Depression after delivery affects child behaviour
Children whose mothers were depressed after giving birth are more likely to exhibit violent behaviours, such as using weapons during fights, than children of mothers who did not have postpartum blues. Also, having a mother who suffered repeated bouts of depression further increases the risk of violence among children.
While most children were not violent, they found that children of mothers who were depressed 3 months after giving birth were more likely to exhibit violent behaviours, particularly if mothers became depressed again. Violent behaviours included fighting at school and using weapons during fights. Although boys tended to be more violent, girls of mothers with postpartum depression were also at risk.Infants raised by depressed mothers may be more at risk of later violence because they are less able to manage their emotions, including anger. One of the most important things caregivers do for infants is to soothe them, talk to them, and make them comfortable, all of which help infants calm themselves. As a result, infants with depressed mothers may not learn how to deal with their own agitation, putting them at risk of behaviour problems later in life. If the depressed mother do not get help from other, non-depressed people, her baby may fail to learn how to manage distress and anger, and will go into the childhood years at risk for various problems. It is also very important not to blame mothers for their children's problems. Depression is not a wilful act, so it is not possible for mothers who are concerned about their children simply to stop being depressed. However, depression in young mothers should be recognised and treated appropriately so that it does not affect the development of their children.
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