Study finds children of older moms may have fewer behavioral, emotional issues
Women are waiting longer and longer to have their first child. There are a number of reasons why this is happening; the most compelling is how much fun it is to hear “Advanced Maternal Age” at every single doctor’s appointment. I’m kidding.
But seriously, according to a recent study, it turns out putting off having kids may actually be good for them.
Women have historically been told getting pregnant later in life is going to be harder on us and our babies. We get the proverbial “clock is ticking” conversation from our great aunt at the family reunion — a reminder that we, and our eggs, aren’t getting any younger. Thanks Aunt Alice, my 13 chin hairs weren’t giving it away. There are also the warnings about the increase in birth defects for babies born to older mothers. While some empirical evidence of certain chromosomal disorders do exist, other birth defects are actually shown to be lower in older mothers.
A new study coming out of Denmark shows there may be social-emotional benefits of waiting to have children on our kids themselves. The study, which followed nearly 5,000 mothers in Denmark, tested the assumption that “older maternal age is associated with improved psychosocial health in families beyond the preschool years.” The research, published in a recent European Journal of Developmental Psychology, found older mothers are less likely to yell at their children or impose physical punishment. Probably because we are too damn old to care.
In this study, researchers interviewed the children at ages 7, 11 and 15 and found that children of older mothers have fewer social, emotional and behavioral issues at ages seven and 11, but not at 15. All 15-year-olds are assholes, so I doubt it has anything to do with the findings themselves. By not yelling or physically punishing their children, these mothers are creating a less disciplinary environment which leads to happier, more well adjusted children.
The research found that as “people become more mentally flexible with age, [they]are more tolerant of other people and thrive better emotionally themselves. That’s why psychological maturity may explain why older mothers do not scold and physically discipline their children as much,” the study’s author Dion Summer said.
No kidding! We older moms are still made to feel like we won’t be able to keep up with the demands of pregnancy, much less motherhood. In reality, it makes perfect sense. With age comes maturity and that certainly can be a benefit where parenting is concerned.
According to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, first births to “women aged 30 to 34 rose 28 percent, while first births among women 35 and older increased 23 percent.” This is due to factors such as higher education among women, greater career choice, more options for fertility, more financial stability and often women in more stable relationships.
Women today are waiting longer to have children than in previous years. Regardless of the personal choices behind the decision, research is showing more positive benefits of that choice. Women having choices when it comes to their bodies and reproduction is a good thing. Not only for us, but it seems for our children as well.