6 Benefits for Children of Older Mothers

 / 

6 Benefits for Children of Older Mothers

Are you the child of an older mother? What are the effects on children whose mothers have them “later?”

The number of births to women in their 30s and well into their 40s keeps rising; at the same time, the number of women between ages 20 and 24 who are having their first child falls. Surprisingly, the number of women having babies in their mid-forties or older, although still relatively small, has tripled in the last 20 years.

The pushback and concern about women having babies when they are older have been well documented. In spite of risks, having babies “later” is increasingly popular, signaling a trend that is more than likely to continue. Robin Gorman Newman (no relation), the founder of MotherhoodLater.com, a community, and resource for “later” moms tells me that her organization has been growing steadily since she started it in 2005. “I receive ongoing inquiries from women anticipating they may become a mom at age 35 and older seeking information and support,” she says.

Medical advances — in-vitro fertilization, egg freezing, frozen embryos, donor eggs, and surrogates — have allowed women to consider waiting to have children until they feel ready. With technology to monitor and protect both mother and fetus, many risks have been reduced. These advances also provide a “security blanket,” a cushion of sorts, for women who wait to become mothers.

CBS Sunday Morning spotlighted first-time mothers who started their families in their 40s. Some conceived naturally, others used fertility assistance. “Is 40 the new 30 for having babies?” CBS asked. These women underscore the realities of getting established and being able to have their babies when the time is right for them.

There are many benefits for mothers — and fathers — who wait until they are older. I outlined one of them for women whether single or partnered in more detail in “Want to Make More Money? Have Babies After 30.” But what are the benefits for the children of “older” mothers?

Children of Older Mothers

Benefits for Children of “Older Mothers”

Are you planning to have children later in life? Listen to what Janet Jackson says about pregnancy after 40



Studies in recent years counter some negative stereotypes of “older” mothers and highlight the benefits for their children.

1. Children are likely to have positive long-term outcomes.

Using data from Sweden, the study “Advanced Maternal Age and Offspring Outcomes: Reproductive Aging and Counterbalancing Period Trends” looked at how secular improvements — advancements in public health, for example — may “outweigh the disadvantages that have been shown to be associated with being born to an older mother.” They found that fertility postponement — due to such factors as more career opportunities for women and birth control — even to age 40 and beyond, “is associated with positive long-term outcomes for children.”

When the researchers analyzed data from siblings who essentially had a similar home environment, they noted that the sibling born when the mother was older was taller, stayed in the educational system longer, was more likely to attend university, and performed better on standardized tests than the siblings born when their mother was younger.

Barclay and Myrskylä wrote, “We found no substantively or statistically significant disadvantage for outcomes in adulthood for those born to older mothers, not even for those born to mothers aged 45 or older… These results are also likely to apply to other countries where health is improving and education is expanding.” Their findings were supported and augmented in several studies.

Lack of a mother’s love impacts children. Read on Ways In Which Lack Of A Mother’s Love Affects Her Daughter’s Entire Life

2. Children acquire more advanced language skills.

When Jessica Harding and her colleagues investigated “The Relationship Between Maternal Education and Children’s Academic Outcomes,” they found that because older mothers have probably stayed in school longer, they have and use more extensive vocabularies when interacting with their children, starting at very young ages. The study makes clear that enriched language skills are “a crucial component of children’s cognitive skills,” which is evident in how they perform in school. In short, “Children exposed to more enriched language environments demonstrate more advanced language abilities.”

Additionally, the researchers point out, “Mothers with higher levels of education likely have many friends and family members with high levels of education to act as role models to their children.” With a college-educated mother, a child is exposed to the kinds of nourishing influences that promote academic success.

3. Children do well academically across the board.

Harding’s study, reported in The Journal of Marriage and Family, concluded that on many levels children reap the benefits of their mothers’ education — from preschool through adolescence — on cognitive tests, achievement tests, SATs, and are more likely to go to college, a finding that replicates aspects of the Swedish study.

4. Children are on the receiving end of educational and emotional support.

Similarly, Pamela Davis-Kean from the University of Michigan found, “Parents’ education and family income influence children’s achievement indirectly through educational expectations and parenting behaviors that stimulate reading and constructive play and provide emotional support in the home.” Her study, “The Influence of Parent Education and Family Income on Child Achievement: The Indirect Role of Parental Expectations and the Home Environment” reported in the Journal of Family Psychology, looked at how specific parenting beliefs and behaviors affect a child’s development. The children were 8 to 12-year-olds.

Children mimic their parent’s behavior. So, be careful about bad parenting. Here are 11 Signs of Bad Parenting! Are You Guilty of Them?

Assessments were made on: reading — how often a child read for pleasure and how many books were in the home; parent-child play behavior, recording parent participation and interaction, including how often they played together with board games, in sports, on computers, or doing arts and crafts; and finally, parental warmth was measured by tone of voice and frequency of praise. Children’s achievement was then measured, supporting Davis-Kean’s theory that “parents’ education influences child achievement indirectly through its impact on the parents’ achievement beliefs and stimulating home behaviors.”

In summarizing the study, Davis-Kean said, “Parents’ educational attainment seems to be a major variable in children’s well-being in general.”

Parents who overvalue children are doing more damage than good. Here’s How Parents Create Narcissistic Children

5. Children are likely to receive more parental time and attention.

Like one of the women in the CBS segment, more moms who choose to start families later have made strides in or met their career goals, saved money from being in the workforce longer, or increased their earning potential before having babies. Such situations often give parents more dollars to invest in their children and provide a sense of security and stability. Adding to a child’s feeling of stability is the fact that older mothers are more likely to be married.

Older mothers — and fathers — who are less worried about their earning potential, or less pulled or stressed by their jobs, tend to be more patient and can spend more time with their offspring.

6. Older mothers are projected to live long lives, to be there for their children.

Contrary to some arguments, advances in healthcare and people’s attitudes about exercise and staying fit indicate that older mothers live a long time. A study in Menopause Journal examined older mothers’ life expectancy and found that women who had their last child after the age of 33 are likely to live to 95. In fact, researchers reported that these women had twice the chance of living to 95 or older than those who had their last child before their 30th birthday. The good news for women having babies after 40 is similar.

Parents’ longevity aside, what child wouldn’t benefit from the likely advantages? Taken as a whole, the evidence points to solid, sensible support for having babies later if that’s what you choose, or if life circumstances delay starting your family.


Written By: Susan Newman Ph.D
Originally Appeared On Psychologytoday.com

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
Resources
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​
 

You May Also Like

 
6 Benefits for Children of “Older Mothers”
6 Benefits for Children of Older Mothers

— Share —

Responses

Leave a Reply



Up Next

5 Steps To Raise An Emotionally Intelligent Child

Steps To Raise An Emotionally Intelligent Child

Raising an emotionally intelligent child can seem challenging, but honestly, it doesn’t have to be. This article is going to talk about the importance of nurturing emotional intelligence in children, and how it can help them thrive emotionally, as well as socially.

5 Steps To Raise An Emotionally Intelligent Child

1. Acknowledge your child’s perspective and empathize.

Even if you can’t “do anything” about your child’s upsets, empathize. Just being understood helps humans let go of troubling emotions.

If your child’s upset seems out of proportion to



Up Next

How to Raise Competent Children: 12 Expert Tips Every Parent Needs to Know

How To Raise Competent Children? Expert Tips

Raising a competent child is every parent’s dream, isn’t it? However, it can sometimes feel like a daunting task. With these 12 practical and easy-to-follow tips, you will be better equipped to raise competent children, and help them thrive in every aspect of their lives.

Competence in adults is a prerequisite to achieving professional and personal success. But what is competence in children?

Competent children are able to handle emotional challenges well enough to tackle the age-appropriate tasks of each stage of development, master them, and emerge with greater confidence. They have the emotional intelligence to manage themselves and to get along with others.

Children who see themselves as competent feel capable and powerful. They’re more likely to be resourceful, to believe in themsel



Up Next

How To Forgive Narcissistic Parents: 8 Ways To Heal And Move Forward

How To Forgive Narcissistic Parents: Tips To Find Healing

Dealing with narcissistic parents is tough, and trying to forgive them for the way they have treated you can feel impossible and unfair, especially if they are not sorry for their actions. So, how to forgive narcissistic parents?

Forgiving narcissistic parents is important for your own mental and emotional well-being. Always remember that you are not alone, and there are ways to find peace and healing, even when they don’t change.

Today, we are going to help you navigate the tricky waters of forgiveness, offering 8 practical steps to heal and move forward. Whether you are still struggling with past trauma or dealing with your parents now, be rest assured, these tips can help you feel empowered.

So, are you ready to start? Let’s go!



Up Next

11 Effects Of A Narcissistic Parent on Their Children: Parenting Poison

Effects Of A Narcissistic Parent: Parenting Poison

Growing up with a narcissistic parent can leave deep scars that shape who you become. The effects of a narcissistic parent can sneak into every part of your life, from how you see yourself to how you connect with others.

If you have ever felt like you’re constantly seeking approval, struggling to set boundaries, or dealing with a never-ending fear of abandonment, then you are not alone. These are just a few ways narcissistic parents damage their children.

Today, we are going to explore how it feels to be children of narcissistic parents and the damage they cause.

Related:



Up Next

5 Types Of Moms Who Raise Happy, Healthy Kids — According To A Therapist

Different Types Of Moms That Raise Healthy Kids

Wondering what kind of mom helps raise healthy kids? A therapist shares insights on 5 different types of moms who create a nurturing environment for their children.

These women aren’t overindulgent, uninvolved, or authoritarian — but they are not perfect, either. So how do they do it?

I cringe at the word “amazing” when used to describe moms. When I hear it, I think of the women who feel intimidated and inadequate just hearing this overused term. I certainly do. 

Let’s face it, motherhood is not for the weak and squeamish, and even on our best days as mothers we can fail one moment and succeed brilliantly the next.



Up Next

15 Ways To Keep Your Child From Developing An Eating Disorder

Eating Disorders: Ways To Protect Your Child From This

Many of us, including our kids, struggle with unhealthy diets and lack of exercise. This worrying trend leads to children developing an eating disorder, leading experts to believe that our current generation may be less healthy than their parents. Let’s find out more about children and eating disorders.

In this culture, unfortunately, many of us eat diets that aren’t very healthy, and we don’t get enough exercise. That’s true for our kids, too. In fact, experts suggest that this is the first generation that’s less healthy than their parents.

Even worse, when you mix our cultural obsession with thinness with emotional immaturity and how disconnected we often are from our own bodies, it’s a perfect storm for eating disorders.

Guess how many kids growing up in the US today develop some kin



Up Next

4 Easy Habits to Build Your Child’s Self Esteem with Your Words

Easy Habits to Build Your Child's Self Esteem with Words

Building your child’s self esteem is easier than you might think, and it all starts with the words you choose. Here are 4 simple habits that can help empower your child and boost their confidence and self-worth. Let’s find out how to empower your child by just making a few tweaks in your daily conversations!

We’re our child’s first teachers. They learn everything from us: what’s up or down, red or blue, right or wrong. They believe what we tell them, and rely on us to interpret the world: “That’s HOT, Don’t touch!… Now we wash our hands … We can walk now that the light is green … We always … We never … This is how we do it … The sky is blue.”

So what happens when they hear: “You’d lose your head if it wasn’t glued on … That was a dumb thing to do … You drive me crazy … Why can’t you … You ne