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Prenatal parental stress could make toddlers cranky

Prenatal parental stress could make toddlers cranky

PanARMENIAN.Net - Two new studies about parental mind-set during pregnancy and behavioral issues in young children point to the need to support both parents, not just the expectant mother, and to attend to the well-being of fathers too, the New York Daily News reports.

Support for both members of a couple before, during and after pregnancy is crucial in getting children off to a good start, the researchers said in a statement. It was the first study to include fathers’ well-being both before and after birth, including when kids between 14 and 24 months old.

The first study showed that toddlers’ emotional and behavioral issues are affected by parents’ stress levels during pregnancy, said researchers at Cambridge University and the University of Birmingham in England; Leiden University in the Netherlands and New York University.

The study also highlighted the need to attend to what fathers are going through during this time and in a child’s early life.

“For too long, the experiences of first-time dads has either been sidelined or treated in isolation from that of mums,” lead author Claire Hughes, from Cambridge’s Centre for Family Research, said in the researchers’ statement. “This needs to change because difficulties in children’s early relationships with both mothers and fathers can have long-term effects.”

The behavior in question is set apart from the typical manifestation of the developmental stage known as the “terrible twos,” in which young ones are growing mentally by leaps and bounds, learning to make sense of and explore their new world, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes.

It also may not reach the scale of a mental disorder, which the CDC defines as “serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, causing distress and problems getting through the day.”

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