Do younger dads have healthier kids?

Dr. Mark Weiser from Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine has found in several studies that older men have an increased risk of having children with autism, a lower IQ, or social skills deficits. Interviews with 450,000 Israeli male teens were examined; those whose fathers were 45 years old or older when the boys were born had a 50% greater likelihood of poor social functioning. Dr. Weiser hypothesized that fathers with poor social skills might get married at a later age and then pass social difficulties on to their children. However, the researchers attempted to control for this by studying brothers. It might also be possible that older fathers might have greater access to medical support, resulting in an increase in diagnoses.

The researchers noted that most of the increased risk was related to fathers in their 50s, as the difference in risk between 35 and 45 year-old fathers was extremely small. In fact, even the increased risk remained small; Dr. Weiser suggested that older men shouldn’t change their minds about having kids.

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FA031 – Anatomy of Three Things, Part 4

Doctors Brian, Giuseppe, and Richard talk about recent stories posted on the Family Anatomy website, including: bubble blowing for stress, brains and addiction, and antisocial teens’ response to “stressful” situations.

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Kids in Sports, Part 3: What Promotes Sportspersonship?

When parents sign their children up to participate in sports, one of their hopes is that their child will learn to be a “good sport”. Unfortunately, this lesson is not always taught due to either a coach who has not been properly trained or a parent-spectator who displays negative behaviours. Many of us have had good and not so good experiences in this respect.

In 2007, Researchers from the University of Minnesota, University of Missouri and University of Notre Dame studied the social and personal influences on youth sportspersonship. Close to 700 kids from fifth to eight grade were studied. There were several key findings from the report.  Using self-report measures, the researchers found that from fifth to eight grade the level of unsportspersonlike behaviour steadily increased. This is problematic as it suggests that the sports culture kids grow up in teaches them to be more unsportspersonlike as they age. The study also found that coaches, teammates, parents and spectators all exert an influence on the display of sportspersonlike behaviour.

Bullying – The Family Connection

Research presented at the American Sociological Association suggests a connection between parenting style and bullying. Elizabeth Sweeney reviewed studies of bullying among 9 to 16 year-olds in 6 countries. She found that children of authoritarian parents – those who are unresponsive and emphasize obedience – were significantly more likely to engage in bullying behaviour. Tolerance of bullying also contributed to its persistence.

You can read more here.

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