These difficult economic times are a challenge for many of us, but when you factor in the pressure of being a parent, the hardships can be even greater. Children not only increase the need to have a regular income, but the strain of making a living can also severely compromise the patience that is needed to be a caregiver to your child.

A Disturbing Trend

Unfortunately, the strain of hard economic times can manifest itself in many undesirable ways, and children can often be on the receiving end. In extreme situations, this can be in the form of physical abuse. In fact, in an article on MSNBC.com, it was reported that as we headed deeper into the current recession, the number of abused children being admitted into hospitals is on the rise.

While it cannot be said with certainty that the increase in abuse is due to a family's economic situation, research has linked stress to the mistreatment of children by a parent, and it goes without saying that financial hardship increases parental stress.

While having children has immeasurable rewards, even in the best of times, it can also be a test of one's patience. It is therefore important for parents to keep their cool, especially men, who it turns out are responsible for a majority of physical abuse cases. Since it is believed that crying was the primary trigger that lead to abuse, it is instructive to know that babies generally cry for 5 main reasons: they are hungry, tired, in need of clean diaper, bored, or in pain. Addressing one or more of these problems can often help calm a baby down.

6 Ways to Keep Your Cool

However, as every parent knows, it is not always that simple. Every now and then we run through the gamut of recommended solutions, and despite our best efforts, our baby continues to cry. It is during these times that a parent may need to take step back in order to avoid any regrettable actions.

Here are some suggestions to help you keep your cool when you're at the end of your rope.

1. Work Together

Parenting is a team sport, and when moms and dads work together, it helps make the enormous challenges of parenting more tolerable. Plus, knowing you're not alone is comforting to any person.

2. Get Some Help

A babysitter or "mother's (or father's) helper" is an affordable and effective way to get a break, if even for only a couple of hours — which, in many cases, is all that is needed.

3. Walk Away

When all else is fails and your baby seems inconsolable, just make sure he or she is safe from any harm, and walk away. In most cases, all it takes is a few moments away from the sound of crying to calm a person down.

4. Surround Yourself With People

Other parents can definitely relate to your circumstances and offer sympathy or advice. Plus, the presence of other people can be a welcome distraction (for parent and child) as well as a deterrent for acting out on your frustration.

5. Get Outside

Taking your baby for a walk is a great way to entertain them and get some fresh air. Outside there are a countless number of distractions and taking a walk can have a calming effect.

6. Turn on the (Gulp) TV

Now, I'm no advocate of television, but there is nothing more mesmerizing than the TV screen, and sometimes it can calm a baby down. It's not the ideal solution, and in my opinion, should be used only as a last resort, but desperate times call for desperate measures, especially when it involves the health of your children.

Every parent can agree that the health and safety of your baby is the most important thing to consider, so don't let frustration and anger lead to regrettable actions. Keep lines of communication with the people around you open at all times, and voice your problems and concerns.

For more information, visit the website for Prevent Child Abuse America.