Older mums are better mums says new study

Older women make better mums with their children displaying fewer behavioural, social and emotional difficulties, a new study reveals.

Monday, 3rd April 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:49 pm
Older mums are better mums says new study

However whilst the children were ahead of those with younger mums at age seven and 11, by the time they hit 15 there was no longer any difference.

The Danish researchers found that older mums worry less during pregnancy, are more positive about becoming parents and generally have a more positive attitude towards their children.

Older mums tend to be in more stable relationships, are better educated and better off.

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But whether they have all that or not, they also have what the team dubbed ‘psychological maturity’, according to the study.

This makes them more tolerant and emotionally stable and they tend to scold and discipline their children less.

The University of Aarhus researchers say that the average pregnancy age in Denmark is 30.9 with the number of mums over 40 quadrupling since 1985.

A random population sample of 4,741 mothers from the Danish Longitudinal Survey of Children was used with face to face interviews and self-reporting questionnaires.

The associations reported were significant independently of all observed demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

Professor Dion Sommer said that despite the results of the study, published in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology, women should look at the health issues surrounding having children later in life.

They are at greater risk of having a miscarriage, giving birth prematurely and having children with deformities.

He added: “However when estimating the consequences of the rising maternal age it’s important to consider both the physical and psychosocial pros and cons.

“The new results indicate that the advantages for the older mothers and their children extend all the way into the children’s school age, but decline before age 15.

“Mothers have children later in life than before. We live longer, women have more educational and career opportunities, and contraception has improved.

“Older women thrive better during the first part of motherhood.

“They worry less during the pregnancy, are more positive about becoming parents and generally have a more positive attitude towards their children.

“This study tracked children of school age and found that children with older mothers had fewer behavioural, social and emotional problems at age seven and 11, but not at age 15.”

He said that despite all the advantages of age, it still can be interpreted on its own as an indicator of psychological maturity.

He added: “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.

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