Pandemic stress Increase in aggressive parenting practices

A study was done to see how daily stress during the pandemic affected the way parents disciplined their children.

The pandemic changed the way parents discipline, here's how
via Unsplash / Artyom Kabajev

Studies of how the pandemic has changed parenting have revealed some pretty important ideas when it comes to discipline. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned out to be more than just a serious and deadly virus. Everyone struggled in one way or another as their lives were turned upside down. Schools were closed and students had to navigate remotely. Parents were now trying to work from home and help their children at school at the same time, and everyone got a bit of “cabin fever” because they couldn’t go about their lives normally.

We would expect to see some aspects of parenting change, and studies are currently underway to see what exactly the changes were. According to Medical Xpress, a study was carried out to see how daily stress during the pandemic affected the way parents disciplined their children.

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The study was carried out by Ohio State University and it can be read in full here. He found that when parents reached the maximum daily stress they could handle, they were more likely to use aggressive discipline with their children. This was found (usually) towards the end of the day.

The study immediately highlights that parents need more resources and support as they attempt to navigate a pandemic that still rages around the world. The study measured stress levels three times a day for two weeks. He showed that each time parents’ stress levels increased, the more likely they were to use disciplinary strategies, such as spanking, on their child (ren). It wasn’t just physical either, parents were also more likely to resort to psychological aggression, such as trying to shame their child.

Bridget Freisthler was the lead author of the study and she said general stress levels didn’t seem to have an impact on stress at this time. She also said that it seemed like stress built up throughout the day and by the end of it the parents were “fed up” with it. It was then that they were more likely to use aggressive discipline. She also reiterated that this type of discipline is just not healthy for children, so work needs to be done to help parents so that they are able to cope with the stress of parenthood. They are better able to discipline in a healthier way.

Sources: Medical Xpress, Springer Link

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