The Unexpected Benefit Of Having Children When You're Older

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
We're often told that having a baby when you're older is worse for both mom and baby, but a new study suggests that there might actually be a huge benefit to having children after a certain age.
The study, published in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology, indicates that older mothers are less likely to yell at their children and give harsh punishments, and their children are less likely to have emotional, behavioral, and social issues.
For the study, researchers tracked nearly 5,000 mothers and their children in Denmark, examining the children at the ages of 7, 11, and 15. The older the moms were, the fewer behavioral problems their children had at ages 7 and 11. Interestingly, the same was not found for when the children were 15, though that may be a whole other issue altogether. Older mothers, the researchers found, were better at imposing behavioral boundaries on their children.
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"We know that people become more mentally flexible with age, are more tolerant of other people, and thrive better emotionally themselves," study author Dion Sommer said in a press release. "This style of parenting can thereby contribute to a positive psychosocial environment which affects the children's upbringing."
In other words, older moms were more likely to have more stable relationships and better access to resources that benefited their children. Not only did this study find that older moms were better for kids, the moms themselves were also happier during and right after their pregnancies.
While the study doesn't specify what researchers defined as an "older mother," a similar study constituted an older mom as someone over 35. Being an older mother isn't always easy, but this study sheds some insight into the idea that the "biological clock" may not be as true as we think it is.
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