Parents seem to be taking out their money trouble frustrations in the form of abusing their children, according to a new study.
The American Association of Pediatrics published the study in its recent journal, which analyzed reports of children suffering from “abusive head trauma” in hospitals in four states, including Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington.
The results showed that there was a dramatic increase in cases after the bottom dropped out of the stock market in 2007, with incidents climbing from 8.9 per 100,000 kids to 14.7 per 100,000.
Dr. Rachel P. Berger, a co-author of the study, told Reuters, “If what we are seeing is even close to generalizable, that is a lot of excess children.”
Berger added, “Most people really think it is a tremendous underestimate.”
Elizabeth Gershoff, a parenting psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, was quoted as saying “poverty for parents can be very stressful,” and suggested that the childrens’ crying likely sparked the abuse.
Gershoff advises parents to “take a break” from the crying if the baby is in a safe place, such as a crib, and “come back when you have calmed down.”
Berger says a decrease in government assistance is also not helping matters, and that cuts in daycare and child benefits may have “forced mothers to leave their babies with people who don’t usually take care of them.”
She also said that as a society consideration needs to be made about “what the outcome is going to be when we cut programs that help infants and young children.”
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