Discover more from Understandably by Bill Murphy Jr.
Have a kid in your 40s, they said. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
Today’s newsletter is dedicated to all the older parents out there...
A study out of Denmark tracked 4,741 mothers ranging from 17 to 47 years old, and found that those who'd waited until later in life to have kids were more likely to create environments that led to happier and more successful children.
Specifically, the study found that parents who had reached “older maternal age,” which was defined variably but appears to mean becoming a parent in their 30s or 40s, were less likely to yell at their children or impose physical punishment than younger parents.
That, in turn, led to “improved psychosocial health in families beyond the preschool years,” and “fewer behavioral, social and emotional difficulties in children at age 7 and at age 11.”
The older mom advantage
In fairness, the effect tended to wear off by the time children turned 15. However, doing the math here, a 17-year-old who becomes a mother would be 32 by then.
So it's unclear whether the “older mom advantage” disappears later in life, or whether it's more a factor of younger moms simply becoming older moms themselves. Also, teenagers amirite?
As the researchers noted:
With a few notable exceptions, empirical studies generally find adaptive benefits of older maternal age when examining psychosocial aspects of the transition to parenthood, such as lower levels of pregnancy worry, more positive affect toward parenting, and more positive parenting behaviors.
(I removed the scholarly citations, because who are we kidding? But you can find the whole thing here.)
Most moms? Over 30
As my former colleague Julie Scagell pointed out in an article on the study on Scary Mommy:
"Women have historically been told getting pregnant later in life is going to be harder on us and our babies.
We get the proverbial 'clock is ticking' conversation from our great aunt at the family reunion—a reminder that we, and our eggs, aren't getting any younger."
Much like in the United States, however, the Danish researchers pointed out that older moms are more of a norm now they then were not long ago. The majority of first-time Danish moms are over 30, and there are four times as many first-time 40-year-old moms as there were in 1985.
For all these benefits however, as an older dad myself, allow me to testify that being an older parent is no cakewalk.
Having become a parent for the first time at age 44, all the little physical aches and pains that come with being an adult simply hurt a little bit more.
Between sleep deprivation and my natural hypochondria, I was convinced at one point that a recurring pain in my left arm was probably cancer. But then, my doctor pointed out, “no it’s probably because you always carry your 20-pound daughter on your left side.”
Anyway, the study makes sense, if only for the fact that most of us mellow out a bit as we get older. Things simply don't bother us as much as they did when we were younger, and maybe we're a little less likely to freak out or overreact to the daily crises of parenting.
And it turns out, that's good for our kids.
Call for comments: Agree? Disagree? Did you have kids at a young age, older age, or not at all? How about your parents? And did age matter one way or another? Let us know.
7 other things worth knowing today
Concerned that long supply lines would be harder to maintain in any conflict of the future, the U.S. Army has started taking military cooks out in the field to teach them ethical foraging skills: how to find and prepare meals for soldiers in remote locations who need protein-rich nutrition. (WSJ)
Amazon is facing a lawsuit accusing it of selling so-called suicide kits, brought by the families of two teenagers who bought sodium nitrite on the company's website and later used it to take their own lives. "This is different from them selling rope, knives, or other implements that can be used for death because there is no household use for [sodium nitrite] at the level of purity (98-99%) it sells it," their lawyer said. (NPR)
After 112 days of near solitary existence among ferocious waves, Irish adventurer Damian Browne became the first person to row unsupported across the Atlantic from New York City to Galway. The feat is all the more notable because Browne cannot swim — and he doesn’t plan to learn anytime soon. (WashPost)
Eighteen and a half acres, 500 hundred trees, 5,000 thousand shrubs. All immaculately maintained to serve as the background for historical events, nightly cable news hits and visitor selfies. The green thumbs steering that horticultural enterprise belong to Dale Haney, the White House grounds superintendent who recently marked his 50th year working on the property. (WashPost)
Some cruise lines struggling to fill up are offering fall deals for as low as $26 a day. Example: November 28 to December 2 Carnival cruise to the Bahamas from Florida, averages $104 per person for a two-person room, or $26 a day. After taxes, fees, and port expenses, however, the cruise is about $507. (Business Insider)
Just when you thought the summer of tourists behaving badly was over, another person on vacation wrecks another priceless artifact. This time it's the turn of an American tourist who smashed no fewer than two ancient Roman sculptures into pieces at the Vatican on Wednesday. The man had demanded to see the pope, according to newspaper Il Messaggero. When he was told he couldn't, he allegedly hurled one Roman bust to the floor. (CNN)
"Meet Cassie, the Usain Bolt of robots." Actually I don't love that headline because this robot that resembles an “ostrich without a head,” isn't anywhere near as fast as Bolt, but it still ran 100 meters in 24.73 seconds, record for a bipedal robot, and faster than a heck of a lot of people could run if they were being like, chased by a robot. (MSN)
Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Unsplash. I wrote about some of this at Inc.com. See you in the comments!