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Older Dads - Bad or Good?

(12 Posts)
Eulalia Sat 01-Jun-02 16:03:59

One of the tabloid newspapers recently reported that Ken Livingstone is to be a Dad at age 57. His wife/girlfriend is aged 36. The story stated that he may find it difficult being a father because he has a heavy workload and is ‘old’. This is an issue close to my heart as I am 36 and DH is 56 and is father to our 2 children, aged nearly 3 and 6 weeks.

I wondered what others felt about ‘old’ dads. I’d particularly like to hear from those of you who had an older father yourself and how you felt about him.

This issue was discussed on a TV show which said that older fathers tended to bond well with their children, generally had more time for them, they were keener to have the children, they didn’t resent them taking up their time/space/finances and tended to be more secure stable people. Generally they were more relaxed about childcare particularly if this was their 2nd family. Financially they were often better off (having paid off the mortgage, promotion at work etc). Older can mean wiser so they were able to provide good advice to their children.

On the downside they tended not to play football in the park … and well there didn’t seem to be much else except ‘looking a bit fuddy-duddy’ and embarrassing their kids in front of their friends (but as someone pointed out ALL parents do this regardless of their age). The obvious point of course is that Dad won’t be around when the kids are older (say from around age 20 onwards), however do we have a duty to ‘be there’ for our children when they are adults themselves? And of course mum will still be around.

My DH being older hasn’t been an issue for us and I can say that he has plenty of energy (he is currently renovating our house) and he is hardly so decrepit that he couldn’t kick a football if he wanted to. (How many Dads actually do this anyway? Don’t kids what to play football with their friends?) If it is ‘wrong’ to be an older Dad then why did nature allow men to continue producing sperm and be able to procreate for basically as long as they are able to ‘do it’!?

ScummyMummy Sat 01-Jun-02 19:40:25

Depends on the person, of course! I'm sure your Dh is lovely and a great dad. The greater chance of an older parent dying before their kids are physically and emotionally adults (don't ask me what age that would be- about 40?!) is the only major disadvantage that I can see.

I wonder whether Red Ken will enjoy fatherhood?

Mopsy Sat 01-Jun-02 23:53:02

My personal opinion is that as long as the father can reasonably expect to be around for the first 20 years of the child's life then it is ok...having said that, any of us could fall under a bus tomorrow, there are no guarantees.

So becoming a dad in your fifties is ok - what I do find distasteful are examples such as Rupert Murdoch, fathering children aged 70-something. Is it a last-ditch shot proving reproductive/sexual prowess even though one foot is probably in the grave??

Eulalia Sun 02-Jun-02 11:16:57

Indeed Mopsy. Also although there is a big age gap between me and DH I don't think I'd like it to be much bigger. There was certainly no 'sugar daddy' syndrome going on with us - my DH was a poor (mature) student when I met him and I worked to support him for the first part of our relationship.

Scummymummy - DH has 3 kids from a previous relationship. They are in their 20's and self sufficient and live 500 miles away.DH does feel that they don't need him but of course it is nice when they visit.

LiamsMum Sun 02-Jun-02 13:08:02

Eulalia, my dh is 43 this year (not THAT old, I know) and my ds will be two in July. He also has a 19 yr old & 16 yr old from another marriage. You're right about being financially secure later in life, but on the downside, I find that dh is always so busy and gets tired easily these days - he's holding down a full time job and is also on the Board of Directors of another company, and he travels about once or twice a month. Work aside, we are also doing renovations to our house and occasionally he ends up working on a weekend. SO, as a result, he has a lot on his mind and not a whole lot of spare time. DH can handle ds when he's being good, but if he's misbehaving/whining/ screaming/generally having a bad day, dh doesn't tolerate it very well. I tend to think he would have had more energy and patience when he was younger... sometimes it gets me down too that we don't spend more time together as a family. I often feel as though it's always me that takes care of ds, it would be nice to share the caretaking more. So in a nutshell, I think there are advantages and disadvantages but in this case I don't know that my dh makes an 'ideal' older father.

Tinker Sun 02-Jun-02 13:30:07

Just the thought of Rupert Murdoch fathering children at ANY age is yuck! More for his empire.

Eulalia Sun 02-Jun-02 18:43:48

Liamsmum - sounds like we have a lot in common. My DH works on the house every weekend so I bascially do the childcare 24/7. I know exactly how you feel about not spending days together as a family. We treasure the odd day off (like tomorrow for example) and make the most of it.

However I think your and my DH's difficulties are due more to having a busy life than their age. I am sure in time your ds will benefit from having a dad who has many interests. Our son now likes to 'help' Dad and he is fascinated by all his tools, so although he isn't playing games with him he is interacting in a different way.

Sometimes my DH gets tired and irritable but he is actually better than he used to be - a greater awareness of his own temperment I guess.

I think we do make a bit of a thing about age in our society (and others too perhaps?). I have an uncle who is 80 and he is still doing up his house. If you have your health it doesn't matter what numerical age you are.

Mind you I sometimes feel twice my age!:-)

Empress Sun 02-Jun-02 21:08:28

Eulalia & Liamsmum, my family circumstances are similar to yours, I'm 40, my partners 45, he & I have a 3yr old, and he has 18 & 20 yr old from previous relationship. I think he's a fantastic dad, altho we both have serious time restraints as we both work full time (someone at the beginning mentioned 'older' men being more financially stable - not us, unfortunately, as he's still paying out a large chunk of his salary to the older 'kids'!) , but apart from being knackered all the time, we do fine as parents, with a well-loved happy confident smart little girl. Tiredness is definitely a factor, tho-
other parents we know (we don't know any others our age) always seem to have more energy, do more things, have ...well...lives!! of their own, & we're just exhausted all the time, unless theres something v wrong with us I can only put it down to our age, to being 'older'..

LiamsMum Mon 03-Jun-02 00:59:31

Lol Tinker, I know what you mean. Money certainly talks doesn't it, amazing when you're filty rich you can marry a young woman when you're 70 and she's even willing to have a baby with you. Never mind you're old enough to be the child's great-grandfather....

LiamsMum Wed 05-Jun-02 10:34:19

Eulalia just another thought about this topic, I think one benefit of men being older fathers is that they have generally established their careers by then and I don't think they're as likely to get 'restless' if you know what I mean. I'm only going by the fact that when dh was married the first time, he was in his early twenties and had two young children. All he could think about was getting a career going and he really wanted to travel. Now that he's YEARS older, he's done quite a bit of traveling, he's got an established career and he feels that 'family' is more important to him this time around. In other words, he's gotten a lot of stuff out of his system. I suppose they tend to be more comfortable with responsibility and they seem to have different priorities when they're older. Just a thought on the positive side.

Lindy Thu 06-Jun-02 20:12:21

Good point about being 'settled in one's career' - I think that also goes for older mums as well, we are both in our mid 40s with a one year old and I am very happy to now consider myself 'retired' (of course no pension!!) and DH is very well established in a good job, unfortunately it does involve a lot of travel though - when I compare my situation to those of younger friends I do consider that, generally, I have a much easier time - ie: no burning desire to achieve success in the workplace (been there ...), no hassles with childcare etc - I know I am VERY lucky to be married to a high wage earner & take nothing for granted.

DH is absolutely besotted with DS and just loves being with him at w/ends etc - just invited a crowd of work colleagues back to meet the baby - I am sure they were all bored senseless.

I do however, sometimes feel a real old fogey at the playgroups etc - many of the mums could be my daughter & DH is mistaken for granddad!!

davirose Sat 10-Sep-16 08:17:18

I know this thread hasn't been posted on for a long long while but I would be curious to hear how things are going with your children and their older dads. I'm 33, DH is 58 and we're only just starting ttc. I know it's unconventional but it just feels 'right' and, like you, there was certainly no sugar daddy syndrome etc.

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