Are you an older parent? Is it bad to have children late?
Getting married and then family planning are joyful events in one’s life. These are new beginnings and fresh starts. What, if someone’ starts ‘down the line than is usual? With every passing year, the trend of late marriage or have children later is growing. While in secular societies it is more obvious, in Muslim communities the number of ‘late bloomers’ is growing. Due to some circumstances one find themselves in this position, while others want to study and make their future. Regardless of how they get there, the challenges are the same.
Being an older parent: Does this make me a bad Muslim?
Muslim men and women put this question to themselves, when they make the decision to postpone marriage or children. Islam gives every individual the right to take their best decisions and choices regarding marriage that suits them, sometime, that choice is waiting.
Women suffer more from this delay as compared to men. This causes regret, sadness or even despair. Many studies have been conducted on the impact of older parent vs. younger parents so it’s no longer a bad news. At the end of the day good parenting is all about: parenting well irrespective of their ages.
Both sides of the coin
Every decision we make in our life has its pros and cons, if you decide to wait and become an older parent, here are some aspects below that you may want to consider.
The Good stuff for being an older parent
As we grow, we learn different skills through our life experiences like patience, communication, flexibility and resilience. We can find ourselves within our beliefs and faith as we are more spiritually aware. These are priceless lessons that you can pass on to your children.
With age we realize the value of memories, time and of experiences. Older parents comment that watching their child growing every day is a blessing. Robin Gorman Newman, founder of motherhood later.com , (a community for midlife moms) said “Older parents are some of the most grateful people I know”.
The appreciation of time is important in Islam. Children can adopt this valuable habit from their older parents.
Children are the reason of happiness for us and keep us young. We play and smile with them and remember our own childhood. In some ways, giving time to children in older age revive one’s eternal youthfulness. Prophet (PBUH) was very kind to children, He (SAW)used to play with them and also encourage his companions to spend more time with children. There is no best teacher than one’s own child.
We cannot ignore this fact: mature parents will be older while their children are still younger. There are lots of happy moments that younger parents get to enjoy while older parents miss it such as, success of their children, marriage, and then becoming grandparents. Their children may become orphan at the very younger age.
Cultural/ Generation Gap
There is huge gap in the culture of both religion and life. The space between old and new widens every year. Apart from technology, the rate of Islamic knowledge is increasing day by day. The understanding and knowledge of their children will be far away of what their parents did, and this difference will increase with increasing ages.
Parents in older age have less energy and stamina as compare to younger ones. They are not able to participate in sports and different energetic activities with their child. On religious front, older parents cannot worship longer that they did in their youth. They would not be able to set a good example for their children.
A Time for everything
Every child is born for a purpose in this world and is a blessing from Allah. Parents-whether young or old – play important role in a child’s life.
If you want to be an older parent, you must have to take in consideration both the positive and negative aspects of your choice.
“Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk,”-Carl Jung.
(Written by freelance journalist Sadaf Riaz)