Physical and emotional health of a mother when raising their children closely affect the health of the child. The study found that maternal depression affects children’s behavior changes.
Children who are still in elementary school age and raised by mothers who are depressed tend to engage in problem behaviors such as consuming alcohol and drugs when the child is a teenager.
The study involved nearly 3,000 children followed since they were toddlers. Every two years, the mothers filled out a questionnaire about physical and mental health of themselves and their children.
Then, after the children were aged 10-11 years, they filled out a questionnaire on their own. One question is whether they engage in risky behaviors, such as alcohol, drugs and smoking, and also carry a weapon or run away from home.
The researchers also found that children with mothers who are depressed in the “medium term childhood” likely sooner had risky behavior than other children.
“The influence of maternal depression on adolescent behaviors associated with poor long-term effects in adulthood,” said Ian Colman, a researcher at the University of Ottowa, Ontario.
Previous studies have suggested a link between a mother’s depression during pregnancy or after birth on the mental health of adolescents. But not much is known about maternal depression and adolescent behavior later, the team wrote in the journal Pediatrics Colman.
Mentioned, middle childhood period is a period of increased cognitive, social and emotional development. Children in this age group start school, improve their language skills and getting involved in social peer relationships.
In the care of mothers with depression and negative parental behavior that can harm their own child’s development during the sensitive time and cause “lasting deficits”.
Colman said that it is not easy to ask for help, but even just talking about what he feels sometimes can be the start of real assistance on the road to recovery for a mother who suffered from depression. “Do not forget that what is good for the mother sometimes also good for their children.”