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Here's why children of aged parents maybe better behaved

ANI | Updated: Sep 01, 2019 15:25 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Sept 1 (ANI): Parents take note! While it's well known that fertility begins declining for women around the age of 35 and that children born to aged parents are at a higher risk of neurological and behavioural conditions, but the news isn't all bad for older parents.
In fact, recent research has found that the children of aged parents actually exhibit fewer behavioural problems overall.
The study, published in the journal 'Child Development', stated that kids born to aged parents tend to have fewer externalising behaviour which includes physical aggression, disobeying rules, cheating, stealing, and destruction of property, than children of younger parents.
However, the study also mentioned that parents' age was not related to children's internalising behaviours which include fearfulness, social withdrawal, and somatic complaints.
"We wanted to know if there is an association between parents' age and common behaviour problems in children. With respect to common behaviour problems, we found no reason for future parents to worry about the harmful effect of having a child at an older age," said Marielle Zondervan-Zwijnenburg, study's lead author.
Researchers analysed the behaviour of 32,892 Dutch children when they were 10 to 12 years old. Problem behaviour was rated by fathers, mothers, teachers, and the children themselves through a series of standardised instruments.
The children, all of whom were born after 1980, were part of four studies--Generation R, the Netherlands Twin Register, the Research on Adolescent Development and Relationships-Young Cohort (RADAR-Y), and the Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey.
In the Generation R study, mothers' age at child's birth ranged from 16 to 46 and fathers' age at child's birth ranged from 17 to 68. In the Netherlands Twin Register, mothers' age at child's birth ranged from 17 to 47 and fathers' from 18 to 63. In the RADAR-Y study, mothers' age at child's birth ranged from 17 to 48 and fathers' from 20 to 52. And in the Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey, mothers' age at child's birth ranged from 16 to 44 and fathers' from 18 to 52.
The study found that the children of aged parents had fewer externalising behaviour problems, as reported by the parents. The findings of fewer externalising behaviour problems persisted--as reported by parents and teachers--even after considering the families' socioeconomic status, so the researchers concluded that the favourable effect of parents' age on children's behaviour was not solely due to their income level.
The study's authors noted that they focused only on children's externalising and internalising behaviour problems, so the findings cannot be generalised to other behaviours.
"It's possible that some of the reason why older parents have children with fewer problems like aggression is that older parents have more resources and higher levels of education," explained Dorret Boomsma, study's co-author.
"But it is important to note that the higher average educational level of older parents does not completely explain the decreased levels of externalizing problems in their children," Boomsma added.
The study was carried out by researchers at Utrecht University, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Erasmus Medical Centre, and University Medical Centre Groningen. (ANI)