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Diet & Nutrition

Does mother really know best?

It’s a saying as old as time, but a new study is asking the question of which parent really knows what’s best when it comes to their child’s wellbeing.

A new study of 6,000 families is believed to have proven, that when it comes to raising children, mother doesn’t necessarily always know best.
To reach their findings, researchers from the Aarhus University in Denmark used CHIPS-tests (Children's Problem Solving) to determine a child’s linguistic and cognitive level, as well as their psychiatric diagnosis.
They then compared these results with the parents’ overall evaluation of the child's academic and behavioural performance.
Naturally, the academics took into account a range of family variables, including gender, parents' age, educational background, work situation and income.
And from the data collected, they were able to determine that a father is just as capable in evaluating a child’s cognitive and non-cognitive skills as a mother.
"This is important knowledge not least in [the example of] divorce cases, where the majority of parental rights cases are decided in favour of the mother - among other things based on the parents' testimonies on the welbeing and skills of their children," says Nabanita Datta Gupta, one of the three researchers behind the study.
The study found that mothers who has suffered mental health issues often evaluated their children's capabilities as worse than they really were.
Furthermore, the study also went on to discover that mothers who have suffered from their own mental health issues tended to evaluate their child’s competences as poorer than they actually were.
According to the findings, such behaviour can result in the child having lower self-esteem as well as lack in confidence, leading them to doubt their abilities.
The study’s findings tied in with previous research from the same university, which found that children of parents with mental illnesses are at a greater risk of attempting suicide.
"Many women who suffer from post-natal depression are never diagnosed, but their mental state still influences their life and also their ability to evaluate their children's competences,” says Nabanita Datta Gupta.
“Generally, our results indicate that parents should be regarded equally in clinical and school-related contexts, where the doctor and the teacher might as well hear the father's evaluation of e.g. symptoms and well-being as the mother's," she adds.
Looks like both mum and dad will be attending parent-teacher night from now on...

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