New science gives yet another reason why society should steer its teens from pregnancy and childbirth. In addition to social strains put upon teen mothers and their children by forces such as family and schooling, a study from the Center for Research on Inner City Health of St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada shows children of teen mothers display stunted speech skills by age five compared to other children.
Published in Archives of Disease in Childhood and led by Dr. Julia Morinis, the study collected data from the Millennium Cohort Study. This study took over 19,000 children born in 2001 in the UK and at the age of 5 studied their speech development. The end result of Dr. Morinis’ work shows developmental factors such as the mother’s age at birth can stunt a child’s development. The researcher clearly states, “Having a baby in your teens is the cause of underdeveloped speaking skills.”
Dr. Morinis insists these results do not exist in a vacuum. Mothers in their teams are less likely to finish schooling or secure steady and lucrative employment. This, in addition to the stresses of having a child a relatively young age, undeniably stunts a child’s verbal development.
Though other developmental deficiencies can be attributed to the depressed socioeconomics prevalent among teen mothers, Dr. Morinis insists more is at play in a child’s language development. In short, teen mothers often suffer financially and socially, but the data indicates something more is going on.
We already knew being a teen mom was stressful for the mothers. Now with this science, we’re starting to see that it’s stressful for the child as well.