Parenting 101: Is economic stress a recipe for child abuse?

Parenting 101

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an economic crisis. In fact, the outbreak put more Americans out of work in three weeks than the great recession did in two years. Now a new study shows there’s an unfortunate side effect of a weak economy and it affects children.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on Americans’ finances. Millions have lost their jobs and are worried about the future. Now a study that measured the risk of child abuse, found a poor economic climate might lead to more child abuse.

Researchers analyzed data on nearly 5,000 families where the mother self-reported their behaviors before, during, and after the Great Recession of 2008. They found the risk for abuse by mothers increased at the time of the recession.

The families that were most affected had a mother living with a partner who wasn’t the biological father. Scientists say the stresses of economic uncertainty may increase the likelihood of abuse. But parents should reach out for help.

Accessing economic support, social technology, mental health professionals, and parent educators are good sources for support during this time. The bottom line? Parents should know they’re not alone in their struggles.

Researchers say many families will be struggling financially and will need assistance during and after this pandemic is over. Many will need increased social support through government programs like WIC and SNAP. To report suspected child abuse, call the National Child Help Hotline at 1-800-4-A-child.

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