The Benefits of Being an Older (Over 40) Parent
Despite the stereotype that older parents (those who have their first child at age 40 or older) are frumpy sticks in the mud, many older parents are as active and involved as their 20-something counterparts.
Age does not hinder their parenting abilities and, in fact, may boost them. According to the Center for Disease Control, 20% of women are choosing to wait until after age 35 to have a baby.
“Younger parents will push their children on the swings—older parents will swing along.”
Choosing Their Path
As opposed to younger parents, older parents seem to have a more profound choice in deciding to have a child. Sure, many young parents do plan for when to get pregnant, but for a lot of them, starting a family comes as the next logical step after getting married, finding a significant other, or dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. Older parents tend to have mapped out the pregnancy and, therefore, limit their number of surprises, and the child is generally more of a choice than an expectation or obligation at this point.
All Grown Up
Parents over 40 have typically sown their oats, so to speak. To be cliché, they have been there and done that and are ready to settle down and focus on parenting. Younger parents sometimes have a tendency to “grow up” alongside their children or have the feeling that they are missing out on some things. Some may actually resent their children for not allowing them to have a “good time.”
Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock and the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study that found the satisfaction of younger parents decreases with the more children they have, whereas the happiness of older parents increases.