How Parenting Anxious Children May Help You Live Longer

Even when it may seem like parenting anxious children is adding to your stress levels or even increasing your chances of dying young, a Danish study suggests otherwise. The study, published online by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, found that it was childless adults that tended to die younger than their parenting counterparts.

“Childless women experience a fourfold higher rate of death,” the study results noted. Fathers cut their chances of dying young by half, giving childless men double the rate of death than fathers.

The decreased mortality rate counts in the case of natural birth parents as well as parents who adopt children. As an added bonus, parents who adopted a child showed a decreased rate of psychiatric illness.

The rate of psychiatric illness did not change between childless individuals and those with children.

So what’s with the lower death rate for parents, even those who hands their hands full with anxious children? No definitive answer was given, although a Psychology Today article did offer a theory:

“One explanation might be that once you become a parent, you start taking better care of yourself, and avoid some of the riskier life choices, like motorcycles or drunken binges, that could lead to an earlier death. Or there’s always the more Hallmark-card interpretation, one that I’m a little less inclined to believe in my post-holiday grumpiness: that the love of a child is its own life-affirming balm.”

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