The Unique Struggles and Benefits Older Parents Face

The number of older parents is on the rise. Many more women are waiting until their 30s and 40s to have babies, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control. When planning your family's future, consider the unique struggles and benefits older parents face.

Financial Security

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The first benefit of having children later in life is financial security. Older parents who've waited to have children have likely spent most of their adult lives working. They're more likely to have already climbed the career ladder and feel financially ready to raise children.

Financial security helps defray the high costs of raising a child but also allows parents to be prepared for unexpected expenses and college tuition.

More Time to Spend With the Kids

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With financial security can come more time to spend with the kids. Those countless hours and late nights at the office may equate to a lot of accumulated vacation time and personal days.

Even if one parent gives up their job to become a stay-at-home parent, their partner may have several weeks of time to take off for family vacations or to help out at home when the kids are sick. Those extra days add up when you compare them to a younger parent who may only get five paid days off of work per year.​​

A Greater Appreciation for Being a Parent

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If you've been waiting most of your life to have a baby, your appreciation for that child grows even deeper once they arrive. Research has found that older parents tend to be more positive in their parenting roles. That positive parenting attitude may translate into kids that grow up to have fewer behavioral, social or emotional difficulties.

Older parents usually spend years, even decades, planning for their babies, saving money to spend on their babies and simply dreaming about their future children. This extra planning may give them a greater appreciation of the joys of parenthood once that baby is in their arms.

Stable Relationships

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Kids are wonderful, miraculous beings. They can also put even the strongest relationships to the test. It's easy to lash out at your spouse because your fussy baby has kept you up all night or your once-sweet child has suddenly decided to turn into the smart-aleck teenager you used to be.

Many older parents have been together a while and/or have vast support networks of friends and family ready to support them through parenting. They may have waited to have children, but they know their own strengths and weakness as individuals and as a couple, and that can play to their advantage over a younger couple who may not have been together as long or weathered as many storms.

More Life Experience

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Younger and older parents have the same experience as a mom or dad before their first child is born: zero. However, older parents may have a decade or more of life experience. An older parent tends to approach parenthood with more maturity based on both age and that life experience.

There are a number of perks that come with the extra years of being an adult. They include knowing who you are as a person and not feeling like you've missed anything in your life because you had children so young. You are better able to handle medical, school, and day-to-day situations with less drama, more knowledge, and calmness.

Generations Gap

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There are plenty of downsides older parents face as well, such as a generations, yes, generations gap. When they're graduating high school, you'll be the age of most other kids' grandparents.

But not only are you a generation older, more than likely you're generations older than your child. Even parents in their twenties sometimes feel out of touch with what's going on when it comes to their children. But older parents may be three to four decades apart from their kids, making their gap even larger.


A picture of exhausted parents with a baby

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You may not want to admit it, but you've been on the planet a long time. You're pretty tired, and that exhaustion will be magnified once you have kids. As babies turn into toddlers and toddlers turn into sprinting kids, you may wish someone would put you down for a nap. Kids have endless energy, and, unfortunately, grown-ups, especially older ones, don't.

Most parents experience tiredness, but you're more prone to experience parental exhaustion as an older parent.

Health Concerns

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Not only do you have to worry about your child's health, but you may also be concerned about your own health. Parents of any age can face health issues, but older parents are at an increased risk of medical problems simply because they're aging. You're also slowing down, getting more tired, and sometimes just need to take a physical break more than your younger parent counterparts.

Being Set in Your Ways

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You may have done everything your way for a long time now. You may be set in your ways, and now there are these tiny people who are tearing up the house that used to be spotless as well as interrupting your scheduled plans with public tantrums that cause you to have to leave your favorite places early. Being an older parent requires many adjustments to the life you once knew and were accustomed to for so long.

Taking Care of Your Parents While Raising Kids

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Older parents may find themselves raising young children and caring for their own parents at the same time. It's so common, it's even got a name: the Sandwich Generation. Your time has to be split between caring for everyone, and that can leave you with a more hectic, emotionally and physically draining lifestyle than a mom who's in their twenties.

Younger parents may also be able to rely on grandparents for child care and other financial and emotional support. But your children's grandparents are older, and may not be able to help out as much (even if they don't require a lot of your time and care).

9 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. US Department of Agriculture. 2015 expenditures on children by families.

  3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. A look at consolidated leave plans in 2018.

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  5. Zondervan-Zwijnenburg MAJ, Veldkamp SAM, Neumann A, et al. Parental age and offspring childhood mental health: A multi-cohort, population-based investigation. Child Dev. 2020;91(3):964-982. doi:10.1111/cdev.13267

  6. Rush Medical Center. Keep your energy as you age.

  7. Niccoli T, Partridge L. Ageing as a risk factor for disease. Curr Biol. 2012;22(17):R741-52.  doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.07.024

  8. Ersche KD, Lim TV, Ward LHE, Robbins TW, Stochl J. Creature of habit: a self-report measure of habitual routines and automatic tendencies in everyday life. Pers Individ Dif. 2017;116:73-85.  doi:10.1016/j.paid.2017.04.024

  9. American Psychological Association. Sandwich generation moms feeling the squeeze.

By Apryl Duncan
Apryl Duncan is a stay-at-home mom and internationally-published writer with years of experience providing advice to others like her.