A few days ago, I had a discussion with some friends regarding children and family life. One of my friends had recently become a father and was expressing the joys of fatherhood and watching his son develop over time. Then the topic of age came up. My friend who was relating his new experience in fatherhood, was 29 years old and was making the point that he thought it best to have his first child before he became 30. Some of the points he made was that he could comfortably space out the time between having his next child to minimize on expenses. Another point he made was that it was the right time. When I asked what he meant by that, he said it just felt like the right time for him. He had found the right partner to settle down with and he and his girlfriend are fairly stable financially so they decided to start a family.
Personal Goals and Family
Many people have different ideas about what an ideal family should be and they also have an ideal age at which they should start a family. This is due to the projections that they have for their lives and what they believe they would have accomplished before they decide to have a family. In this age of economic stagnation, people find it more difficult to accomplish the goals they have by the time they’d have expected, leading to a delay in the starting of families. This has implications for the age of the parents and the growth and development of the child and parent. There are concerns that the older the parent, the harder the time the parent will have to keep up with the child physically. There are also health implications for having children later that need to be considered as well.
Despite these concerns however, should we start a family having not accomplished at least some of the goals? Is it better to accomplish goals first and wait to start the family? These are some of the concerns that came up during our discussion and frankly, I was somewhat of the view that one should wait until your goals have been accomplished. Some of these goals, provided I have the right partner, are home ownership, stable liveable wage with opportunity for growth and a vibrant career as an Electrical Engineer. As of late though, my opinion on whether I really need these things before starting a family has begun to change.
Unlike women that have a “biological clock”, us men folk have the freedom to procreate and have children at any age. Despite this freedom however, we don’t necessarily want to be running up and down with kids at the age of 60…..it would just be too tiresome at that age. Besides, which young, nubile woman would want to settle down with a man up in age right? Jokes aside, most sensible men, I would think, would rather settle down relatively early and get the family and child rearing out of the way.
It shouldn’t have to come down to age though as that alone cannot be used as a deciding factor and could lead to misery in the long run. It could also lead to multiple homes being created due to disagreements between partners which may lead to new families being started. This may create the undesirable result of splitting resources between two homes as well as the potential of creating mal-adjusted children with psychological and emotional issues. We should also remember that starting a family with that special someone is not a one sided affair but a partnership, financially, emotionally and otherwise, meaning challenges are shared up and dealt with as a unit. For in unity there is strength, which is one of the benefits of a family. Who knows? Maybe starting a family will lead to you achieving your goals.
When it is all said and done, the decision on when to start a family all comes down to the individual couple and whether they feel they are at a position in life to start a family.