Parenting

Study Shows Older Mothers are Better Mothers

Facebook logo, author Simon3. From Wikimedia Commons.

If and when I have my next child, I already know it’ll be a geriatric pregnancy and it won’t be because I’m giving birth to Benjamin Button. I’ll be the old lady in the scenario, the has-been who shoulda-been pregnant a while ago. But, like many women of my generation, I wasn’t ready to settle down in my early twenties and start building my brood. So, I’m faced with a slew of statistics hammering me with potential fertility problems and health complications. Fortunately, I can sling back the fact that both my mother and grandmother carried successful geriatric pregnancies to term; had they not, neither my father nor I would be here today. So, yes dear mother-to-be over the age of 35, you too can have a successful pregnancy. And as it turns out, your child may grow up to thank you for waiting a few extra years to invite them to come around.

According to a new study out of Denmark, children of older mothers are “less likely to have behavioral, social and emotional issues.” Why? The reason has less to do with education or financial stability and more to do with psychological maturity. Older mothers tend to have a better perspective when it comes to the ultimate parenting axiom “This too shall pass.”

“We know that people become more mentally flexible with age, are more tolerant of other people and thrive better emotionally themselves,” Sommer said. “That’s why psychological maturity may explain why older mothers do not scold and physically discipline their children as much.”

Creating a positive and less disciplinary environment, in turn, leads to a healthier and happier upbringing.

Walking out of the working world to stay at home with my son was nothing short of culture shock. In today’s career environment we often panic rather than prioritize; offices are structured around gossip and game-playing as tools for promotional growth, and technology grants a boss the ability to make demands 24/7. Over the course of a decade, I’d learned very well how to quickly put out fires in order to keep gossip-weary bosses content and off my back. As it turns out, what’s great for the office is terrible for the playroom. Children, infants especially, need a calm mother who can create order out of chaos and go with the ever-changing flow. “We aren’t in charge of the nuclear codes,” my former co-worker was fond of saying. A mother herself, she was also fond of hiring mothers looking to return to work after parenting. Now I truly understand why: The workplace needs more people who can remain calm and focused under pressure, knowing “this too shall pass”.

The study also reinforces recent research regarding attachment and authoritative parenting styles. Parents who are able to effectively bond with their children while maintaining a strong sense of order are the ones whose children are most likely to become healthy, successful adults. Millennial parents are pursuing this trend, often choosing to work at home or stay at home with young children in order to foster that family bond.