New research says that being an ‘older mom’ (over the age of 35 according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) may lead to parenting skills that result in better-behaved children.
More and more, being an ‘older mom’ is not such an anomaly. Whether it’s because more women are facing fertility issues, or choosing to postpone motherhood as there are more opportunities for women than any other generation has seen, it’s not rare to be a first-time mom who is 35 years or older.
Researchers from of the Aarhus University in Denmark found that children who had ‘older mothers’ had fewer behavioral, social and emotional problems at the ages of seven and eleven, but not necessarily at 15.
The researchers don’t have any conclusive reasoning as to why this is the case. They believe that since older moms are more psychologically mature and have more life experience, they may refrain from harsh or punitive parenting that may end up backfiring on them in the future.
Also, older mothers tend to succeed in creating positive and enriching environments for their children, and this may be why they are less likely to have behavioral, social or emotional problems when compared to peers.
Researcher Dion Sommer says that research shows people become more mentally flexible with age, and are more tolerant of other people. They tend to have found their ‘places’ in the world, and this may explain why they are well equipped to deal with their children and their relationships. It also would explain why older mothers tend to not use harsh parenting or physical discipline techniques.
That said, researchers don’t advise women to wait to bear children for the sole purpose of having that mental flexibility. It’s important, they say, to weigh the risks of fertility issues and pregnancy complications when deciding on the right time to build a family.
While other studies show that women tend to worry less during pregnancy and are more positive about becoming parents, the weight of that with the ability to conceive and carry with few/no complications should be considered as well.