Experts say that parenting was never meant to be this lonely and challenging. Throughout history, parents counted on the support of families and communities to raise their children. The coronavirus pandemic has pulled that rug from under us, leaving parents to basically fend for themselves while often juggling a professional workload as well.
According to The New York Times, parents have “never, ever raised children in isolated nuclear units the way they have been doing for much of 2020, with little or no hands-on family or community support,” writes Jessica Grose, in an opinion piece. Anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy called supporters “alloparents,” and wrote “shared child care may be the secret to evolutionary success.”
Grose points out that many parents are struggling to hold on to their jobs, worrying that caring for their children may force them to quit. According to the Times, 80% of the 1.1 million workers who dropped out of the job force last month were women.
According to data from the University of Oregon, parents with children under five are the most stressed. Similarly, another study from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, found that parents with children from five to seven years old said they felt “nervous, anxious, or on edge” because of the pandemic. Most parents said they high levels of overall stress and anxiety.
Research from the American Psychological Association (APA) concludes that American parents are feeling “significantly higher levels of stress than adults without children.” The negative mental health effects of the coronavirus “will be serious and long-lasting,” says the APA.
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