filmed herself leaving her apartment for a dinner out with friends after dealing with her child, who was upset at her for going. She explains that spending time away from her children is self-sustaining. She reaffirms that you’re not a bad parent if you miss your life before having kids. 

When it comes to feeling guilty about self-care, she encourages parents to set boundaries and prioritize themselves even when they feel nervous and uncomfortable about it. This means giving ourselves permission to say no, taking breaks, and tolerating the inconveniences that may occur for other people. Instead of thinking about how it will impact everyone else, she tells parents to ask themselves what they need, how they feel, and whether they are letting themselves down.

Dr. Kennedy is in the trenches with fellow millennial parents. She doesn’t just offer advice; she actively practices what she preaches with her own kids. She’s helping parents feel less lost, less alone, more equipped, and more confident in the parenting journey and, in turn, shaping healthier and more resilient future generations to come.

6 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Fang Y, Luo J, Boele M, Windhorst D, van Grieken A, Raat H. Parent, child, and situational factors associated with parenting stress: a systematic review. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry.

  2. TIME. How Dr. Becky became the millennial parenting whisperer.

  3. Selph SS, McDonagh MS. Depression in children and adolescents: evaluation and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2019;100(10):609–617.

  4. Racine N, McArthur BA, Cooke JE, Eirich R, Zhu J, Madigan S. Global prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms in children and adolescents during covid-19: a meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2021;175(11):1142–1150.

  5. Marchese D. Dr. Becky doesn’t think the goal of parenting is to make your kid happyThe New York Times.

  6. Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among U.S. young adults. Computers in Human Behavior. 2017;69:1–9.

By Katharine Chan, MSc, BSc, PMP
Katharine is the author of three books (How To Deal With Asian Parents, A Brutally Honest Dating Guide and A Straight Up Guide to a Happy and Healthy Marriage) and the creator of 60 Feelings To Feel: A Journal To Identify Your Emotions. She has over 15 years of experience working in British Columbia's healthcare system.