Stay home with your teen, not your toddler?

The question was raised about whether teens would benefit from their parents taking paternity leave when they are in high school. And it seems it does.

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  • Millions of parents every year take maternity or paternity leave to tend to their newborn children.

  • But would they be better suited to do so 16 years down the road?

  • That's the question New York magazine's Jennifer Senior raised earlier this year, saying that teens may benefit greatly if they spent more time with their parents during their troubling high school years.

  • Senior's claim is mostly based on research from the Journal of Marriage and Family, which specifically looked into how time spent between mothers, fathers and children affect a child later in life.

  • Even though the study found that the amount of time mothers spend with their children doesn't affect much of their behavioral or academic success, it did find that adolescents are greatly affected for the better when their parents spend time with them.

  • "Though the researchers found no correlation between how much time fathers spent with their children and a wide variety of outcomes, they found that engaged time with both parents made a positive difference during adolescence, including 'fewer behavioral problems, better performance in math, less substance use, and less delinquent behavior,'" Senior wrote.

  • Senior, though, admitted that newborns do need attention during their early developmental years, so taking maternity or paternity leave makes a lot of sense at that age, too.

  • In fact, research from the last several years has found that paid parental leave positively benefits a newborn and new mother's health, according to CNN, which reviewed more than 20 health studies on paternity leave.

  • CNN reported that paternity leave reduces child mortality rates by 10 percent, and children of parents who took leave were 25 percent less likely to get measles, too.

  • "The very significant message of this paper is that there is a potential for maternity leave benefit programs to have a real long-term effect on the mental health of women and that the effects of maternity leave benefits are not only short-lived … they are likely to extend for many decades," Mauricio Avendano, a professor of science and health at King's College in London, told CNN.

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  • But Imogen Moore of Time magazine wrote in August that her 14-year-old daughter — who struggled with depression, an eating disorder and suicidal thoughts — could have benefited from having more time spent with her mother.

  • "How different would our lives have been if I had had the option of taking some parental leave and knowing that my cosy white-collar job was waiting for me when she was that age?" Moore asked. "Or how different would our lives have been if there had been paid parental leave I could have accessed when my daughter was 5 or 11? What might I have achieved then to avoid the horrifying almost-misstep that came later?"

  • Moore commended all the businesses that are trying to provide parents with longer lengths of maternity and paternity leave. But many still fail to realize that teens go through a tremendous amount of stress, pressure and anxiety during adolescent years and could benefit from having their parent around more often, Moore wrote.

  • These are some of the reasons why some mothers are taking "teen maternity leave" to offer their teens support, according to The Telegraph. Some mothers have decided to stop working altogether when their child reaches their teen years so they can spend time with them.

  • "The hard reality is that it is when our children hate us the most that they also need us the most," Moore wrote for Time. "We are needed when a child becomes a fledgling adult just as much as we are needed when our sweet newborn becomes a fledgling child."

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Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

Website: https://twitter.com/HerbScribner

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