There are many factors that affect how a child grows up .However there has been a significant amount of psychological research regarding how the ages of parents can affect many important aspects of a child’s development.
There is research that indicates there are advantages for a child when the parents are older but this does not mean that older parents are in fact good parents . Parenting styles can differ whatever the parents age .
Increasingly children are being born to parents in their forties.Quite often the emotional experience of childhood with older parents is very different from those with younger ones.
The average age of of first time mothers in the USA has risen from 21.4years in 1970 to 26 years in 2013.
In fact the number of births for mothers 45 and older increased by 14 %.( Figures come from U.S. Census Bureau report on maternity leave patterns )
Bearing the above in mind lets look at how having older parents can affect a child .
Advantages of Children with Older Parents
- Older parent give a child lots of attention .
Usually the children of older parents receive a lot of attention .They normally feel very loved and very wanted. As most older parents are settled in their professions they often are able to spend extra time with their children .
- Financially Stable
Often the older parents ( in particular those from middle class backgrounds) are financially secure and stable . They are able to afford more opportunities for their children being able to travel ,attend private schools and participate in extra curricular activities .
- Emotionally stable
The children of older parents often grow up in a stable two parent family .The divorce rate among older parents is lower.This leads to a relaxed confident child .
Disadvantages children of older parents
- Generation gap more pronounced
Children of older parents may feel self conscious or even embarrassed that their parents are considerably older than those of their peer group. They often worry that their older parents will not be able to participate as much in physical activities.
- Feelings of parental responsibility
Children of older parents often have to take on the responsibility of looking after elderly parents much earlier in their lives than their friends . Often children who are just out of college have to take on duties helping elderly parents.Children also fear that their parents will die much earlier than their peers parents will .These children often feel the need to stay at home longer to experience family life for fear that their parents may die early.
- Older Fathers - The risks
It has long been accepted that having a baby when a mother is older does carry significant risks. However research is now showing that the children of older fathers are much more likely to have genetic defects. In particular the risk of a child developing Downs Syndrome ,Autism and type 1 diabetes is much higher when the father is over 40 at the time of conception .
In fact whether parents are older or not does not define their parenting style . Age is not a factor whether you are “good “parents or not . However the children of older parents do seem to be more settled and successful in their lives both at school and as adults .