Ditch Your Biological Clock—Science Says Older Moms Are Better Parents

Updated: Mar. 06, 2024

Promising findings for women who had their kids at 35 and older.

momRido/ShutterstockAmerican women are waiting longer than ever to have kids, which is changing families, lives, and economies. Such a shift is largely driven by more women getting an education and entering the workforce, causing them to marry and start having kids later in life. Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that, from 2000 to 2014, the amount of first births of women aged 30 to 34 increased 28 percent, and those over age 35 went up 23 percent.

Turns out the kids born to women 35 years and up are reaping the benefits, reports a new study, conducted at the School of Business and Social Sciences at Aarhus University in Denmark. The study authors determined that older mothers were light on physical and verbal discipline of their children when they were between seven and 11-years old. Meanwhile, children of these specific ages showed “fewer behavioral, social and emotional difficulties,” than others.

According to the researchers, it seems older mothers have more stable relationships, more education, and more material resources. But such factors aside, they believe older mothers’ maturity makes way for less stress during pregnancy, and more positivity in their attitude about parenthood and their kids in general.

“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,” notes one of the researchers Professor Dion Sommer. “This style of parenting can thereby contribute to a positive psychosocial environment which affects the children’s upbringing.”

Weighing in on the study’s findings, Michael J. Breus, PhD, attributes older moms having greater socioeconomic stability and better education to the ability to aid their offspring in avoiding behavioral, social, and emotional struggles. The issues I would be concerned about would be the health aspects of older pregnancy for both the mother and child.”

Though getting pregnant and having children at 35 or older certainly comes with health risks, the study’s findings are good news for older moms nonetheless.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest