Effect of Parental Depression on Children

parental-depression-on-children Do you suffer from depression? If you are a parent, your depression can be extremely harmful for your children. Several studies have noted the adverse effect of parental depression on children.

In USA itself, there are about 7.5 million depressed parents. Nearly 15 million American children live with at least one parent suffering from severe depression. Parental depression can even affect children before birth.

Crying baby and depressed parents
If your baby cries excessively, your depression might be responsible for his or her crying habit. A new study conducted at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands has suggested that excessive crying of infants might be linked to depressed dads. When babies cry for over three hours a day, over three days a week, they are known to be crying excessively. However, excessive crying gradually subsides within six months after birth, without any medical intervention. The Dutch researchers found that nearly 30 percent of these babies had depressed parents. The risk of colicky behavior is highest in infants with fathers who were depressed during their wife’s pregnancy. While several earlier studies have established the adverse affect of maternal depression on newborns, this is perhaps the first study, which found that paternal depression could be equally harmful for infants.

Childhood stress
Incidence of stress is highest among older children and teens with depressed parents. A University of Gothenburg study has found that the relation between parents and children are badly effected by parental depression. As communication decreases between parents and children, the children feel lonely. When the depressed parent withdraws from familial responsibility, children feel that they have been left alone. They suddenly find themselves shouldering a lot of responsibility. Children of depressed parents feel that they have to take care of themselves as well as their siblings and parents. These children consider preventing their depressed parent commit suicide as their most difficult responsibility.

Unhealthy development
Depressed mothers pay less attention to their children. Women suffering from depression during pregnancy, receive low prenatal care, giving birth to underweight infants. Risk of preterm delivery is high among depressed mothers. Children with depressed parents become vulnerable.

They develop poor social skills, they have low self worth and are prone to stress and depression.

Therefore, if you love your children, you should learn to live a depression free life.