Psychiatrists who work with older parents say that maturity can be an asset in child rearing—older parents arc more thoughtful, use less physical discipline and spend more time with their children. But raising kids takes money and energy. Many older parents find themselves balanc·ing their limited financial resources, declining energy and failing health against the growing demands of an active child. Dying and leaving young children is probably the older parents' biggest, and often unspoken, fear. Having late-life children, says an economics professor, often means parents, particularly fathers "end up retiring much later". For many, retirement becomes an unobtainable dream.
Henry Metcalf, a 54-year-old journalist, knows it takes money to raise kids. But he's also worried that his energy will give out first. Sure, he can still ride bikes with his athletic fifth grader, but he's learned that young at heart doesn't mean young. Lately he's been taking after·noon naps to keep up his energy. "My body is aging," says Metcalf. "You can’t get away from that."
Often, older parents hear the ticking of another kind of biological clock. Therapists who work with middle aged and older parents say fears about aging are nothing to laugh at. "They worry they'll be mistaken for grandparents, or that they'll need help getting up out of those little chairs in nursery school," says Joann Galst, a New York psychologist. "But at the core of those little fears there is often a much bigger one that they won't be alive long enough to support and protect their child." She says.
Many late-life parents, though, say their children came at just the right time. After marrying late and undergoing years of fertility treatment, Marilyn Nolen and her husband——Randy, had twins." We both wanted children." says Marilyn, who was 55 when she gave birth. The twins have given the couple what they desired for years, "a sense of family". Kids of older dads are often smarter, happier and more sociable because their fathers arc more involved in their lives. "The dads are older, more mature," says Dr. Silber," and more ready to focus on parenting."