Older mothers are less likely to punish and scold their children while raising them, and that the children have fewer behavioral, social and emotional difficulties, according to a recent study.

There are many concerns about older women having children. The risks have been documented but many mothers are increasingly resorting to in vitro fertilization, frozen embryos and donor eggs to give birth to children at a later age. With technology and medical monitoring, both the mother and child are turning out healthy and fine. Dr Susan Newman in the United States, a paediatrician and child psychologist believes that 40 is the new 30 for having babies. Women are underscoring the realities of prepping up their careers before jumping on to motherhood. Here are the myriad benefits of having older mothers as seen through research and study in United States:

  • Long term life outcomes for children are positive: Studies in recent years have shown how older mothers can benefit their child after having them at a later age. In researchable data from Sweden, the study Advanced Maternal Age and Offspring Outcomes: Reproductive Aging and Counterbalancing Period Trends, showed how fertility postponement because of career opportunities and birth control till the age of 40 and beyond can have long term positive outcomes for children. Newman underlines how data revealed siblings born to the mother at a later age was taller and stayed in the educational system for elongated periods of time. The kids performed better at school and standardized tests than those whose mothers were younger when they conceived. With health standards improving and population control taking precedence in many societies, women are becoming mothers at a later age choosing childbirth when they are ready and prepared.


  • Children perform better and acquire advanced language skills: Newman quotes a celebrated study by Jessica Harding and her colleagues in the US. The Relationship between Maternal Education and Children’s Academic Outcomes shows us how older mothers by dint of working longer and staying in the educational system longer had extensive vocabularies when they interacted with their children at a young age. The enriched language skills and better comprehension abilities is a crucial aspect of a child’s cognitive development. Children advanced steadily in the language and education department and have more nourishing influences in friends and family that promoted academic stupor.


  • Older mothers have gifted children that do well across the board: In the Journal of Marriage and Family, Harding suggests that educated older mothers often guide their children well in school and adolescence and help them score higher in achievement tests, SATs and college.


  • Plenty of emotional support and strength of character: Pamela Davis Kean from the University of Michigan found that older parents have caring nature and devote longer times to the educational needs of their children. They stimulate the kids’ reading and constructive play and offer emotional pillar of support in the home. In her study of 8 to 12 year olds, Kean found how older mothers and their parenting beliefs affected a child’s development. Older mothers and older parents at large often showed a lot of mental maturity and academic rigour in raising their kids. The tone of voice, frequency of praise and the happiness of the child’s educational attainment seemed to be invaluable in general. They are less worried about their child’s earning potential and are not stressed out with jobs, thus spending more time with their offspring.


  • Older mothers lead longer lives to be there for their children: Contrary to popular belief, advances in healthcare and rise in educational qualifications has meant women are now more prepared to take on a life of late motherhood. A study in the Menopause Journal showed that the women who had their last child after the age of 33 are likely to live till 95 years. In fact, research has shown that women who have had their last child before 30 are unlikely to have a longer life expectancy.


  • Stable relationship : The reason is that older mothers have more stable relationships, are more educated and have obtained better access to material resources. But it is also interesting to look at the significance of age when these factors are removed from the equation. In such analyses, age can be interpreted as an indicator of psychological maturity.


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

“This style of parenting can thereby contribute to a positive psychosocial environment which affects the children’s upbringing,” he concludes.

The study of the correlation between maternal age and children’s social and emotional development was carried out when the children were 7, 11 and 15 years old respectively. The results have been published in the scientific journal European Journal of Developmental Psychology.

So far, many studies have examined the correlation between education, job or marital status and older mothers, while very few have looked at the significance of age in and of itself.


Story Source:
Materials provided by Aarhus University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Journal Reference:
Tea Trillingsgaard, Dion Sommer. Associations between older maternal age, use of sanctions, and children’s socio-emotional development through 7, 11, and 15 years. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 2016; 1 DOI: 10.1080/17405629.2016.1266248
Barclay, K. and Myrskyla, M. “Advanced Maternal Age and Offspring Outcomes: Reproductive Aging and Counterbalancing Period Trends.” Population and Development Review, 2016. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2016.00105.x
CBS News. “For First Time Moms, 40 is the New 30,” CBS Sunday Morning, May 8, 2016.
Davis-Kean, Pamela. “The Influence of Parent Education and Family Income on Child Achievement: The Indirect Role of Parental Expectations and the Home Environment.” Journal of Family Psychology, 2005. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.19.2.294
Harding, Jessica F., Pamela A. Morris, and Diane Hughes. “The Relationship Between Maternal Education and Children’s Academic Outcomes: A Theoretical Framework.” Journal of Marriage and Family, February 2015. pp. 60-75.
Copyright @2016 by Susan Newman​
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