So why 36?
Just how old do you need to be in order to be an older dad? - 36 years of age is the starting point to being an older dad simply by mathematics and the time it takes for your body to regenerate cells. The year 18 is regarded as the holy grail of adulthood to kids everywhere. We doubled the number 18 to 36 or 18x2=36 years before you had your first child and the 7 year average time it takes to replace your cells or 5 replacements of 7 years = 35. So a dad 36 and over before having their first child is an older dad!
The 7 year cell itch? - Yes! Science has shown us that every 7 to 10 years our cells have been replaced with new ones. You would think that we would be looking newer since we get new cells. Unfortunately we age as we get older and by the time we get 36 and older we're long past our prime. Genetically we pass on our genetic information at the time we produce our children and having more mature cell life may cause reproductive differences from what we would've had if we would've had children earlier.
At 36 your adult year became an adult. Also at this time in your life, most of you have lived outside of your parents influence for long enough to have your own thoughts about parenting and having kids. A younger dad is more likely to copy and paste his parents methods onto his own child. A younger dad is also more likely to rationalize his parents upbringing to include his own as a legitimization of how things ought to be, and to buck the parental trend would throw doubts onto his parents suggestive methods and form. To question his parental history may cause strife with his parents if he voices objections to their style and decisions concerning him.
This copy and paste mentality is what we're trying to avoid. The phrase "time heals all wounds" is in my opinion true in this case. If you let 18yrs go by then you have time to recover bad parenting from his parents and allows for the understanding of how parenting was done right. After 18 years have passed then you're at least capable of forming your own opinions on how and why you'd choose your methods and rational decision making when parenting. We all have heard of dads older than 36 that suffer from the copy and paste errors and younger dads that were able to escape their parents errors but we're looking at the general nature of those dad's that seem to fit our recognized pattern of those 36 and up before having their first child. Please recognize that we're trying to do our best in examining the phenomenon of older dads in the parenting space. There isn't a lot of information yet from clinical trials or research so we've used our observational patterns of behaviors we see in real life to write about the differences we see. We do see the raise of older dads in article like this one from fatherly show a bleak future for us that attempt being and older dad even though articles like this one from the huffpost seem to applaud older dad celebrities. Which position is right? how would you know? you wouldn't and neither will we tell you what is best. The older dad show chose 36 as the starting point as a number.
Expectational Dadness. There is so much that goes into being a dad that we will talk about on our show and write about on our blog. Our perspective on products are also reflective on those dads aged 36 and up. Think back to when you were 18 an ask where did you want to live. My dream home was a downtown apartment with a view, close to all the trendy shops and late night party places. Now my real house is modest and affordable with woods and a pond in the background. My 18yr old self wouldn't even recognize the now 41yr old me so why should I keep to my plans or somehow entertain a younger lifestyle now? I try to live in the present and not worry about the past.
Bad dad advice. So many dads will hear criticism over their intent to postpone having children later in life as selfish or against nature to wait any longer by friends and family. This friendly fire abuse causes so many dads to give in to others demands in hope to put an end to these voices. Early childbearing can end expectations and goals set by a guy who want to accomplish a few things before adding kids to his already chaotic life. Kids should be instituted after much deliberation between him and his partner and there should be a planned route to achieve their ideals of what that family situation should be. To cut this planning phase out just because their parents want to be grandparents or their friends want their kids to have a play mate is really the selfish party and shows no respect to the people who's lives they're actually trying to disrupt. Make sure any plans to have kids are on your terms and with your rules. Life is to short to mess this up.
Unplanned parenting is also a huge risk for younger dads. An older guy knows the risk of having a kid early may come back to get him. In today's culture there shouldn't be any unsafe sexual practices. I know that sometimes condoms break or pills don't work but in most cases they certainly do. This Stanford study was pivotal to my understanding of the associated risk of older parenting so please read it because lets face it, if you're reading this and you're already making up your mind that things must be perfect before starting a family then you'll probably never start a family. My belief is get a list of short term goals and as long as you manage to get most of them and get a partner you like well enough to have kids with then I'd say for for it. Keep in mind my daughter was born 14 weeks early at 1lb 13oz and spent 89 days in the NICU so maybe the Stanford study is right.
So is 36 and over right to be an older dad? We don't know but just because we don't doesn't mean you do. We at The Older Dad Show are going forward with it as the number we believe best fits the data and science. Social norms are different all across the world so naturally we can't figure in every culture but all western civilizations seem to naturally correlate with the number 36 and up so take the journey with us at The Older Dad.