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ZEPHYRA's avatar

Is his opinion correct? (Details inside)

Asked by ZEPHYRA (21582points) June 5th, 2012

My very young-looking, healthy cousin of 40 has met a gentleman of 53years old. Both of them had been through difficult times with previous relationships and it finally seems as though they found love, understanding and support in each other. Financially they are okay but the problem is the gentleman desperately wants a family even at this late stage. My cousin believes it’s far too late for both of them even to be thinking of such a thing. She correctly claims that the poor child will have “grandparents” instead of parents and that it just wouldn’t be fair on the child. He on the other side state that he is psychologically, financially and emotionally stable to make such a move and that it has been his life dream which for some or other reason never materialized. Just speaking about having a child makes him beam all over and brings tears to his eyes. He says that despite a few minor health problems of his, he is more than ready to face this chapter of his life and that my cousin is over-reacting especially since she is younger than he is. Well, what do you think, is this a selfish way of looking at things?????

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21 Answers

Aethelflaed's avatar

Is he talking adoption, or her being pregnant?

chyna's avatar

If your cousin doesn’t want children, for whatever reason she deems relevant, she shouldn’t have them. Maybe a different route would be to adopt or foster an older child. But if this man is set on having his own children and your cousin isn’t, then they should part ways. Their goals aren’t the same.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

His opinion is correct and so is hers because there is no ‘correct’ thing to do in this case. Both partners should be on board with the baby idea, though, and I agree with @chyna – if they can’t agree, they probably will run into further trouble.

wundayatta's avatar

Absolutely not selfish! Disclaimer. I was 40 when I had my first. But in fact, older parents are better parents. They are better off and better able to handle the problems of parenting. They are less likely to get angry. They solve problems better.

He is not being selfish. Of course, neither is she being selfish if she doesn’t want kids. She does not owe him children.

The issue of children has nothing to do with age, these days, so long as the kids are provided for well enough. What it has to do with is whether the parents both want kids. If they both want kids, great. If one does not, then this is something they need to sort out really, really fast. If she wants to, she should. If she doesn’t, she has to make it clear to him, so that he can decide if he wants to find someone else who is interested in kids.

josie's avatar

Not sure how it would be unfair to the child to have caring parents.
But as stated above, both points of view are valid. The only real issue is can they agree on the issue. Disagreements about children and money can be game stoppers.

ucme's avatar

His opinion is entirely irrelevant until such time mutual agreement can be met, either way, it’s her body & for that reason alone she holds sway.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it is fine to have a baby at this point, but if your cousin doesn’t want children simply because she doesn’t, that is reason enough not to have them whether she is 20 or 40. Not that it isn’t unreasonable to just feel like age alone is enough not to have them, anyone can have any reason for not having children and I would think it valid, because it is their life and children are a huge committment. But, if she wants children she should not let her age stand in the way. 40 is still young. 60 is usually young for most people, and her kids will be in college by then. Parenting as an older adult with financially stability means a better understanding of life, and the ability to hire help if you need it.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Oh, she loves kids, she just feels “old”, scared and maybe that they won’t have the energy to deal with it. She says she feels sorry for the child who may be embarrassed having such old parents later on.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ZEPHYRA It’s too bad she’s got those hang-ups as none of it sounds like a reason to NOT have kids – perhaps, a little later on in the relationship, if he sticks with her, he can inspire her with his energy.

marinelife's avatar

I think as long as he has preparations to care for the child financially and makes provisions for guardianship in case the worst happens that he should be able to have a child if he wants to. On the other hand, your cousin should be free not to have a child. I think that this could be a deal-breaker issue for their romance.

wundayatta's avatar

Her kids won’t be embarrassed about her. And there are more elderly parents around than you might think. A majority of parents in my children’s school are in their forties and fifties, I would guess. Younger parents probably don’t have a good enough income to be able to afford the school. We never could have when we were younger.

The energy issue is real, but you also have to look at the advantages of being an older parent. You’re wiser and more patient, and you can head off problems younger parents never see coming. Older parents are probably correlated with some good outcomes for kids, like higher test scores or something. Someone should check that out though.

The kids will be embarrassed of their parents, but not because they are old. That’s just the way kids are when they are teenagers. It’ll happen no matter what. But after that, I bet the kids will appreciate the parents more. Also, the kids will probably be more polite and well-behaved. It’s a big advantage be be an older parent in most areas. The only place it isn’t an advantage is in running around or playing sports with the kid. But so what?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The fact is that the cousin is not too old to have a child. Women do this without any complications and most make wonderful parents. If I were in her shoes, here are the factors that I would consider:

* Unless evidence has changed, a woman having a child for the first time at 40 or over runs a greater risk of complications for the child and/or the mother.
* How would I feel about being a single parent if the father were to up and leave or die?
* How would I feel about having the father bring up the child if something were to happen to me and he is much older?
* Having a child would drastically change my/our lifestyle. Do we both have a realistic understanding of what this will look like? What if the child has a physical or mental disability?
* What are the financial challenges in providing for this child should it have a disability or if one or both of the parents become incapacitated or die?

These are the factors that the cousin and her beau should be discussing.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

His opinion is right for him but it’s not right for your cousin because having kids is deeply personal, not an obligation or responsibility to provide for others. As the female, that’s a heavy emotional weight on her if she’s been looking forward to her 40’s as being her “me or me & lover” years.

As for older than 30’s people becoming parents, there’s a ton! Look how many grandparents have been housing and raising infants of their children. My own grandparents became my parents in their 40’s and they both say it was a better experience than when they were younger parents. I never thought they were “old” either.

keobooks's avatar

If they are not on the same page about kids, they shouldn’t be together, IMO. Thousands of people can go on and on about how you can have a kid after 40, but it’s not going to change her mind. If he really wants kids, he should go find someone out there who has the same opinion he does.

filmfann's avatar

When you get married, it is important to make sure your are with someone compatible.
Disagreeing on whether to have children is very important, and damages their compatibility.

keobooks's avatar

I was just thinking – the way this question is worded kinda bothers me “Is his opinion correct?” Well, of course it is. It’s a valid opinion. He’s allowed to have it. It works for many people. It worked for my family. That doesn’t mean that your cousin is wrong. It just means they are mismatched.

My husband and I had different opinions on kids. The only reason I thought it didn’t matter was because I was told I couldn’t have kids by my doctor. My daughter was a surprise. LUCKILY, my husband found out he loves having kids. We got really lucky on that one. It could have been a disaster.

I think though when it’s the woman who doesn’t want kids, it’s a different story. As much as I love my daughter, I really hated being pregnant at 39. It was a physical nightmare. If I had to do it all over again to get HER, I would. If I had to do it all over again to get a sibling for her—I really doubt it even though my husband and I would love her to have a sibling.

I am surprised that I am the one balking on it. If someone just handed me a baby, I’d do it. But 10 months is a long-ass time to be miserable and I was miserable enough not to want to ever ever do it again.

Anyway, you may be able to warm a guy up to being a dad, but warming up a woman to be a mom AND suffer through a late in life pregnancy—I wouldn’t want that job.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I don’t blame your cousin for feeling the way she does and seeing as she is the one that will be carrying it, I can completely understand why, at 40, she doesn’t want to put her body through that. Whilst, I know plenty of great older mothers, in general, I don’t think it is wise to have a child once you hit the 40’s, not for you or your child and I agree that it’s not fair on the child to have parents that are old enough to be their grandparents.

Whilst I’ll probably get some flack for this, I think it is easier for older men to be new parents than older women.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Mom was 37 when I was born, and that was in 1962. Both of my sisters and my SIL had children when they were 40 or over. In all four of these cases, they had already had children. None of them had any complications, and none of the children, including me, have ever looked at our parents as too old to bring us up properly or be embarrassed by their age, despite friends having much younger parents. One has a father who was about 50 when she was born. Her dad is still very much alive at 71 and takes his grandson on outings. For us, it just is.

If the cousin does not want to bear a child for any reason, then I agree with those that say it should be her choice. So far from @ZEPHYRA‘s posts, She correctly claims that the poor child will have “grandparents” instead of parents and that it just wouldn’t be fair on the child. This is false. It takes a lot more than age for a child to feel resentful of their parents.

Later, she states, Oh, she loves kids, she just feels “old”, scared and maybe that they won’t have the energy to deal with it. She says she feels sorry for the child who may be embarrassed having such old parents later on. The ‘possibility to not have the energy to deal with it’ stance may hold some ground, but that seems to depend upon individual parents’ existing or possible genetic health concerns.

There are many factors to take into consideration. At the ages of 40 and 52, age should be the least of their concerns.

keobooks's avatar

@Leanne1986 I take offense to your “I know plenty of great older mothers, but in general…” I have high school classmates that have grandchildren older than my daughter. Granted that’s because they had their kids in high school… but some of your statements felt like direct personal attacks – because I am exactly who you are describing. Other people could think “Hey, you’re talking about ME” or “You’re talking about my MOM there.”

There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to every age to have kids. I don’t think older parents inherently mean you get a bum deal. I think my daughter would have gotten a lower quality mom if I had her younger.

In my teens, I would have been one of the classic teen moms who goes out on the town partying and leaving their kids with random relatives trying to pretend I didn’t have a kid.

In my twenties, I would have really resented having a kid. I was busy traveling around the country and performing onstage. I did NOT want the responsibility of a kid and I would have had to either seriously cramp my lifestyle and give up stuff or do the classic teen mom thing and leave her at the doorstop of relatives.

In my thirties, I would have been too darned busy for kids. I went back to college and was still traveling around the country.

Now I’m 41 and done traveling and done most of the stuff I wanted to do. This is the right age for ME and I think my daughter is getting a better quality mom because I’m more focused on her than pining away for lost opportunities or dreams.

I think of how many countless people who have told me stories about how their mothers resented them when they were kids because their moms had to give up so many things to be a mom. My daughter won’t feel that pain. I think that’s a distinct advantage to being older that you can’t fake in the younger ages—well, unless you’re uncreative and don’t have enough wild ideas and dreams to fill out that many years.

It’s not up to other people to decide what’s best for the people directly involved with a decision. It would be easy to tell disabled people that it’s not fair to the kids to have “crippled” parents. Or you could tell the interracial couple that it wasn’t fair to the kids to be “mixed race”. You might think it’s OK because you don’t have those particular prejudices, but someone out there does. It’s not really any of your business or my business what people decide to do about having kids unless they do such a horrible job that social services must intervene.

wundayatta's avatar

The more children older parents have, the happier they are compared to those with no children, says this study,. Parents over the age of 40 enjoy their children more than those who are younger, and they enjoy having more children even more.

In comparison, parents in their twenties and thirties do not enjoy their kids as much.

This article from the Ohio State University Extension offers these reasons why being an older parent is better:

Midlife parenthood has so many rewards that people feel the benefits outweigh the risks. It’s easier to relax and have fun with your children when you know you have the resources to care for them. Age also brings self-knowledge and control, and you are less likely to project your own longings onto your children to fulfill your needs. Older parents can still maintain their careers if they choose because they have the resources to afford good child care – something they might not have been able to do in their 20s.

And of course, the maturity level of older parents is a definite asset. They are past feeling like kids who still need to be parented and can move right into a positive parenting role. Older parents are more calm, confident, and able to go with the flow. Babies can sense this.

To me, the question really is why would you want to have children when you are young? Older parents are so much better equipped to be parents. Yes, the young can run around, but they have few resources and less wisdom and don’t know how to parent as well. Any prejudice against older parents is just that: pure prejudice. It is not based on the facts.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@keobooks I am sorry that you took offense to my opinion and, rereading it, I didn’t mean it to sound as harsh as it did. However, for the most part, my opinion still stands and it is based on conversations that I have had with older parents (and their kids at times). Whilst they are all great parents they admit that they wished they had children in their younger years when they had more energy. My best friend, who’s dad is in his late 70’s, worries that he won’t be around for as long as her friend’s dads will be, can you blame her for feeling that way when most of the people that she know’s of the same age as her have dads that are at least 20 years younger than hers?

My opinion is just that, an opinion and it is based on a handful of people that I have spoken to. It doesn’t mean that I am right as I haven’t spoken to a massive number of people about it but, if I were to have children myself, then I would take into consideration the advice I have received from these people. In fact, everyone I know who has had kids (either in their younger years or slightly older) have said that, if they were to do it all over again they think that 33–37 would be the best age to start a family. Also, all of the mums I know that gave birth in their 40’s have said it took a much greater toll on their body and recovery took much longer. That could be a coincidence but it is still enough to make me think that I wouldn’t want to put my own body through pregnancy and labour when I get to my 40’s.

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