Here's another downside to the Great Recession: It made some moms tougher on their children.
A research paper released Monday found that some moms' reactions to the 2007-09 recession included shouting more at their kids and even taking aggressive action, such as yanking or spanking them.
The responses weren't just among mothers who had lost a job or otherwise been personally affected by the financial crisis. Instead, the researchers found that these moms became harder on their kids once the general economy started to deteriorate, perhaps because it made them worried and anxious about something bad happening.
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"It's the change in the rate of unemployment—the fear of unemployment—that stimulated the harsh parenting," said Irwin Garfinkel, a professor of contemporary urban problems at Columbia University's School of Social Work and one of the authors of the study.
The silver lining is that those same moms became better parents after the economy improved.
"These mothers, while they do worse in poor environments, do better in good environments," Garfinkel said.
The findings were from a long-running study of the families of about 5,000 children born in 20 American cities between 1998 and 2000. This study did not look at dads, he said.
For this finding, the researchers tested whether the women had a genetic variance that the researchers believe makes people more sensitive in general.
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Though there were incidences of harsh parenting among the other participants, the rise during the recession (and subsequent improvement) was more prevalent among the sensitive ones, who made up about half of the mothers studied, Garfinkel said.