While some older parents tend to get a bad rap for beginning their parenting journey later than others, they're now celebrating this bit of good news: children of older parents are usually better behaved. As a matter of fact, there’s new research that suggests waiting until your later years to start a family may have a positive impact on your children.
According to Healthline, older parents are more patient and willing to take the time to listen to their children compared to their much younger counterparts. A team of researchers looked at four different studies that were conducted in the Netherlands. One tracked about 32 000 Dutch children from the ages of 10 to 12. They looked at behavioral reports from their mothers, fathers, teachers, and even from the kids themselves.
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The findings proved that older parents dealt with fewer behavioral issues. However, relationship and parenting expert Wendy Walsh, PhD thinks that there are a few things to consider when looking at studies that involve self-assessment reporting. She points out that they're not the same as giving a group a pre-test and a post-test to find and compare data results. She also thinks that self-reporting can be biased, meaning that some people might not be reporting the truth and nothing but the truth- especially when it comes to themselves and their own behavior.
Dr. Walsh said, “When parents are reporting, there is going to be over-reporting of favorable things. And the older a parent is, the smarter they are about knowing to over-report favorable behavior. So we can discount the reports from fathers, mothers, and children themselves.”
But Dr. Wash does say that the results shouldn’t be discounted altogether. She further explained, “The longer you wait, the smarter you are, the more education you have, maybe the better your finances are, the more resources you have, the less likely your kid is going to be acting out.”
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With that said, there are just as many pros as there are cons to postponing motherhood a decade or more compared to your peers. Many studies have found that the age of a child’s father at birth to an increase in neurological and behavioral conditions. Some of them include autism and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. In addition, there’s a greater chance of developing bipolar disorder or even psychosis.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped women from getting pregnant when they feel the time is right for them. Many women are now delaying parenthood until their late 30s, and even their 40s. That’s because they're not only prioritizing their careers ahead of their family plans, but also making sure that they're both stable and financially secure before beginning the next chapter of their lives. Regardless, people should just do what's best for their lives.