The great parenting debate – when is the best time to have kids?
Some people want to settle down and have kids in their 20's, claiming they don’t want to be “old parents”. Some people don’t want to settle down until they’re at least 30 or 40, because they want to “live their life” before they settle down and have kids. Everyone has their own reasons – but what are actually the pros and cons of having kids younger or older? Is one truly proven to be better?
Probably not, but there are definite advantages and disadvantages to each and it depends what one wants out of life and what kind of parent they want to be. Older parents can offer things to their kids that younger parents can’t and vice versa. It’s important to take a look at every reason each side has to offer and come to a decision with all the information in mind. We can’t have it both ways!
Unless we have a kid younger and then one older, I guess.
But seriously, here are ten reasons to have them young, and ten to wait for a while.
20 Older Parent: Gathering Life Experience
Life experience is one of those things that can only come with time. Experiencing different cultures, coming across different situations that one might not be used to, coming through on the other side of a hardship – all of these things contribute to life experience, and all of them will make someone a wiser person who is ready to pass that wisdom on. Generally, older people have more life experience than younger people. It’s not always true, but that’s how it usually goes and something to bear in mind.
19 Older Parent: Your Life Expectancy Will Be Higher
This might surprise some people, but according to the health section of US news, parents who have kids later in life actually have a higher life expectancy than those who have kids younger.
So if one's goal is to be around as long as possible, both for the child and for oneself, the best thing to do is actually to wait. It seems like an unexpected finding, but it’s actually been proven time and time again. Something to think about.
18 Older Parent: You Might Have A Better Income To Support Kids On
Again, it’s not always true, but as a general rule – the older you get, the more money you earn. You’ll advance in your career the further on you are in life, and those pay raises come with time if you stay at your current job. Some people end up earning more than others, sure, but very few people make less money as they get older. Children are expensive, and finances are a very important thing that must be considered. It's always better to have more money to support them.
17 Older Parent: Your Kids Will Be In Better Health
Another piece of research you might not expect – NBC News found that kids are healthier if they’re born to older parents. They tend to have fewer problems and overall come out to have a better quality of life with less treatment needed. So, in general, if your kid’s health is your absolute top priority, it’s actually better to have them when you’re older. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee them a perfectly healthy life, but the research is strong enough to make it a factor.
16 Older Parent: Your Kids Will Do Better Academically
Psychology Today found that children do better academically if they’re born to older parents. I guess older parents teach them to have a better attention span?
It’s another piece of surprising research since no one would automatically think that parents' ages would affect this aspect of a child's development and yet, research has shown that it does indeed. It’s showing us that there are plenty of reasons to wait to have a child, and there’s no need to feel pressured.
15 Older Parent: You Might Have More Attention To Spend On Your Child
Older parents generally have more out of the way that they wanted to do. Young parents might still want to do things that they never got the chance to before they got pregnant – traveling, more education, or things that just don’t involve the child. There’s nothing wrong with this, and it doesn’t mean the child can’t thrive, but the truth is that older parents might just have more time to spend with a child that someone younger with ambitions yet to be fulfilled wouldn’t.
14 Older Parent: You Might Be More Emotionally Stable
The older we get, the more emotionally stable we get.
For most people, anyway!
Emotional stability is pretty much a requirement when it comes to having a child. As much as parents love their kids, they test their patience. There is no baby in the history of the world that hasn’t exhausted their parents at some point. So it’s better to be able to stay relaxed and zen in the face of trouble, and older people have more experience doing just that.
13 Older Parent: Your Partnership With Another Parent Will Be More Secure
Partnerships grow stronger with time, and the truth is that your partnership will too. As much as two people might feel in love at 20, a lot of those couples will separate. There’s nothing wrong with a child having separated parents, but sometimes those break-ups can be messy and damaging. Someone who has had a partner for a long time is much more likely to be on the same wavelength as them and have a much more peaceful, stable family to bring a child into.
12 Older Parent: You'll Have Long Since Mastered Adulting
The dreaded adulting. The things they don’t teach us in school.
Buying a place.
It takes a while to master, but those who are older probably have it down – ready to pass on the knowledge to a child and not trying to work out how to do all of that and raise a child at the same time. Adulting can be hard, and it does take a while to learn how to do it to perfection, so this is a pretty important consideration.
11 Younger Parent: Your Kids Will Keep You Young!
Your kids will keep you young! They’re going to be using technology as they grow up, using social media, and their education will be different from what yours was – they’ll be able to keep you educated on the youth of today with a closeness to that generation that you might not have had if they were closer to your age. Their energy will also keep you uplifted as you get older and you’ll be thankful for them on those days when you feel tired and down.
10 Younger Parent: The Cultural Gap Is Less Between A Young Parent And Their Child
One advantage of being a younger parent is that the cultural gap might be less. When your kid wants to use technology with you, you already know how to use it and can teach them. You probably hold similar values to your child because when it comes to education, you’ve been taught that the same things are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.
All in all, younger parents simply just might be closer to their children in experiencing the same sort of childhood.
9 Younger Parent: You Have Plenty Of Time To Have More Kids
People often feel pressured when it comes to having kids. It’s wrong, but they do, especially because often rudely ask when they’re intending on having them. If you have a kid young, you know you have plenty of time to take a few years if you want to before you have another.
That way, you can have the rest you need if you aren’t too excited at the idea of having multiple toddlers running around your house at the same time!
8 Younger Parent: You Might Be Able To Relate To Your Child More
There are problems that are pretty exclusive to stages of being a kid and a teenager – problems that stem from school, or life stages that only happen at a young age.
Young parents will have gone through these problems fairly recently, which means they’re in a much better position to empathize, and their child may listen more if they can see that this has been a fairly recent problem for their parent too. As much as it’s not fair, kids tend to roll their eyes at adults saying they understand if they think it’s been a long time since they had the same experience!
7 Younger Parent: You May Have More Physical Energy To Keep Up With Them
Younger people tend to have more physical energy, and kids have a ton of energy. I’ve watched small kids run around for ages and wondered just how they have that level of energy because I couldn’t keep up with them – let alone if I was ten or twenty years older than I am now.
That doesn’t mean older parents can’t keep up, but it will definitely be easier for younger parents and that’s just simply how it is because of how we age.
6 Younger Parent: The Kids Will Leave Home Sooner, Leaving You With More Leisure Time Later In Life
If you have kids younger in life, they’re going to go off to college sooner, or get a job and get their own place. That means you have plenty of time to enjoy your later years and can go on vacations during your retirement without worrying about leaving the kids behind! You don’t have to feel as if you missed out on leisure time when you were younger because you can have it all now – and without the added pressure of wanting kids soon. It’s all done with. Win-win!
5 Younger Parent: A Quick Pregnancy Bounce-Back
For those cis female mothers having a baby, younger bodies mean a quick pregnancy bounce-back. We shouldn’t worry about pregnancy and post-pregnancy bodies because it’s a natural, beautiful process, but we do because society has made us that way. So if that is a concern, even though it doesn’t have to be, you can bounce back easier if you’re younger and get back to how you looked before the pregnancy.
It’s a shame that has to be a worry at all but I totally understand it being so!
4 Younger Parent: Better Perspective On Life Sooner
Having a kid young means that you might skip stages some of your friends go through. While they’re out partying in their twenties and worrying about that drunk message they sent the night before, you’re at home knowing that won’t even matter to them by the time they have a child – there are so much more important things in life.
Having a child young means that you’ll mature more quickly and have a better perspective on life much sooner than those around you.
3 Younger Parent: Your Odds Of Being Around For Grandchildren And Great Grandchildren Are Higher
If your children choose to have children and their children choose to have children, you’re going to want to be around to see them. There’s a limit, of course – you sadly can’t be around for every generation – but having kids young means there’s a greater chance of you being around to see at least a couple of generations down the line.
Nothing is ever a guarantee, but this is giving you the best possible chance, so if this is important to you – it’s worth heavily considering.
2 Younger Parent: It's Sometimes Easier To Take Time Off Work Earlier In Your Career
The truth is that it’s sometimes hard to get time off work. It shouldn’t be for a pregnancy, but often, it can be, especially in certain places. When you’re earlier in your career, it’s actually sometimes easier to get time off. When you’ve been at a job for a while and they’ve become reliant on you, they might be more reluctant to give you as much time off because they’ll need a replacement.
If there are changes while you’re gone too, young people who haven’t gotten too used to the job tend to adjust to the changes more easily.
1 Younger Parent: Most Of Your Friends Might Not Have Kids Yet – Plenty Of Potential Babysitters
According to Time, women are having kids later and later. This means that younger parents are becoming way less common which means if someone falls pregnant in their early 20s or decides to have a child, they’re going to be around a lot of friends who aren’t in the same situation.
And what does this mean?
Loads of honorary aunts and uncles. Loads of people who can babysit for you when you just desperately need that little break. Don’t feel guilty – we all do.