I think it really depends on where you are in your life, and how settled you are. I'm not a parent, and don't plan on being one for a while, but I can see that there are benefits to having children when you're younger and when you're older.
Reasons It's Good To Have Children When You're Young
- Your body can cope better with less sleep
- Your metabolism is faster and you recover more quickly when your young, and so it'd be easier for the mother to get back in shape after the birth
- Less risk of health complications (for both mother and child)
Benefits Of Having Children When You're In Your Late Twenties or Thirties
- More likely to be financially stable
- More life experience and practise in dealing with stress and change
- You've had a chance to do what you want with your life
- You have a better idea of who you are
- More health-conscious
I know a few people who had children in their teens (one as young as fourteen), and most of them are still living off their parents. The fourteen-year-old was a drinking, drug-taking smoker who never practised safe sex and had a different boyfriend each week. Although I haven't seen her since she gave birth, I'm hoping for the child's sake that she's grown up and started taking responsibility!
Most people I know who got pregnant young — when they were essentially still children themselves — were too egocentric and self-obsessed to look after a baby, but luckily most of them soon adapted to parenthood with the help of their own parents.
I do know one girl who got pregnant when she was seventeen, and to be fair, she's a great mother, and has sacrificed so much to make sure her daughter has all the care, love, and attention she needs.
I think it really depends on the person and their attitude towards parenthood. Some young people can make great parents if they're willing to sacrifice things like going out partying, getting a job (or an education) and having money to spend on themselves. I don't think you should be a parent unless you're willing to put your child before everything else!
Unfortunately, I know far too many young mothers who still want to put themselves first, have no income, no partner, and still live with their parents.
Personally, I wouldn't want to have a child until I was confident that I was financially and emotionally stable, and had a safe home environment to raise a child in.
I'd want to live my own life before having a child, too. There's more to life than procreation, and there are so many things I want to do that would be near impossible with children.
Ultimately, I think it's better to wait until your late twenties or thirties to have kids, even if it might be more draining on you as a parent. You have a chance to form an identity of your own, and you have far more life experience, which may make you a better parent. I think it's fairer on the child, too.