A new study finds some mothers reacted to the Great Recession by yelling at their kids more frequently, as well as scolding and spanking them.


The findings were part of a long-term Fragile Families and Child Well-being study, conducted by researchers from several universities, including Princeton University.

"The results of the survey are not surprising because moms feel like they're always under pressure, and dads have their own types of pressure," says family therapist Dr. Marty Tashman.

He points out parents may think their children don't notice when they're under a lot of stress, "but they pick up non-verbal cues, they pick it up in terms of quick responses to the parents, and it clearly affects them."

So what's the best way for parents to keep their cool?

"It's important for parents to learn to become aware of their own stress and to periodically take what I call you emotional temperature," he says. "On a scale of one to 10 - whatever scale works for you - ask yourself how upset, how tense am I at this moment? Am I a three, am I a seven or an eight?"

Dr. Tashman says once you do this, you can then figure out how to calm yourself down.

He points out this may be a matter of taking a break, having a cup of coffee, going for a walk or simply taking a couple of deep breaths.

"The idea is to be sensitive that there are more danger points or times when you're going to snap at the kids, and to try not to over-schedule yourself - sometimes when you get stressed out it's easy to forget why you wanted to have kids, so it helps to have a picture around, to remember what you like about your child."

Dr. Tashman adds if you do snap, it's not the end of the world.

"Realize that you're human," he says, "and you can teach your youngster about humility and apologize. Don't be shy about telling your youngster that you were stressed, and you're sorry."

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