Although there's no small amount of societal pressure on women not to have children when they're older--under the pretense that older mothers are less able to do things for their children, or that the generation gap between parents and children are ultimately too wide to bridge--a recent study might show otherwise.

New research from Aarhus University in Denmark reveals that, overall, the average maternal age has steadily increased over the last decade--and, contrary to popular belief, that might be a really good thing.

The recommendation to have children earlier stems at least in part from the fact that decreased fertility is thought to accompany increasing age, alongside health risks that often happen with pregnancy at a more advanced age. However, previous research showed that there was overall better psychosocial well-being during pregnancy and in the child's early ages following birth for later pregnancies.

Yet, in the novel study conducted at Aarhus University, it was shown that older mothers overall worry less about the pregnancy. And, in longitudinal studies conducted up until the child's school years, children with older mothers typically have better linguistic skills, as well as fewer behavioral and emotional problems all the way up until they reach age 15.

Overall, it was shown that older mothers possessed more stable relationships with their children, notably in crucial developmental years--such as those in middle school--up until the children reach 15 years old. The increased stability in interaction could largely be attributed to the fact that people often become more psychologically mature with advanced age, leading to fewer older mothers who are inclined to yell or physically discipline their children.

Parenting, in this case, definitely appears to be a practice that varies by age, as the psychological environment in which an older mother raises her child may greatly differ from one of a younger mother. This study presents novel findings in that a great deal of previous research has looked at circumstances--such as education level or vocation and marital status of the mother--but few before have examined the actual impact of age itself on mothering.

It looks like, when it comes to mothers, older could very well be better after all.

Published on: Apr 13, 2017
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