Marital problems and misunderstandings are reported to be linked to serious sleep problems in infants and toddlers, the scientists say. It was well known before that instability and unhealthy relationships between parents usually cause certain behavioral and psychological problems in their kids, but according to the findings of the research published recently in the journal Child Development, marital conflicts very often lead to developing serous sleep problems in infants as well. The combination of all the mentioned factors caused by marital instability and problems between parents can lead to serious outcomes for children, including behavioral and social issues, problems in school, psychological disorders and so on.
The study conducted by a group of specialists at Oregon Social Learning Center involved close analysis of the situation in about 350 middle class families with children between 9 and 18 months. To rule out the chances that sleep disorders in infants can be caused by genetic predisposition, only the families with adopted infants were invited to participate the study. The degree of marital problems was evaluated by using a standard four-grade measure, with the highest point given to those couples who gave positive answer to the question about possible divorce or separation.
The facts have proven that prolonged instability and conflicts between parents when the children are 9 months old are strictly linked to sleep problems (including inability to fall asleep, problems with staying asleep at night, night walking and so on) when children become 18 months old. “Our findings suggest that the association between marital instability and children’s subsequent sleep problems emerges earlier in development than has been demonstrated previously,” says Anne Manning, one of the Oregon State University study group leaders.
“Parents should be aware that stress in the marriage can potentially impact their child even at a very young age,” underlines Anne Manning in the statement of the scientists. Now, the Oregon study group is planning to get focused on studying the links between marital conflicts and the emergence of sleep problems or disturbances in children after the age of 2. So, if you are a mom or father of an infant, remember about healthy parenting, the role of parent-child relationship and the above mentioned effects of marital problems and instability on your infants. Remember that sleep problems in infants can lead to very serious and unstoppable consequences.