Ladies, sick of "studies" that blame moms for everything that goes wrong with their kids? Here's a refreshing change! A new study suggests that during pregnancy, the mental health of expecting dads may influence toddler behavior. That's right, a wigged-out dad today can mean a tantrum-throwing toddler two years from now.
The study looked at 31,000 children and asked each parent about their mental states. And then they asked the parents if their children got into a lot of fights, seemed anxious, or changed their moods from day to day. And oddly enough, the fathers who reported high levels of mental distress during pregnancy just happened to later have 3-year-olds who acted emotionally distressed.
Okay, so I kind of want to run with this thing and say SEE?!? You can do everything right, moms. You can eat right, get plenty of rest, do yoga all through your pregnancy, nurse and hold on demand. And if your toddler is still a little hellion? Blame your nervous husband. THIS EXPLAINS SO MUCH!
But it's not as simple as that. The study doesn't exactly prove that stressed-out dads cause tantrum-throwing toddlers. It's just saying, "Huh, stressed-out dads and tantrums, together. What's up with that?" Which is scientist speak for "we need to look into this some more before moms start blaming dads for everything." Still, this should give expecting parents some food for thought.
Maybe when women go in for their prenatal appointments, doctors should also be asking how the dads are doing, too. And maybe this is more about genetics -- babies inheriting anxiety from their fathers but not showing it until they're older. At any rate, I think at the least it can't do any harm to make sure dads are relaxed too when moms are pregnant. It's good practice for when the baby finally arrives!
Do you remember what mental state your husband or boyfriend was in when you were pregnant?
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