New study suggests older mothers are better mothers

Research shows children of older mothers had fewer behavioral, social and emotional problems compared to children of younger mothers.
By Amy Wallace   |   March 21, 2017 at 1:49 PM
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March 21 (UPI) -- A new study by Danish researchers suggests older mothers may be better at handling the early stages of motherhood and have a more positive parenting attitude.

More and more women are choosing to have children later in life, with the average age of pregnancy in Denmark at 30.9 years and the proportion of children whose mother was over 40 when they were born quadrupling there since 1985.

While older mothers are at an increased risk of pregnancy complications, miscarriage, premature birth and having children with birth defects, researchers at Aarhus University also found that older mothers are less likely to punish or scold their children and that the children had fewer behavioral, social and emotional issues growing up.

The study analyzed whether the older maternal age of 4,741 mothers was associated with less use of punishments and positive child outcomes at age 7, 11 and 15. Research data was obtained through interviews and self-reporting questionnaires from mothers.

The study found older mothers thrive better during the beginnings of motherhood and worry less about pregnancy. They also have more positive feelings about becoming parents and have a more positive attitude toward their children.

"We know that people become more mentally flexible with age, are more tolerant of other people and thrive better emotionally themselves," Dion Sommer, professor at Aarhus University, said in a press release. "That's why psychological maturity may explain why older mothers do not scold and physically discipline their children as much."

Older mothers are often in more stable relationships, are more educated and have better access to maternal resources than younger mothers.

The study was published in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology.

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