The Advantages and Disadvantages of Being Young Parents

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Having fun is usually a major component of marriage before parental responsibility sets in.

There are advantages and disadvantages of being young parents.  Couples in their late teens up to their early twenty's fall under this category.  Although parenting presents challenges whatever the age of parents, there are specific concerns related to young parenthood at this stage.

The Biological Point of View

From the biological point of view, the optimal child-bearing age for women is from 20 to 35 years old. Any number lower or higher than these given numbers is said to present risks associated with biological age.  In effect, the medical world is saying that teenage pregnancy and late pregnancy are both not highly recommended and that the ideal age for pregnancy is somewhere in between.  There are also studies that suggest that late fatherhood increases the risk in children in relation to the occurrence of genetic disorders.  A man and a woman therefore are said to be physically ready for parenthood once their physical development is deemed complete.

The Psychological Point of View

There is a common presumption that a person matures psychology as one advances in age , thereby providing the capacity to accept the role of a spouse and a parent and making them able to respond accordingly to the accompanying responsibilities.  Although this is generally true, it is not absolute since the level of maturity is always subject to upbringing and the environment.   A man and a woman are said to be psychologically ready for parenthood when they are willing to shift their priorities from themselves to their spouse and children.

The Young Parents

Couples from the age of 19 to 25 are ready to be parents biologically speaking but it does not necessarily follow that they are ready for the responsibility that comes with parenthood. Before plunging into marriage and parenthood,  couples are expected to have finished their education and to be gainfully employed.  Those who enter marriage without these standard prerequisites are at a disadvantage since they would find it difficult to provide for their family.  It goes without saying that couples need to understand the demands of real-life parenthood.

The Advantages of Being Young Parents

Presuming that the prerequisites are satisfied, there are certain advantages to having children at this age.  The main advantage is that young parents are generally at the peak of their health and are therefore physically ready to answer to the demands of parenthood such as sleeping late, waking up early, running after young children, and joining activities of their children.  Because the difference in age is smaller, young parents are also expected to understand the way of thinking and reasoning of their children better.

Young parents also have the advantage of being part of their children's lives longer and have a bigger chance of seeing  their grandchildren grow up.  They also stand to enjoy more relaxed time in the future once their responsibilities with their children are accomplished and are leading their own lives.

The Disadvantages of Being Young Parents

Most couples from this age group have not yet fully experienced the joys of independence.  After being under their parents' authority for a good number of years, young adults are just starting to make their own decisions and experiencing life as a working professional.  Committing into marriage and parenthood too early may abruptly cut the chances of further social development .  It probably wouldn't matter much if young couples would not go looking for these privileges when already saddled with domestic responsibilities.  The time to enjoy single life is when one is single and not when already married with children.

Young parents are also usually not as secure financially compared to couples who have children at their 30s or 40s.  Many couples in their early 20s  are also not as emotionally prepared and may look at marriage and parenthood through rose-colored glasses.  They also tend to give up more easily in the face of marital challenges.

My Say

Parenthood should not be dictated by any number.  There is no one that can say for sure that older parents will be more successful than younger parents or vice versa.  However,  it would be wise to consider very carefully the consequences of having children too early or too late.  

Setting aside the age factor for a while, couples should become parents when they are ready.  Readiness comes with right preparation in all aspects and that includes the emotional, physical, psychological, and financial side of it.  Parents are more able to attend to their family's needs if their personal affairs are in order.  Just imagine the immense difficulty of trying to earn a college degree when the children are likewise in school already.  Although many have managed to persevere like myself, it makes much sense not to risk our children's future if it can be helped.  

That said,  I believe parents in whatever age or situation find inspiration in their children to overcome their personal difficulties. Young parents have as much chance of succeeding like any other parent who values the welfare of their children.  Given the advantages and disadvantages of being young parents, young couples should make their plans with open eyes and hearts.

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