Netherlands: Aggression and rule-breaking is rarer in children of older parents

04 October 2019

Children of older parents tend to have fewer externalising behaviour problems than children of younger parents, a study suggests.

Researchers analysed the problem behaviour of more than 32,000 Dutch children aged 10 to 12. Externalising behaviour such as rule-breaking and aggression, and internalising behaviour such as anxiety and depression were rated by fathers, mothers, teachers and the children themselves.

The findings, published in Child Development, showed that the children of older parents had fewer externalising behaviour problems, even after considering the families’ socioeconomic status.

But parents’ age appeared unrelated to children’s internalising behaviour problems.

Utrecht University’s Marielle Zondervan-Zwijnenburg, who led the study, said: ‘With respect to common behaviour problems, we found no reason for future parents to worry about a harmful effect of having a child at an older age.’

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