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Watch Out, Young Moms: Your Kids Are More Likely to Have ADHD, Says Science

We hear plenty about the risks of becoming a mother when you’re older (even though recent studies have shown that older parents have better-behaved children, so there’s that!). But yesterday, a new study conducted by the University of South Australia, which was published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, explains how younger moms are more likely to have kids with ADHD — especially moms under the age of 20. 

According to the eye-opening research that discovered the genetic relationship between female reproductive traits and key psychiatric disorders, ADHD in children was strongly linked with early maternal age at first birth. Before the researchers came to this conclusion, though, they used genetic data from 220,685 women to find the correlation between age factors (such as a woman’s age at first sexual intercourse and at first birth) and common disorders (such as ADHD, autism and depression). 

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Parents hear this… ADHD is not your fault. We would never say it is the parents fault that their child needs glasses. ⠀ ⠀ Your children (or yourself if you have ADHD) work so hard just to keep up. Recognize the hard work and praise them for trying hard. ⠀ Some kids give up trying because they’ve heard so much negativity towards them, empathize with them and make sure they know you believe in them! They need you!⠀ •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ •⠀ ⠀ #adhd #adhdparenting #adhdmom #adhddad #parenting #mom #adhdsupport #adhdproblems #adhdsolutions #adhdstrengths #familyadhdcoach #calgary #adhdtips #adhdtools #adhdkids #adhdlife #adhdwomen #adhdadults #adhdbrain #familyadhdcoach #adhdcoach #adhdencouragement #wellness #adhdcommunity #adhdemotions #adhdisreal #findthepositive #adhdstruggles #adhdawarenessmonth #strengths

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UniSA researcher Hong Lee explains how this new information can educate young women about the genetic risks of having children at a young age — and caution women against getting pregnant before they’re ready. Waiting until their 20s/early 30s “not only improves their reproductive health but also the maternal environment for their baby,” Lee writes in the study

Beyond educating women about these risks, Lee hopes the study gives young women a better understanding of ADHD overall, and awareness of the warning signs in their children. “We’re able to educate young mothers about the features of ADHD, such as impulsivity and inattentive behaviors, which may help mothers better recognize the condition in their child and seek treatment sooner than later.”

Lee wants observers to know that ADHD is highly heritable; it could be that a younger mother has the genes affecting ADHD risk, which is then inherited by her child.

“Knowing a woman has a genetic predisposition for ADHD can be recorded in her family medical history and then used to monitor her health and the health of her offspring,” Lee writes. “In this way, we’re able to ensure both mother and baby receive the support and help they need.”

Unfortunately, you can’t control whether or not your ADHD genes are passed down to your child. More importantly, this study shouldn’t deter someone from having children at a younger age if that’s what they truly want. These findings, though, at the very least raise awareness of ADHD — which is found in a whopping 6 million American children between the ages of 4 and 17. 

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