New Studies Give Parents Something Else to Worry About

Parents have always worried about their kids. But it used to be that worrying increased when kids reached puberty. It’s then that parents hesitantly hand over the car keys; let their daughter go out on a group date; sit by the door at midnight until they heard the familiar sound of their child arriving home before curfew.

These days it’s different. Oh I’m sure that today’s parents will worry about all of the above, plus some extras thrown in there. But by the time our kids reach puberty, we’ll either be experts at handling stress or we’ll be nervous wrecks.

I recently read two recent studies that illustrate my meaning. The first study, New Genetic Link To Autism Discovered By Studying Speech, mentions that most autistic children don’t speak their first word until months or years after age one. The article goes on to discuss a link that researchers found between the gene, Contactin-associated protein-like 2 or CNTNAP2 and language and speech development. Findings suggest that this gene is strongly associated with autism.

I realize that the study in no way implies that if your child doesn’t speak by age one, they are autistic. But it is hard to ignore any news concerning the possible causes of autism. After all, new studies come out all the time pointing at one thing or another. Do vaccinations cause autism? Food allergies? Genetics? Sifting through all the information is a full-time job!

Another recent study, Mothers’ Stress May Increase Children’s Asthma, found that maternal chronic stress increases a child’s risk of developing asthma. Maternal stress, in this case, refers to mothers who received consistent care for depression and anxiety. Yikes! That’s something anxious mothers need to hear!

New information is valuable but is it possible to have too much? I mean it was quite ridiculous. My son just turned one this weekend. Has he really said a word, I wondered. There were the times he said, “bye-bye” but that was a while ago. How about “ba-oh” when he looks at a balloon? Does that count? And he does say mama… But I’m not sure what he knows what that means. That one counts certainly. When I mentioned all this to my mom she was flabbergasted, “None of you were talking at that age!”

Ahhhh. Relief.

Yes, by the time my kiddo’s 16, I probably won’t blink an eye when he gets behind the wheel. I just hope all these articles don’t give him asthma.


J. R. White

J. R. White is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She has over five years of experience in education and pedagogy.
See All Posts By The Author