One question, according to Garfinkel, is how temporary increases in harsh parenting may affect children in the long run. "We don't know yet if these short-term changes have long-term consequences," he said.
The study also focused on harsh discipline, which falls short of the types of abuse that would be reported to social services, Garfinkel said. But he agreed with Wolford that the findings underscore the need for social services during economic hard times -- and perhaps especially at the start of a recession.
The Nemours Foundation has advice on child discipline.
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