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Understanding Data

Why are children of older parents better prepared for life than the offspring of younger parents?

Mike Thompson

on 25 October 2012

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Transcript of Understanding Data

Understanding Data Michael Thompson
Psychology A
Unit 4 - Lesson 1 Studies End. Reflection and Disadvantages Conclusion In Praise of Older Parents Question Sources Hypothesis Question, Hypothesis,
and Sources Why is it that children of older parents (more than 40 years old) are better adjusted, have closer ties with their parents, and are more socially skilled when they enter school than children of younger parents (less than 40 years old)? Assuming older parents have established careers and lend more life experience to their children, then the children may have more social skills going into school and have closer ties with their parents. Financial and Professional Stability

There are some great benefits to delaying having children until turning 40 or so. According to Nancy Recker, Associate Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences at Ohio State University, older parents have more control and security over their careers and finances. "Parents," she states, "feel like they have time for both their career and family." Moreover, the mother's organizational skills she carries from years of work make her a more capable manager of the children's lives. An older couple, generally, eases their financial burdens by owning a home, which supplies more money for the children's support and day care services, as well as any sports and activities they may be interested in. This scientifically significant data proves there are considerable risks and benefits involved in caring for children at an old age. Virtually all of the studies and analysises are descriptive: they talk about each of the studies shown and summarizes the data. I was partially right in believing older parents' stability and experience help shape their kids' lives, but I did not consider the negative effects they have due to their age and frailness. All in all, however, it is important note these studies are not conclusive; we can't assume the data is perfectly true, but we can make inferences based on what we know.

Nevertheless, Ed Zigler, a Yale Sterling psychology professor, warned against stereotyping older parents. "The fact is," he asserts, "some older parents stay young until they're 85, some are middle aged by the time they're 25." That is a strong note for raising the children now and the generations to come. Franks, Lucinda. "Books of The Times; Young Children, Old Parents and the Consequences."
The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Apr. 1991. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/11/books/books-of-the-times-young-children-old-parents-and-the-consequences.html?pagewanted=print>.

Krier, Beth A. "Last Chance Kids : Are Children Born to Older Parents Better Off? The Kids
Themselves Aren't So Sure, Says a New Book." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 20 July 1988. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <http://articles.latimes.com/print/1988-07-20/news/vw-5950_1_older-parents>.

Recker, Nancy. "In Praise of Older Parents." Ohio Line. Ohio State University, 2007. Web. 24
Oct. 2012. <http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/Older_Parents.pdf>. "Go with the Flow"

Being an older parent can sometimes reveal a more patient and sympathetic attitude, as opposed to a younger couple; "they are better able to go with the flow," as Recker puts it. "The farther away from childhood that you are, the easier it is to understand it. Many parents feel that if they had become parents in their twenties, they would still have been too much a child themselves to be a good parent." As they mature, older parents become less concerned about their child's development and centralize their children in their lives. "Older parents realize they don't need children to fulfill their ambitions and prove they are good people. The children are more free to grow up in a loving, supportive atmosphere. Fatherly Engagement

In a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) study, older men (baby boomer) looking to raise a family became more active teammates in parenthood and "were more sensitive during play with their children." Their mid-twentieth century fathers took up the task of heading off to work and paying for food, housing, and clothing, yet left the mother to raise the children, withholding a personal connection with the children. Today, says Recker, the father is a more active figure in the child's life and is "more committed to fatherhood." During the early 1990s, former-New York Times journalist Andrew L. Yarrow sought to discover how the children's lives--who were then mostly over 30--are affected by having older parents. His research found memories describing their influence during childhood were more positive, with an emphasis on the economic stability and the strong effect the parents had on their "maturity, personality, values and interpersonal relationships," editor Lucinda Franks observed. "Many felt highly cherished, reaping a bounty of privilege."

However, as they grew up, they found their parents had more of a negative impact on their lives, especially during adolescence. "The images," Franks stated, "that loomed repeatedly are of a tired, unavailable father hiding behind the newspaper and television screen while his energetic son yearns for him to play a game of ball; of a remote, graying mother heavily climbing the stairs in a house dress and orthopedic shoes; of overly strict old-fashioned parents out of touch with the generation they created."

Indeed, the stamina, health, and age of an older parent are also areas to consider. Recker noticed many children cannot roughhouse with their aging parents like the friends with younger parents, and a respondent to Yarrow's study wrote, "My parents were mistaken for my grandparents all the time...I was very conscious that these were old people. I was embarrassed and ashamed, and it made me feel terrible." Some have lost their adolescence to fear; "One woman," says Franks, "tells of being robbed of a healthy adolescence because she was afraid to rebel, afraid to upset her older parents, to do anything to hasten their death." This leaves a teen spending more of their time caring for their aging parents instead of spending time enjoying being an adolescent, something they can only do once.
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