Are there benefits to having children later on in life? A new study suggests that older moms may have one very important characteristic that differentiates them from younger ladies – more tolerance and flexibility for a better child upbringing.
Aarhus University researchers in Denmark found that older moms tend to have better emotional relationships with their children due to the fact that they can create an emotionally-stable environment. In addition, older mothers feel less need to punish kids and their children tend to be more well-behaved.
University researcher Dion Sommer said that age comes with a higher level of emotional and mental flexibility. Tolerance increases and older mothers are not likely to either scold or physically punish their children.
Basically, having children later on in life could have a profound positive impact on their upbringing through a more peaceful, positive environment.
The researchers took a look at a large pool of samples. They examined the parenting style of more than 4,700 mothers in the country. The average age of pregnancy in the group was 31. This number suggests that a big number of children in Denmark have parents over the age of 30 at the time of birth.
The results of the study were presented in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology. Data was obtained through interviews and questionnaires.
Older maternal age was associated with a lower rate of sanctioning children for misbehaving. This was particularly true for children in the seven to 11 age group. By the age of 15, older mothers still refrained from physically disciplining their children but on occasions, they undertook verbal sanctions.
The researchers found out that the children brought up by older mothers experienced fewer social and behavioral difficulties than kids raised by younger moms. The pattern was evident across different social and economic groups in the study and the differences were statistically significant.
Additional Advantages for Kids Raised by Older Moms?
Despite the fact that pregnancies at a later age come with certain risks, the researchers have found a couple of important benefits for the children raised by older parents.
Another intriguing study was presented in the International Journal of Epidemiology in the beginning of 2017. Researchers found out that a maternal age of 35 to 39 was positively associated with intellectual capacity and cognitive abilities in the children. For maternal age of 40 or older, there was a similar pattern established.
It’s interesting to point out that in an earlier similar study (carried out in the period from 1958 to 1970), an older maternal age was negatively correlated with cognitive abilities in their children. Researchers concluded that the changing profile of parents is the one responsible for the shift from a negative to a positive correlation.
There’s a simple explanation for this phenomenon. In the past, mothers over the age of 35 were likely to be giving birth to a second, third or even a fourth child. This is the main reason why they couldn’t dedicate enough time to the individual development of the child.
In addition, women who get pregnant over the age of 35 right now tend to be financially-stable. They can ensure the best conditions for the upbringing of a child and they can also allocate sufficient resources to education.
When are Women having Kids?
These findings come in light of changing trends when it comes to parenting and motherhood.
Western countries are seeing an increasing number of women having their first child after the age of 30 or even 35. In the US, the average age of women giving birth to their first child has gone up to 26.3 years in 2014 from 21.4 years in 1970.
Statistics for the European Union (EU) demonstrate an even more revealing trend.
According to a 2015 Eurostat survey, the mean age of women giving birth to their first child in the Union is 28.7 years. Around 65,000 births involved mothers over the age of 40. Of all European countries, several have a relatively high maternal age at the time of a first birth – Italy (mean age of 30.6 years), Spain (30.4 years) and Luxembourg (30 years).
The rising maternal age is linked to both pros and cons. Fertility decreases after the age of 35 and there’s also a higher risk of pregnancy complications. Still, the benefits of having a first child later on in life shouldn’t be underestimated either.
Gentle reminder: The information on this article is not meant to replace a qualified healthcare professional and should not be considered as professional advise. Please seek appropriate medical help when necessary.