Divorce is common in our culture. Remarrying and starting a second family is also not unusual. And now it has become more and more common for older men to wind up with infants and adult children at the same time.
According to an article in USA Today, an increasing number of Baby Boomers are starting new families after divorcing. Men who married and had children when they were young have since divorced. They often remarry someone younger – perhaps their adult children’s age – and start a new family.
That can make for some complicated family dynamics. For example, a 55-year-old man may have children in their 30s, young grandchildren, and babies younger than the grandchildren. Sometimes it can invoke jealousy with the adult children who wish their fathers had more time to devote to their grandkids. It can be a balancing act.
It can take a toll on the dads, too – getting up at three in the morning to check on a crying baby is probably tougher than when they did it 30 years before. And oftentimes, their new female partners are more career-oriented, so more is expected of the men from a parenting standpoint.
One of the biggest priorities for the men, the USA Today article says, is to stay healthy. These fathers want to be around to see their children graduate from college, and age is obviously a detriment physically. Plus, there’s the matter of just keeping up with the kids.
Some view it as a second chance at fatherhood and marriage. If people learn from their mistakes, they’re not as likely to make them the next time around.
Source: USA Today, “Older dads try parenting the second time around,” Sharon Jayson, 15 June 2011