Children of older parents display an equal or lower number of behavioural problems such as aggression and defiance relative to their peers with younger parents. These findings emerge from a study that was published recently in the journal Child Development. It is well known that greater parental age increases a child's risk of physical neurological abnormalities, but this advanced age has now been revealed to have an opposite and positive effect on the mental constitution of the child. This study is the result of collaboration between multiple universities within the Consortium on Individual Development (CID) .
As it turns out, parents have no reason to fear that their own age will negatively affect the child in terms of behavioural problems – quite the contrary, in fact. The expectation was that if the age of the parents were to play a role, greater age would have a detrimental effect. This situation proved not to be the case. 'If a correlation exists between the behaviour of children and the age of their parents, older parents tend to have children with fewer behavioural issues', explains Mariëlle Zondervan-Zwijnenburg (UU), one of the lead authors.