The advantages of being an older dad

Actor Ewan McGregor has reportedly become a dad again at the age of 50.

He joins a long line of celebrity older dads including Rolling Stone guitarist Ronnie Wood, who fathered twins when he was 68, Rod Stewart who was 66 when he became a father to his eighth child, and Elton John, who was 63 when a surrogate gave birth to his first child, and 65 when he became a father for the second time.

Read: Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman take on South America

Mr McGregor’s baby boy, whose birth was announced by his daughter Clara in an Instagram post, is his third child, and his first with partner Mary Elizabeth Winstead, 36. Clara said: “Welcome to the world little brother. Congratulations to my Dad & Mary – this is the greatest gift.”

Adrienne Burgess, head of research and co-CEO of the Fatherhood Institute, says: “Men are hardwired for fatherhood, and that’s true regardless of their age.

“Hands-on fathering skills can also be learned by men at any age – and once learned they are never lost. Some much older men may find the physical side of fathering toddlers and young children quite tiring, but on the upside, their life experience can be valuable to their children.”

It might sound utterly exhausting to become a father when you’re in your 50s or 60s (or even later – former wrestler Ramajit Raghav reportedly became a father at the age of 96 in 2012), but there are some advantages.

You’ve got invaluable life experience
It’s all very well having a baby when you’re young and super energetic, but one of the downsides of being a younger parent is that you haven’t racked up so many years, and the wisdom that comes with them. Older dads often have the benefit of life experience, arguably making them better prepared, or at least more philosophical about things.

You’re probably more financially secure
Fathers who have children in their 20s or 30s are more likely to be at the start of their careers and not earning a huge amount. But older fathers are far more likely to earn more and have a bigger savings pot, and be more financially secure and settled (although, of course, this isn’t always the case).

It can make you feel younger
Not only will older fathers likely be fitter than their peers who aren’t running around after a young child, but they could also feel younger mentally too. All that playing and learning together is bound to keep you more mentally agile.

Read: Older Australians Wellbeing Index dispels myths about over-50s

You’ve enjoyed your younger years without the responsibility of children
As you slow down in your 50s or 60s, you’re much less likely to resent the social restrictions that come with having a young child.

Your kids might be smarter
A 2017 King’s College London study suggested a “special relationship” between advanced paternal age and educational attainment in their children, finding that children of men aged over 50 at conception were 32 per cent more likely to achieve higher exam grades compared to offspring of men aged under 25.

You’re likely to have more time for your kids
The older you are, the closer you are to retirement, and that means more time to spend with your kids (and more time to recover if having young children exhausts you!).

Read: Unique positives of being an older parent

Your children might live longer
A 2012 Harvard University study found a link between older dads and children having chromosomes that lead to longer life spans. The children had longer telomeres, or tips of chromosomes, linked to longevity for two generations of offspring.

How old were you when you had your last child? Do you agree with the positives of being older parents? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

– With PA

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Written by Lisa Salmon