Parenting is one of the hardest things in the world. According to some studies, it is also one of the factors that contribute to aging.
You don’t need to read a lot of research to know how much demanding the The task of raising a childExpenses related to the education and care of the child multiply, daily obligations increase exponentially, and unfortunately social and financial pressures increase.
Unfortunately it seems Science has confirmed all of this. Research in the field of psychology and sociology has highlighted the challenges parents face on a daily basis. Researchers have also been able to identify some of the factors that make aging more premature.
Having a child is like being 11 years old
Basically, in 2020, an American university tried to understand the impact of child rearing on the lives of mothers. The study included 2,000 American women between the ages of 20 and 44 and found that, at the cellular levelAnd Those who gave birth were over 11 years old of those who do not have children.
What is discovered depends on Length Telomeres, which can basically be described as segments of DNA that cover the ends of chromosomes. Without getting too deep into the science, telomeres tend to shorten over time. Shorter telomeres are associated with higher mortality rates and physical signs of aging, such as gray hair.
What the scientists found was that women who gave birth telomeres on average 4.2% shorter of those who do not have children. “This equates to approximately 11 years of cellular aging“, He said Anna Pollackthe lead author of the document, In New Scientist.
Obviously, these conclusions are not to be taken as absolute truths. Or rather, it is important to define it Childbirth itself is not the cause of the shorter telomeres Hence aging. If anything, everything that comes after childbirth is the problem. In fact, a different study conducted in 2017 indicated that having more children leads to longer telomeres.
These conclusions prompted the researchers to conclude that It is not the labor of childbirth itself that affects the aging of the parents, but the stress associated with it to breed from children. This is even more true in countries that do not have mandatory maternity leave, such as the United States.
The 2022 research went further and attempted to understand the factors that indicate greater aging for child-rearing fathers. The answer may be surprising to some, and at the same time very obvious to others: The age of sons is more than that of daughters.
Sons seem to be more difficult
A survey conducted in the United States on a sample of more than 13,000 people over the age of fifty revealed this Parents who have at least one son tend to age faster compared to those without children.
The team is coming from Charles University in Prague and Columbia University in New Yorkdata from an ongoing study that monitored more than 30,000 people over the age of 50 and their spouses. The parents completed regular cognitive tests to assess their mental abilities, such as memory, concentration, reasoning and understanding.
Results published in Journal of Psychological Researchit turns out that parents who had at least one son had one A faster rate of cognitive decline of those who have daughters.
The researchers say more research is needed, but they nonetheless suggest some possible explanations. For example, It is believed that daughters are more likely to take care of their parents later in lifeprovide emotional support and thus help maintain their mental health during the aging process.
It is believed that Fathers of sons may be less inclined to lead a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown, for example, that fathers of daughters are less likely to consume alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. On the contrary, it appears that mothers of sons tend to have a higher BMI.
However, more research is needed to fully understand the factors that contribute to this variance in cognitive decline. This study represents an important starting point for future investigations and to identify potential interventions that could help maintain cognitive function in the elderly.
Is parenting more difficult today than it was for our parents?
In the year 2022, psychologist Penelope Leach released a new version of his classic, “Child: from birth to 6 yearsFirst published in 1977. Leach said she plans to republish the book for Better reflect modern parenting.
The reasons given by him are many. For example, there is new evidence about the importance of co-sleeping. Moreover, it must be taken into accountThe evolution of the modern family structure. Another big topic is that of mothers, who are more likely to work full time than in the past.
The psychologist reported on a 2012 University of California study, which found this Modern parents spend twice as much time playing with their children every day compared to the sixties. Meanwhile, the number of working mothers jumped to 75.6% between June 2021 and April 2021, an all-time high. In short, fathers are more present in their children’s lives than ever before, however With less time to do so.
Another major topic of modern parenting is closely related to the Internet and social networking. “We have a lot of information at our fingertips. In a few seconds we can find all the tips to be good parents. While this may have positive effects in some ways, we are often overwhelmed with knowledgeLeachs says.
In short, there are many reasons why parenthood seems more difficult now than it ever did. There is more social pressureHigher expectations, unlimited access to information that can be both informative and confusing. In all of this, there is also a file More active participation in children’s lives.
The psychologist concludes by saying that it is important to remember that every generation has its challenges. The important thing is to strike a balance between what works for the individual and their family, and not to confront an idealized image of what parenting should be like.
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