Robert De Niro, Al Pacino embrace fatherhood once more: How fair is it to the kid?
Recently, the news came out that actor Al Pacino is expecting his fourth child at 83 with his 29-year-old girlfriend. And Robert De Niro too became a father at 79. We decode the debate about it all
We often hear age is just a number. But, actor Robert De Niro (79) and Al Pacino (83) announcing that they are embracing fatherhood once more, has stirred a debate around celebrities choosing to have kids this late in life. Is it fair for the children? What impact does a father’s age have on the kid?
These two joined the old daddies club of Hollywood, joining colleagues Richard Gere, Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney and others including Eddie Murphy, Alec Baldwin and Hugh Hefner.
Stating that this is not a new concept, Mumbai-based psychologist Pragya says it’s only because these are big names and popular that the debate has sparked off.
“We have seen parents and kids who have huge age gaps. And yes, the instability is there. Emotionally it is difficult because the generation gap is high. In such cases, it is important to educate the kid about the realities of life,” she says, elaborating, “By having conversations around death, emotional independence and financial inheritance. These conversations need to happen with or without the support of a psychologist. The way they bring up the kid needs to happen in a different way, and not regular parenting.”
According to a study back in 2015, published in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, stated that there are “disturbing links between increased paternal age and rising disorders in their offspring”. Another study published in the journal BMJ pointed out that children of men aged 45-54 are 14 per cent more susceptible to premature birth and low birth weight, as compared to the progeny of fathers in the 25-34 age group.
Opening up about the same, doctor Saurabh Khanna, Lead Consultant, Neonatology and Pediatrics , CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon, mentions, “In such case if the father is not that healthy to take care of the baby, the baby misses that paternal touch and not having father around can lead to certain social and developmental issues.”
When it comes to the elderly people, psychotherapist Divya Singh says there is a lot of a stereotype attached to the age group.
“When it comes to choosing to become a parent at 70+ age is concerned, it’s purely the individual’s choice and should be respected. Parenthood at any age comes with its set of struggles and satisfaction. A child post retirement age, especially of a successful individual, can guarantee better social security, more experience in raising a child and better emotional frame of a parent,” she continues, “Whereas, on the other hand it may also mean feeling physically more enervated , and the most important downside is the number of years the child will get with his elderly father. But one needs to believe in living and letting live.”
Psychologist Harish Shetty concurs, and calls it a matter of choice. “It also depends on one’s background and social status. One needs to understand that Al Pacino’s partner is young and it requires at least one healthy parent to raise a child. In such events one cannot make a general rule. The feasibility of having a child at old age depends upon case to case understanding,” he says.