The two people killed by a polar bear in Alaska Tuesday were identified as a young mother and her 1-year-old son, officials said, while also revealing the pair were brutally mauled in front of a school with frightened kids inside.
The boy is now facing a first-degree reckless homicide charge and a harsher first-degree intentional homicide charge, which carries a sentence of life imprisonment. In Wisconsin, children as young as 10 are automatically charged as adults for some crimes, including homicide.
His young age was apparent in court this week; when asked about the possibility he could post bond, the child told his lawyer he might be able to look through couch cushions in search of loose change. His defense attorney had asked the judge in the case to lower the bond to $100, but the judge refused the request. The boy is being held in a juvenile detention facility pending $50,000 bond.
Most people assume that losing a parent as a child at a younger age is the hardest thing because losing an attachment figure is a painful thing. However, if the child has a strong support system to help them process grief, they can still develop a secure attachment and thrive.
There are two major types of explanations for the often found association between young age of mother and higher incidence of perinatal problems. First, it is hypothesized that the teenager is physiologically immature; thus her less desirable outcomes (see for example, NCHS, 1984:10). A second explanation is the differential social characteristics of teenage mothers-lower SES, lack of access to prenatal care, poor nutrition, poverty and ignorance (see, for example, Baizerman, 1977; Mednick and Baker, 1980). Whatever explanations are used (and different ones may hold for different age groups) should account for the higher levels of perinatal problems among both teen and older mothers.
Lester et al. (1982, 1983) used the Brazelton Scale on the second day after birth of a sample of Puerto Rican and American infants of teen mothers. In addition they obtained information on a number of health measures from medical records. In a regression analysis controlling for ponderal index, gestational age, marital status, drug score, 1 minute Apgar and the number of maternal parturitional and fetal nonoptimal conditions, none of the associations between maternal age and Brazelton scale cluster scores were significant. There did appear to be an interaction in the Puerto Rican sample between a complications index and age. Infants of young mothers with few complications had a wider range of states of arousal than infants of older mothers with few complications.
The Mednick and Baker (1980) study, using Danish data, looked at the physical health status of the infant at one year as an outcome measure (see Makinson, 1985, for results of other non-U.S. studies). They found that the relationship between mother's age and infant's first year physical health status was curvilinear. That is, infants of mothers under 20 and over 35 were the healthiest; those of mothers in their twenties had the most health problems. Comparing neonatal and one year outcomes, children of the youngest mothers were the best off at both points. In contrast children of older mothers were less well off at birth, but very well off at one year. This suggests different mechanisms influencing the different outcomes at two points in time: biological factors at birth, environmental factors at one year. Older mothers may have the most biological problems but the best environment. Age-related social variables may be enough to compensate for the negative biological effects seen at birth. Mednick and Baker show that the most important predictors of health status at one year were birthweight and being female. After controlling for these important factors, a number of environmental factors were associated with better child health, including an older mother, fewer previous pregnancies, and less exposure to institutional day care.
Why the infants of Danish mothers under 20 were healthiest at one year also needs explanation. Mednick and Baker hypothesized that teen mothers may have older adults to rely on for support. They found that infants living with their grandmothers had the best mean health score; infants living with both biological parents a mid-range score, while infants who lived with their unmarried mother or in an institution or foster home showed the worst scores at one year. In one analysis, after controlling for birthweight and pregnancy complications, number of nurturing adults was strongly related to a positive one year health status among children of teen mothers. Mothers in their twenties may lack the parental support of the young mothers as well as the maturity and experience that come with age.
This analysis assumed a linear relationship between maternal age and outcomes. In fact, other analyses by the same researchers have shown a non-linear relationship. The weakness of maternal age effects may be due to differential influences across the life cycle. Finally, this analysis did not and could not include the potential ameliorating influence of other adults in the home for the very young mother.
The leading causes of infant accident mortality in North Carolina were suffocation by inhalation and/or ingestion of food, and suffocation by mechanical means (e.g., in bed or cradle, by plastic bag, etc.), with transport accidents coming third. In Washington State, transport accidents were the leading cause, with mechanical suffocation and food suffocation next. Parental care is crucial for the safety and well-being of children; and such parental care appears to be less dependable among families in which the mother is young, black, less well-educated and has more children.
Three studies using the CPP have looked at the association between age at birth of the child and motor development. Marecek (1979) found no consistent evidence for a relationship between age at first birth of the mother and the child's motor development at age 4. At age 7, Marecek found a slight curvilinear relationship such that children of both older and younger mothers do slightly less well on the Bender-Gestalt test than children of mothers in their late teens and early twenties. Hardy et al. (1978), in contrast, using the Baltimore subsample of the CPP, found a significant difference in scores on the Bender-Gestalt test at age 7, favoring the children of older mothers.
The major source of data on infants and young children is the Collaborative Perinatal Project (CPP). Although a number of different researchers have utilized data from this study in their analyses, the subsamples they have used have been slightly different. As a result, the results should not be expected to be identical. Marecek (1981) used the Philadelphia subsample of the survey in her study, Hardy (1980) used the Baltimore subsample, while Belmont et al. (1981) and Cohen et al. (1980) and Broman (1981) used the entire sample of respondents and their children. Although blacks were overrepresented in the entire sample, they were especially predominant in both the Baltimore and the Philadelphia samples. These sample hospitals served a primarily black, low SES area of their respective cities. Thus the results from Marecek and Hardy may differ from those of the other studies.
Marecek draws two conclusions: 1) The effects of maternal age on infant mental development are small, and 2) Maternal age is more likely to affect boys' development than girls'. Thus on these measures little difference was found between children of older and younger mothers.
The Collaborative Perinatal Project (CPP) used the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale to measure the intelligence of children at age 4. Using this measure, Hardy et al. (1978) found a significant difference in IQ score at age 4 between children of black mothers who bore that child at 17 or younger and those who were 20 to 24 at that birth. The difference is about 4 IQ points on the average. There was no difference for whites.
Marecek found that, among whites, mother's age at first birth is unrelated to grade repetition. Among blacks she found a higher repetition rate among children of childbearers under 20 at first birth. Controlling for race, Davis and Grossbard-Schechtman found that having a mother who is young at birth of the study child does increase grade retention (indirectly through IQ). In addition, the impact of mother's schooling was found to be more significant for adolescent than for older mothers in keeping the child at grade level. That is, having an adolescent mother with one additional year of schooling decreased grade retention by almost 50 percent. In contrast, having an older mother with one additional year of schooling reduced grade retention by only about 10 percent.
In the path model, controlling for mother's education, family size, family socioeconomic status, and birthweight, Mednick and Baker found that mother's age no longer has direct effects; however it has some indirect effects on children's socioemotional development. In particular, a younger mother's age is associated with family instability among both males and females. Family instability is associated with withdrawn behavior (poor peer interaction, fearfulness and feelings of inferiority) among males and with acting out behaviors (aggressiveness, impulsivity) among girls. A younger mother's age also affects crowding in the home5 for both males and females, but only among females does crowding in the home affect behavior: it is associated with withdrawal.
Card (1978) also explored the consequences of mother's age at first birth for children 11 years after high school, approximately age 30. Net of sex, race, socioeconomic status, birth order, and head of household, children who had an adolescent parent completed less schooling, married at a younger age, and married more times than those who didn't have an adolescent parent. When, in addition, a control for academic aptitude was introduced, differences in schooling and number of marriages disappeared. The difference in age at first marriage remained. In a path model, Card also found a slight tendency toward earlier childbearing among children of adolescent parents. There were a number of indirect effects of adolescent parentage on later childbearing history, educational attainment, occupation and income. These operated through family structure, family SES in 1960 and academic aptitude. For example, having an mother who gave birth while an adolescent affected the child's academic aptitude, which affected the child's own childbearing history. 59ce067264