February 18th, 2013
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Dad's Day 2012Recently I read an editorial by someone who thought “older parenting” was a terrible idea. I thought I dismissed her characterization of older parents out of hand, but when I could not STOP thinking about it and feeling defensive, I realized there was probably something in it for me.  Grudgingly, I went back and re-read the post.

The author was, of course, someone capable of bearing children in the “usual” way. She did not state her age, but I’m guessing she was middle aged or more.  Her basic premise was this:  It’s better for children to have parents who are in the 20s.

It was not for any of the reasons I would have originally thought — vigor, stamina, health, or fun.  No, her premise was that kids need to be ignored more.  20-somethings are still self centered. They feed and clothe their kids, then basically ignore them. For example, she claimed that when they say, “Go to bed,” the kids go to bed because they know Mom and Dad won’t stop their cocktail party to perch on the side of their beds and hold their hands as they go to sleep.  She claimed that kids need to get their feelings hurt and fight their own battles. There are too many “precious” children she claimed and wondered how will they ever grow up?

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Why did this grate me so much? At first I thought I was offended because of my infertility. That wasn’t it. It bothered me because there was a grain of truth in it. I can tell you that my hyper focus on my oldest child did not make her a more secure person, it made her more inflexible.  My darling sister in law once said, “Oh, you’re a book parent,” and it was absolutely true. I did my research. I read piles of books and then picked a parenting style that represented a marriage of those beliefs and systems. My first child was perfect. The pressure on her was incredible.

I relaxed a bit with number 2, just because #1 was only a toddler herself. I had my hands full and was also gifted with some health problems in those early years that required I give them a bit more free rein.

I do have a book on pre-schoolers somewhere that numbers 3, 4 and 5 could probably benefit from if I consulted it. I have moved closer to the “ignore” frame of mind now. I realize kids are full-on, dynamic, unstoppable learning machines so instead of teaching them to read when they’re three, I focus on being a good example, spending time with them and saying, “I love you” a lot — and meaning it.

I do not think that author was right on most points, but she wasn’t all wrong either.  I could afford to just take a few deep breaths and look the other way now and then. I’m getting there.

4 Responses to “Precious Children”

  1. luv2cuddle says:

    I am really not sure where to get answers anymore. Last year my husband and I thought since we love kids so much that we would like to adopt one of our own, my husband 66 yr. never had any children of his own, I am 61 yrs. had been married before and have had 3 children, youngest being 24 yrs old. But we felt a need to give a child or a small sibbling group a warm and loving home. We sought out our local DHS (welfare office)for help on Adopting a child, we meet with the lady and she sent us to a meeting over a month away, it is all we could think of, all we talked about. We went to the meeting and nothing was said about our ages. We wanted to get the ball rolling so we could have our home study done and be waiting for a child, then the bomb hit, the DHS informed us we were too old, that we could only adopt a child no more than 40 yrs younger than us, which put the child right in at 20 yrs. old. I felt as tho someone had pushed me under the bus, we could not get over it, but then I read where there is no age limits, all I need is for someone to show me the way to get this started, so that we might finally be able to give a child a good home and we can feel the love of a child once more. Please send help, as at this point we are lost and would not know who to contact.

    • koolteach says:

      Luv2cuddle: My husband and I are in the process of adopting two older boys, brothers, 15 and 11. We have not had any barriers because of age, not yet at least. The case manager for the children is aware of our ages and says it will be good for them. We hope so. We are both in our 60s. There are plenty of grandparents raising children and 60 is not old in today’s world. Where are you? Maybe you should think about moving to a more friendly county. I will tell you that we went with a private agency (Lutheran Services) and I was up front with the first call and was assured that our ages would not be a barrier. We are adopting from the foster program, however, in our state. Have you considered fostering older kids and then go in the back door that way? There are too many children in the system who need a home and would welcome it, even with older parents. I am a CASA volunteer for my county, as well, and I can tell you that older children pray for a forever home. For case managers to neglect that need because of a few years is insane. Our boys will be grown in about 7 years and probably out of our home. Surely, we can expect to live that much longer. We aren’t done yet, and we feel the need to help. We hope to have the boys by early summer; we are waiting on our home study now and that should be underway very soon. Pray for us and we’ll pray for you. Best wishes and good luck! God bless you.

      • Dreena T says:

        Luv2cuddle, I’m pretty sure I responded to you offline by email but I was reviewing this now.I agree with Koolteach, a child placing agency (CPA) is how we came in too and they have more energy to advocate for their families. Our age was never mentioned though I was 50 years older than the youngest of our group. To be honest, we did some things to help us. I colored my hair (I have a lot of gray), we thought a lot about how we dressed, we made sure to act parental more than grand-parentish with the kids we met and we did not talk about our age in front of DPS. FOr instance, I have very bad knees so I reminded hubby that I’d need his help off the floor because I look decrepit when I get up by myself! :)

        In fact, I’m sure the kids social worker had access to our birthdates but she must not have looked at them because a couple years AFTER the adoption I said something about my age to her and she was shocked. Not in a bad way, just surprised. SO I think that if you have another go at it, the way you present yourself can have an effect.

        Do try with a CPA because they cover larger areas and seem to be generally more helpful. They need the placements to make their budgets so they are pretty open minded in our experience.

  2. yoursmineourstheirs says:

    My thoughts exactly. Try fostering first. We wanted to be foster parents with no intentions of adopting. Just wanted to help out some children even if it was hard for us to give them up. We ended up getting twin baby boys, 10 weeks old. Hardest thing we had to do was give them back after a few weeks but things didn’t go right for the parents and we had them back in 1 week. After having them a year we were asked to adopt them by the bio. mother. They are now 11 years old. Even if you don’t get to adopt think of all the kids you could help in the meantime.

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