How Old Is Too Old To Be A Dad?

How old is too old to be a dad? Anyone have an opinion here? Here’s another good question from WCCO. I really dread to open up a question like this because to me, it’s really such a personal choice and I don’t really feel anyone has the right to tell anyone else this kind of thing. To each their own so to speak.

But, when you consider this, when Rod Stewart’s soon-to-be-born baby graduates high school, the singer will be 87 years old. He’s not the only older man to have young children and it doesn’t affect my life but really, is this fair to the child?

Experts have agreed that it’s really not fair to have children if you won’t be around to safely send them into adulthood. They say early 20’s. I’m not sure what’s fair or not but I do think that’s really pushing it.

What bothers me more than anything is the loss of family that these children have. There obviously are no grandparents nor aunts, uncles or cousins. Or if there are, they are much older and not really a peer or someone to grow up with. I have a sister-in-law who’s 4 children don’t have one grandparent. She was what was called way back in the day, a “menopause” baby. When my mother in law thought she couldn’t get pregnant anymore. Don’t get me wrong but when you have a child in your 50’s, you are going to die before they have children or at the very least, when these children are young. My brother-in-law was a the same. They both were last born to older parents and often times, their parents were thought of as their grandparents. Don’t for a second get me wrong, they were very much welcomed and loved children but the fact remains, I feel sorry for my 4 nieces and nephews that between both parents, there isn’t one grandparent.

So, what do you think? Or is it just none of our business?

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24 Responses to How Old Is Too Old To Be A Dad?

  1. Jason says:

    I feel that there should be a certain age where you should not be able to have kids anymore. I say if you are within 18 years of the average time where seniors go to nursing homes or need some kind of assistance then you can’t have kids. It just wouldn’t be fair to the kids to have to deal with that when it was the parents choice.

  2. Laura says:

    Well, in all honesty, you’re right – it isn’t any of our business. But that won’t stop us from tossing out an opinion!

    I think you’re right… there IS a cutoff age. For everyone it’s different, but I think around 40 should be the absolute oldest you should be having kids. Of course there are exceptions – if you’re 50 and you know a kid who needs a good home, by all means, adopt (I use that scenario because it came up this weekend in a separate conversation). But in general, you should be looking at the CHILD’S future, not your own.

    We are living in such a narcissistic society that everybody’s first impulse is to consider “what’s best for me?” when the question in this situation should be, “what’s best for him?”

    Rod is what, 60 years old? And he’s lived a pretty hard life. I can imagine there was more than a little drinking and puffing in his life. So, honestly, dropping the high school graduation thing for a minute… what shape is he going to be in when this kid is 2? Is he going to be fit-as-a-fiddle and ready to run? ‘Cause you gotta be ready to run when your kid’s a toddler! How about when he’s 7 and wants to join pee-wee football. Is ol’ Rod gonna be able to run patterns with his budding QB? Is he going to be able to ride a horse or ice-skate with his little girl? To say nothing of the perception of friends when the kid shows up at school with dad, and having to explain to everyone that no, that’s NOT grandpa, or even great-grandpa.

    I think, except in extenuating circumstances (like the adoption previously mentioned) that it’s a pretty selfish move.

  3. Joy says:

    Tony Randall also did this. At 75 & 77 he became a father.

    I don’t really understand this.

  4. Jenny says:

    Thats way to old!! Why would you want to have someone say to you “oh is that your grandchild?” When really it’s your own kid! Also when you are older you won’t be able to do things with your kids as much as you want to. Geeesh I have a hard time keeping up with Hunter!!!

    • SKL says:

      On the other hand, when you’re older you have some advantages over younger parents, generally speaking. You might be better at picking your battles with your toddler (and with adults, in the presence of your toddler). You might have saved more money to do things like buy a zoo membership or travel with your little one. You might be able to afford a home in a safer neighborhood, where your child can play independently outdoors. You might be braver about fighting for your child to be treated fairly at school (e.g., given the special ed resources he needs, if applicable).

      I’m 20+ years older than my mom was when I was born. My mom had energy, yes. But she spent it doing housework and such. When I was my kids’ age, I hardly ever “went anywhere” with my parents. I may be 20 years older, but I might actually spend more child-focused time than my mom or dad did.

      • Jenny says:

        I’m 26 and all my time is focused on my son. I would do anything for him. When you said that when you’re older you may have more money to do things with your child…you’re probably right about that. But that doesn’t stop us from not going out to the zoo or any other fun place. But for me personally, I wouldn’t want to have a child when I’m older.

        • SKL says:

          I am sure you are a wonderful parent. My comment was only in response to your statement that “when you are older you won’t be able to do things with your kids as much as you want to.” That may not be true – it depends on each situation.

    • mssc54 says:

      Although you make (some) valid points Joy regarding celebrity men fathering children you fail to recognize one aspect of their celebrity life. Although these celebrity children will not likely have their birth fathers around for very long they will likely be able to have the best substitute father money can buy. No, seriously think about it. Some guy is hired or an uncle or whoever it is. There WILL be some man in these children’s lives. We can only hope and pray that these substitute fathers have altruistic motives. A child loves to be loved and that should be the focus.

      Regarding older parents not being able to do things that younger parents are able (activities) for the most part that is correct. HOWEVER, older parents who were actively involved in their children(s) upbringing do have alot to offer. Hopefully we won’t make the long list of mistakes we did as younger parents. We have (literally) decades of life experiences from which to draw from when making parental/life style decisions now that we are older parents.

      Speaking personally, my biggest challenge is trying to make sure that our “new kids” don’t get short-changed in their childhood because I think (or know) that doing x-y-z is really going to just be a waste of time… and I really don’t feel like doing it anyway. But on the flip side of that coin; we certainly don’t feel the need nor do we see any advantage in having our children involved in everything that comes along just because all the other children are doing it. We don’t have to have them enrolled in youth sports every single season!!

      And we sure as heck do NOT have to join the friggn PTA!!! 🙂

  5. SKL says:

    Well, first of all, most later-in-life babies (especially from earlier generations) weren’t planned. They were little surprises, and I don’t believe in abortion, so in my opinion, they are God’s gift just like any other child. My mom’s step-grandmother had a Down Syndrome child when she was in her 40s, and she lived into her 90s, at which time my granny took over the care of her sister-in-law until she died. Lots of folks live into their 90s nowadays. And lots of folks die before they are 50. So it’s hard to make assumptions about how old your child will be when you die.

    If the question is “should folks PLAN to be older parents,” I would say . . . hmm. I agree it’s a concern. That said, I am 40 years older than my daughters. This is a great incentive for me to take care of my health. I want to be there for them if and when they become parents. My grandma lived to be twice my current age, so it’s not terribly unlikely that I will live even longer. But if God has other plans, you could say I played the odds. Would I choose to be a parent at 60? I highly doubt it, especially not a biological parent (assuming that were possible). I don’t want my kids to lose their parent at a young age. It always “could” happen, but I would not want to set them up for that likelihood, if that makes any sense.

    As far as not having a lot of family, I guess that is sad, but not the end of the world. I guess I keep going back and forth on this topic. Because when I was in my late 30s, I decided I did not want to create a life knowing that there are various risks to that child living a full life. Both biological risks and the risks inherent in my age (and that of my extended family). Adoption reduced the biological risks, but not the other risks. I pray that my parents live long enough to spend a lot of quality time with my kids. So far, so good. My kids do have a big family and other people who care for them. I don’t think that’s so much a factor of age as of the closeness of extended family/friends.

    As for the absence of a dad, I am again guilty of setting my kids up for this. They probably could have been adopted by a two-parent family, but I felt I could give them a very good home. I still think so. I don’t mean to minimize the importance of a dad / father figure, but it’s not an absolute requirement.

    So if Rod Stewart wants to be a dad at 60+, my opinion would be, it depends. How old is the mom? How rich are the overall family relations? How healthy is Rod (the bod) – does he have one foot in the grave, or his he still hopping around?

    Recently I read that Elton John and his partner were denied the right to adopt from Ukraine. Not sure if it was because of age, or sexual preference, or both. But I thought that was kinda sad. It seemed like they were two mature individuals wanting to enrich the life of an orphan, as well as their own lives. (Never mind that I might have found it a terrible idea 30 years ago; people change.)

    • Joy says:

      I don’t feel a single parent is in any way a bad thing. Your girls have a very loving family. There will always be single parents and I feel your girls are so fortunate to have you and never mind how fortunate you are to have them.

      You do bring up a very interesting point about Elton John and David Furnish and they were denied adoption. I really wonder if it was age or sexual preference. Either way, it’s really a sad thing. They would make wonderful parents. All kids need are love and a child that’s already here and been born can only benefit from love.

      I guess I’m talking the WAY older dudes who are just spitting out kids with young women. Yes they end up with a single parent but it didn’t start out that way and I think to “plan” it or pretend you’re still young is sad for the kids who do grow up and end up alone with no family. No, it’s certainly not the end of the world but family is really fun and really always there for you.

  6. SKL says:

    Another thing I would point out is that God arranged things so that men could reproduce without artificial assistance when they are older. He arranged things differently for women. I believe that God is wise.

  7. mssc54 says:

    Weeeeeelllllll let’s see.

    I’ll be 57 in a little over a month. (wow, I just thought of that). I think being a daddy is a personal choice. To me being a daddy is different than being a father. Being a daddy means (to me) that you are the male figure in that child’s life who is ACTIVELY INVOLVED in the day to day aspects of the child’s life. HOWEVER , I think that fathering a child when you are “older” is a bit selfish. The Old Fart dies and he doesn’t have to deal with all the fall out and trauma that could cause a young child.

    Adopting when you are older is completely different. The child was already “made” and they are obviously not in a good situation or they wouldn’t be available for adoption.

    Just keep in mind that actively parenting in your 50s is waaaaaaayyyy different than parenting in your 20s-30s!

    • Joy says:

      I applaud you and what you’ve done mssc. You’re so right. Once they’re “already made”, it’s different. You’re the best “daddy.”

  8. This is definitely a tricky question for a lot of people… I don’t think that people should have children too young, that’s for sure – just look at how many teens are having babies these days, and the children of those teens will often be neglected or abused. I’m twenty years old, and personally, cannot imagine having children anytime in the near future.
    Having said that, though, I agree that there’s something very unfair about having a child at a late age. That child might well need to deal with a sick and ailing parent when he or she is still young! It’s absolutely unfair for a child to need to have a parent who can’t function, because then the child turns into the caretaker, and that’s not fair.

    Of course it’s individual. But I still have a sick fantasy (or maybe not so sick) that one day parents will need to pass a test in order to have kids – because I can’t stand the knowledge of how many neglected, abused and effed up children there are in North America, all because their parents were addicts, teenagers, neglectful or violent.

  9. Karen Joy says:

    This subject gets a little personal for me.I married my husband now 2 years ago.He is 49 and I am 39.It was a very difficult decision and one we went back and forth on ALOT!In the end I just absolutely could not see having a child at our ages.My personal feelings on this is it seems so selfish to have kids late in life.I just couldnt do that to my child.I didnt want my kid to be looking after some old parents or worse lose us so early in life.I know young parents die too of coarse,anything can happen but knowing for sure that Id leave my child at such a young age….cant live with that.I wont condemn someone for having them later in life,its just not my choice and believe me a hard one to make.

    • Joy says:

      The thing you really have going for you Karen is you’re so close with your siblings and their kids. You are one tight group. You’re very lucky that way. I wish my family circle was bigger like yours is. I miss family gatherings like you guys have. With uncles and cousins. I don’t have that and I did like it.

      • Karen Joy says:

        Your right Joy.Maybe if I didnt have such a close relationship with my family I would consider having children,you never know.Yes we’ve discussed this too,hoping that they will be there for us when we are old.No one wants to be lonely when we are older…or now even.And to be perfectly honest we talk about planning for retirement and the things we want to do,children just dont seem to “fit” in to those plans.I guess everyone has different priority’s and needs…each to their own.

    • SKL says:

      Karen Joy, I know what you mean about the “hard decision.” I have always longed to be a mom. It was really hard as I was getting close to 40 and reading the facts about reproducing at that age. In the end I chose not to do it, but it would be hypocritical for me to judge those who chose differently, because it was not exactly black & white for me at the time.

      But I also hear you about making plans for older age. There are times when I just want to go to bed early or sit in the breeze and read a book. Not all the time, but it does remind me of how life “could have been” if I’d chosen as my single friends have – to just enjoy being childless. I am extremely happy to be a mom, but how old am I gonna be when I can finally just go do whatever “I” want to do? And when that time comes, will I be able to really enjoy it? (Of course, the reality is that I’m a workaholic and that’s all I’d be if I didn’t have kids. But sometimes I can’t help wondering . . . .)

  10. Joy says:

    This could get personal for us too I guess when I think about it. I did want my kids young. I had Jason when I was 19 and I had Toby when I was 22. Paul was “older” but not quite 40. But he did have kids almost grown up so he did have two families but I would never consider under 40 old.

    But for me personally, I’m glad I had them when I was young. The thing I didn’t have once I hit my mid 40’s was the patience I had when I was younger. There are 3 people in the world who I bite my tongue for and keep my patience in tow for but somewhere along my journeys, I’ve lost a lot of patience with people. If you find it could you send it back?

    • SKL says:

      LOL, I wanted 4 kids by age 20. I even had their names all picked out. God had other plans in my case. God has a great sense of humor.

    • SKL says:

      By the way, I have no idea what you mean about patience. Ahem. In fact, once my kids learn how to make my morning coffee and bring it to me first thing, they will probably have the most mellow mom that ever was.

      But seriously, I feel I’m more patient (or should I say, more realistic) about some things than I would have been when I was younger. On the other hand, my tolerance for some stuff, like hearing the same word/sentence repeated 1000 times (or having to repeat a request more than 2-3x), is much lower.

      Let’s just say it’s a good thing I only have 2 kids. I can take 2 kids. When I was younger, I could take 6 kids at a time with no problem.

  11. starlaschat says:

    After reading all the comments I think a lot has been said that I would agree on. I do think it probably is a personal decision. There is one family member in our family who’s mother got pregnet later in life I think she was 48, her daughter is amazing and I couldn’t imagine her not being here. She has a daughter so, I’m not sure. The idea of a man 75 having children does seem sad for the children not growing up with a father. There is my 2 cents.

  12. Nikki says:

    I agree with a lot of what everyone else said. I wanted my kids young. I want to be able to enjoy my grandkids! I thought long term. I have a 10 year old, and I’m only 30. At 40 he will be in college. Jason and I can enjoy him, his kids (in about 20 yrs) and enjoy the rest of our lives.

    I think anything over 40 would be pushing it, but that’s just my opinion. 50, and you’re looking at being 70-75 when you have grandkids, and I whole heartedly believe there is such a special bond with grandparents. I wouldn’t want to not have that, or deprive my kids and grandkids of that.

  13. Just a Mom says:

    My parents were on the older side when they had me. My mom was 39 and my dad was 31. I think I was a little more mature at a younger age because of them being older which is a plus. But on the down side I was 26 when my mom passes away at 65 and my dad passed away at age 66 when I was 35. I feel a little bit cheated because they had me when they were older.
    I am 39 right now and I have an 18 and an 11 year old. I can not even fathom the idea of just now having kids!

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