TULSA, Okla. — As the pandemic continues to change our lives from the way we shop, work, learn and how we interact with others, it's easy to get overwhelmed.
"People are feeling different kinds of emotional feelings very quickly throughout the day, throughout the week, over time," explains Christine Marsh, the senior director of child abuse and trauma services at the Family and Children's Services (FSC).
Stress can especially take a toll on families during this time of uncertainty.
Parents are having to spend more time alone with children with little to no social opportunities, which experts say can lead to depression or anxiety.
While these emotions are normal, child welfare specialists believe they can lead to harmful behavior, such as abuse or neglect.
"Some of the triggers are if you're feeling like you are wanting to physically harm a child or someone else, if you're feeling anger more often than not, if you're feeling depressed and just really wanting to get away," says Marsh.
She says even good parents can sometimes act out. Before that happens, Marsh says it's good to take a step back and reach out to a health professional.
“If we realize we’re parenting in a way that we don’t want or maybe our kids or spouse says something to us or a family member, then we need to ask for help," says Marsh.
There are countless of online resources available for parents, in addition to a new COVID emotional support line through FSC. You can seek help without the fear of being judged.
"Parents need to not be afraid when they call and ask for help that somebody’s going to come running out to their house and try to investigate," says Marsh.
Another effective avenue - taking the time to bond and do more things as a family. She suggests maybe looking at new hobbies, such as reading or gardening.
If you suspect there might be harm or neglect to a child, please call the Oklahoma Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-522-3511. If the child is in immediate danger, call 911.
The Family and Children's Services is one of several nonprofit organizations working on the "Look Out, Reach Out" campaign to spread awareness of child abuse amid the pandemic and provide helpful resources. For helpful resources the center offers, visit their website.
A different story on the topic will air every Thursday night during the month of May on 2 Works for You part of 2 Cares for the Community.
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