Next Article in Journal
An Exploratory Study Investigating the Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Collegiate Division I American Football Athletes
Next Article in Special Issue
Meta-Analyses of the Relationships between Family Systems Practices, Parents’ Psychological Health, and Parenting Quality
Previous Article in Journal
Voices from Service Providers Who Supported Young Caregivers throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Canadian Context
Previous Article in Special Issue
Diving into the Resolution Process: Parent’s Reactions to Child’s Diagnosis
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

Parenting, Gender, and Perception of Changes in Children’s Behavior during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jael Vargas-Rubilar
María Cristina Richaud
Cinthia Balabanian
1,2 and
Viviana Lemos
National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), Buenos Aires C1425FQD, Argentina
Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Salud y del Comportamiento (CIICSAC), Universidad Adventista del Plata, Libertador San Martín 3103, Argentina
Instituto de Ciencias de la Familia (ICF), Universidad Austral, Buenos Aires B1630FHB, Argentina
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(15), 6452;
Submission received: 5 May 2023 / Revised: 23 June 2023 / Accepted: 6 July 2023 / Published: 27 July 2023
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parenting and Mental Health)


In a previous Argentine study, we found that, in the critical context of social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, there were changes in maternal practices that influenced the relationship with their children. We also found that the impact of mandatory isolation was moderated positively by protective factors such as positive parenting and maternal school support or negatively by risk factors such as maternal stress. Although this study only analyzed maternal behavior, we were interested in studying the behavior of both parents, comparing the parenting (positive parenting, parental stress, and school support) of the father and mother and the perceived behavioral changes in their children. A quantitative ex post facto study was carried out. The sample consisted of 120 Argentinean parents (70 mothers and 50 fathers) aged between 27 and 56 (M = 38.84; SD = 5.03). Questionnaires were administered on sociodemographic and behavioral data of the children, as well as a brief scale to assess parenting. Mann–Whitney U and MANOVA were used to analyze the influence of gender on perceived changes in children’s behavior and perceived parenting, respectively. Mothers perceived more significant changes than fathers in their children’s behavior. In addition, women reported more parental stress, greater child school support, and greater perceived positive parenting compared to men. These findings support the hypothesis that parenting developed differently in fathers and mothers. These results imply the need for psycho-educational intervention programs aimed at promoting greater involvement of fathers in parenting and better management of parental stress in mothers’ and family psychological well-being.

1. Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic was an extraordinary and unprecedented phenomenon because of its global impact. Combating the disease and developing ways to prevent it in a short time was one of the greatest challenges the world has faced in recent decades. Consequently, many of the measures taken by governments to contain the virus (e.g., compulsory social isolation) had a negative impact on the mental health of family groups. In this direction, previous studies, e.g., ref. [1] had already pointed out that social isolation during pandemics or natural disasters can generate psychological disorders (e.g., post-traumatic stress) for both parents and children. Indeed, initial studies of people’s reactions to the pandemic context revealed symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as symptoms of stress in the population [2,3]. In addition, the rapid spread of this virus provoked fear of the disease, as well as fear of the social and economic consequences of the pandemic [4]. Particularly, in Argentina, a study conducted on the general population [5] showed that anxiety and depressive symptoms increased over time and that intolerance to uncertainty was the main predictor of this variability. Especially women and young people reported the highest number of psycho-pathological symptoms [5].
During the COVID-19 pandemic, compulsory social isolation, social and work conditions, and changes in education negatively influenced parenting practices, e.g., [6,7,8]. Many parents faced work changes such as job loss, reduced pay, and remote work, and at the same time, had to assume greater childcare responsibilities due to school closures [9]. In this direction, several studies have reported that many parents felt overloaded and stressed by having to perform full-time parenting [6,10]. In addition, parents or caregivers reported higher alcohol consumption, more irritability, lower positive communication, and more mental health problems [3,8,11]. Likewise, the COVID-19 pandemic harmed women with children more [12], and this effect was greater in mothers caring for more children [13]. Mothers or caregivers suffered a greater load of unpaid work and the requirement of multifunctionality in relation to having to fulfill work, domestic, and child care roles, especially in Latin American cultures [14], such as Argentina.
The literature in the area has pointed out that positive parenting can act as a protective factor for children against stressful events [15] and as a facilitator of family resilience [16]. Similarly, an Argentine study [13] analyzed maternal perceptions of three dimensions of parenting (i.e., positive parenting, parental stress, and school support) and how these impacted perceived behavioral changes in children (e.g., in sleep, appetite, mood, obedience, fighting with siblings, participation and attitude in online classes, etc.). The results showed that, indeed, the type of parenting influenced the perceived behavior of the children during the pandemic. Women with low positive parenting reported that children were more disobedient, fought and yelled more, had more defiant and dependent behaviors, and were more nervous/anxious. Mothers with higher parental stress perceived more negative changes in most of their children’s behaviors. In addition, they reported that their children showed more sadness and regressive behaviors in relation to the less stressed mothers. Women who reported having provided more school support also perceived that children adapted better to online classes, doing their homework, and enjoying their classes while being less frustrated by having to do schoolwork at home [13].
As for the children, a study that analyzed the impact of quarantine on Italian and Spanish children and adolescents [17] showed that more than 80% of parents perceived negative changes in their mood and behavior during social isolation. The most frequent changes observed in children were: difficulty in concentrating, boredom, irritability, restlessness, nervousness, feelings of loneliness, discomfort, and fears. Particularly in Argentina, a study conducted during the pandemic by COVID-19 [18] in 4500 children and adolescents found that almost 8 out of 10 (77%) showed more anger and 68% felt sad, 7 out of 10 children and adolescents (6 to 18 years of age) expressed feelings of discouragement and boredom, and 60% reported fear. Sixty percent felt a lack of outdoor recreational activities and sports, especially children and adolescents aged 6 to 14 years [18].
In recent decades, we have witnessed important changes in favor of gender equality that have resulted in greater involvement of fathers in the care and education of children. Nonetheless, parenting remains the most gender-typed role during adulthood [19,20]. Mothers around the world show greater availability and commitment than fathers to parenting. Some studies conducted in families in Kenya, India, Guatemala, and Peru revealed that fathers rarely participate in the care of children under one year of age [21]. In this direction, a recent study conducted in the United States [22] indicated wide differences in the way mothers and fathers describe parenting styles. For example, about half of mothers (51%) say they tend to be overprotective compared to 38% of fathers. In turn, fathers (24%) are more likely to give children too much freedom than mothers (16%). Mothers are also more likely than fathers to say that parenting is exhausting (47% vs. 34%) and stressful (33% vs. 24%) all or most of the time [22]. Consistent with previous surveys [23], mothers report taking more responsibility for children’s care than fathers, although fathers tend to say they share responsibilities almost equally. Most mothers (78%) report assuming more responsibility for managing their children’s schedules and supervising homework than their husbands (65% of women with school-age children), providing emotional support and attention to their sons and daughters (58%), and satisfying the basic needs of their children: care, hygiene, and food (57% with children under five years of age). Therefore, it can be stated that women already assumed a greater share of children’s care before the pandemic. Even when both parents work, women have struggled more with work-family balance [24].
Specifically, during the pandemic, women reported a greater load of child care and housework [14] and more symptoms of anxiety and exhaustion, as well as more parenting-related worries and fears than men [9]. However, a Canadian study suggests that fathers increased their involvement in household and children-care tasks during this period [25].
In this context, the present study aimed to compare changes in children’s behaviors and different parenting aspects as perceived by fathers and mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on the proposed objectives, the following hypotheses were formulated:
Hypothesis 1.
There are differences between fathers and mothers regarding the perception of behavioral changes in children during the pandemic.
Hypothesis 2.
Mothers perceive higher levels of parental stress, involvement in children’s school support, and positive parenting compared to fathers during the pandemic.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Type of Study and Design

The study was quantitative based on empirical data, descriptive, ex post facto, as it involves a comparison of DV across groups classified according to categorized and assigned variables [26]. In addition, it is cross-sectional since the study data were collected at a single point in time [27].

2.2. Participants

The sample consisted of 120 parents (70 mothers, 58%, and 50 fathers, 42%) who accessed the online form and answered it completely. Participants were parents of school children aged between 27 and 56 years (M = 38.84; SD = 5.03) from different Argentine provinces. A non-probabilistic availability sampling method was used [28]. In addition, we asked about the work status of the fathers and mothers in the sample and found that 57% were employed, 31% were self-employed, and the remaining 12% were unemployed or homemakers who performed domestic and care tasks in their homes, without working outside the home. Finally, when evaluating the educational background of the parents, it was found that half of them had a university degree, and 5% had postgraduate studies (see Table 1).
The inclusion criteria used were: (a) being over 18 years of age and (b) being a parent of schoolchildren (+5 and 12 years of age). Parents or caregivers of children with psychological, developmental, or learning disorders were not included in the study.

2.3. Instruments

Sociodemographic questionnaire. To collect information on the sociodemographic characteristics of the participants, an ad hoc semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data on gender, age, occupation, and educational level.
Questionnaire of perceived behavior of children. A semi-structured questionnaire was designed to assess changes in children’s behavior as perceived by parents during the pandemic. In the questionnaire, parents were asked whether they observed variations in their children’s behavior. The questionnaire mainly inquired about (a) behaviors observed in the children concerning sleep, eating habits, mood, and relationship with siblings and friends, and (b) behaviors observed concerning the children’s school situation: online classes, relationship with classmates, and compliance with school assignments. Response options were: less, the same, or more than before the pandemic (e.g., eating: less, the same, more). The content validity of the instrument was studied based on the criteria of expert judges, who were asked whether the behaviors assessed were relevant to analyze in the context of a pandemic. An adequate Aiken’s V coefficient (between 0.8 and 1) was obtained [29].
The brief scale of perceived parenting during the pandemic [30]. This instrument assesses three dimensions of perceived parenting in the pandemic context: (a) positive parenting (e.g., I dedicate some time during the day to speak to my children), (b) parenting stress (e.g., Time is not enough, as it used to be, to fulfill all my responsibilities), and (c) parenting school support (e.g., I know which homework and assignments are given to my children in online education), based on 17 items with a 4-point Likert-type response scale (i.e., Never, Seldom, Very often, and Always). The study of the instrument carried out in Argentina indicated adequate psychometric properties [30]. The confirmatory factor analysis of three factors of the scale showed satisfactory fit indexes (χ2/gL = 1.22; NFI = 0.93; NNFI = 0.99; CFI = 0.99; IFI = 0.99; GFI = 0.99) and an acceptable error (RMSEA = 0.02). The reliability (i.e., internal consistency) was acceptable for the three dimensions: positive parenting (ω = 0.79), parenting stress (ω = 0.77), and school support (ω = 0.75) [30].

2.4. Ethical Procedures and Data Collection

All actions performed in the setting of this study followed the international ethical recommendations for research involving human subjects [31]. In all cases, the purpose of the research was explained, and parents gave informed consent before completing the form. Responses were anonymous, and data confidentiality was strictly guarded. A reduced number of questions was included to avoid participant fatigue. The response time was less than 10 min.
Due to the confinement conditions of the pandemic, the invitation to participate in the study was made through social networks (Facebook and Instagram, email (Gmail 2020.08.23.335177159, Outlook 4.2038.2, etc.), and instant messaging services (WhatsApp and Telegram 7.0.1, etc.). Data collection was conducted during the social isolation phase between September and December 2020. The information was collected through an online form (i.e., Google Forms 2.20.301.07.46), which included the instruments described in the previous section.

2.5. Procedures for Data Analysis

For the description of the sociodemographic variables and the study variables, descriptive statistics were calculated: measures of central tendency (mean, standard deviations), frequencies, and percentages. In addition, the skewness and kurtosis of the dimensions of perceived parenting were calculated. A Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was performed to compare perceived parenting as a function of parental gender.
Given the qualitative nature of the variables, the Mann–Whitney U test was used to analyze changes in behavior as a function of parental gender.
Data analysis was performed with SPSS version 25 software.

3. Results

3.1. Perception of Changes in Children’s Behavior between Fathers and Mothers

Table 2 shows which children’s behaviors were perceived as different between fathers and mothers during the pandemic. In the behaviors: is anxious/nervous, screams, and has nightmares, mothers perceived significantly more changes than fathers. For the remaining behaviors assessed, mothers also perceived more changes in their children than fathers, although these differences were not statistically significant (see Table 2). These results partially support Hypothesis 1.

3.2. Comparison of Perceived Parenting between Fathers and Mothers

The skewness and kurtosis values of the dependent variables analyzed were below ±1, as recommended for parametric analyses [32,33]. As shown in Table 3, the dimensions of parenting were differentially perceived between fathers and mothers (Hotelling’s F(3, 116) p < 0.001; η2 = 0.23). Both positive parenting (F(1, 118) = 7.16; p = 0.009; η2 = 0.06), parental stress (F(1, 118) = 19.09; p < 0.001; η2 = 0.14), and involvement in school support (F(1, 118) = 18.44; p < 0.001; η2 = 0.14) presented higher scores for mothers than for fathers. (See Table 3). These findings support Hypothesis 2.

4. Discussion

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous challenges worldwide and had a strong impact on interpersonal relationships in general and particularly on family dynamics, routines, and interactions. Also, mothers and fathers often perceive and exercise their family roles, parenting styles, and practices differently [34]. Consequently, the present study aimed to compare changes in children’s behaviors and parenting as perceived by fathers and mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Argentina.
Overall, the results of this study indicated differences between fathers and mothers in perceived changes in some behaviors of their children and perceived parenting (i.e., positive parenting, parental stress, and school support) during the pandemic.
Regarding behavioral changes in children during the pandemic, differences were observed in the perception of fathers and mothers. Mothers, in particular, perceived more changes in all the behaviors evaluated. We hypothesize that since, in our culture, the mother is usually the most influential figure in parenting [35] and is more aware of the health, school performance, and interpersonal relationships of children, she has developed a greater perception of changes in children’s behavior in adverse situations. At the same time, although mothers perceived changes to a greater extent in all the behaviors assessed, they did so especially in: shows dependent behavior, is anxious/nervous, screams, and has nightmares. In this sense, the child behaviors in which the greatest differences were observed in comparison to those perceived by the fathers were those referring to the children’s emotional problems. Indeed, some studies suggest that mothers tend to perceive their children’s emotional changes more easily and to be more sensitive to the signals their children give compared to fathers [36,37]. Regarding nightmares, one study indicated that mothers were more likely to report sleep problems in their children [38]. We initially thought that differences in the perception of behavioral changes would be significant for all behaviors. However, it is possible that, during social isolation, parents may have taken a more active role in children’s care compared to before the pandemic. Some studies have suggested that fathers increased their involvement in performing household and children care tasks during the pandemic, e.g., [25]. The compulsory social isolation, which lasted for several months in Argentina, led many parents to work remotely and thus spend more time at home and possibly interact more with their children. Thus, the results obtained partially support our first hypothesis: There are differences between fathers and mothers regarding the perception of behavioral changes in children during the pandemic.
On the other hand, the results showed significant differences in perceived parenting between fathers and mothers. First, mothers perceived that they had more positive parenting practices than fathers during the pandemic. These results are consistent with pre-pandemic studies, so this aspect would seem to respond more to socio-cultural influences than to the pandemic context. For example, in a study conducted in the Netherlands, mothers reported significantly more positive parenting practices than fathers [39]. In another pre-pandemic study in the Mexican population, mothers reported more authoritative parenting strategies than fathers, which was confirmed by their partners [40]. Also, a study conducted in Chinese families [34] found differences in perceived parenting between fathers and mothers. Mothers reported having a more authoritative (i.e., warm and less controlling) parenting style than fathers. In other works, e.g., [41,42], mothers scored on average higher than fathers on all positive parenting practices
Regarding parental stress, it appeared more highlighted in mothers, possibly because they were mainly responsible for children’s care and housework [43], while many of them had to continue with their work. In this direction, a US study by [44] showed that 79% of mothers reported being primarily responsible for housework and 66% for children’s care during the pandemic, compared to 28% and 24% of fathers, respectively. Likewise, findings from a study conducted in the United Kingdom and Ireland [45] showed that female caregivers reduced time spent at work and significantly increased time spent caring for children compared to men during the pandemic. Another study of Norwegian mothers [46] indicated that their well-being decreased significantly compared to before confinement. Furthermore, it was found that gender ideologies aggravated the negative impact of increased domestic responsibilities (i.e., children care and housework) on the well-being (higher level of stress) of mothers. Mothers who more strongly endorsed the belief that mothers are instinctively and innately better caregivers than fathers, increasing their perceptions of increased household responsibilities, perceived lower well-being after confinement [46]. In this direction, a study [47] that analyzed parenting practices during the pandemic in five cultures (i.e., Bulgaria, Israeli Arabs, and Israeli Jews, Spain, and the United States) found some similarities across cultures. Particularly, collaborative behaviors in the home were less common among men in all cultures assessed.
Finally, mothers reported providing significantly more school support to their children than fathers. In this direction, some studies [44] have pointed out that the division of time devoted to learning at home and monitoring homework completion during the pandemic was also influenced by gender. A total of 84% of mothers reported spending more time providing school support than other family members, compared to 50% of fathers. Mothers were also more likely (57%) to say that they felt more pressure regarding their children’s home learning compared to fathers (45%). Indeed, this study showed that of couples working from home, 72% of mothers perceived themselves to be primarily responsible for children’s care compared to 33% of men. In this sense, mothers may have felt more responsible for their children’s education even when both parents were available at home for this task. Similarly, another study conducted during the pandemic [48] found that mothers were 10 times more likely to be in charge of their children’s education than fathers, and 44% of mothers felt that they had no help with education at home and, for this reason, reported being more stressed than fathers.
The results for the three parenting aspects that indicated higher values for mothers support our second hypothesis: Mothers perceive higher levels of parental stress, involvement in children’s school support, and positive parenting compared to fathers during the pandemic.

5. Limitations and Strengths

The main strength of this study is that it allows us to know how a challenging context such as the COVID-19 pandemic affected some characteristics of parenting. In addition, it provides insight into the perceptions of fathers and mothers concerning parenting in Argentine culture.
However, the study conducted has some limitations that should be considered. First, the sample was purposive and non-probabilistic, and its size was small, making it unrepresentative of the Argentine population. For example, families from other social strata were not represented in these results, which is an important limitation considering that families of low socioeconomic status and with pre-existing problems in family relationships or mental health were more affected by multiple collateral effects of the pandemic [49,50].
In addition, due to the conditions of social isolation, self-reports of the parents were used, and the children’s perspective could not be considered in the evaluation. Future studies should also assess parenting and behavioral changes perceived by the children themselves. Regarding the evaluation of behavioral changes, only content validity was studied. The stability of the instrument could not be studied due to the fluctuating conditions of the pandemic context. On the other hand, since this was a cross-sectional study, it is not possible to determine whether the changes in behavior and perceived parenting were maintained over time or were modified after the pandemic. Therefore, it would be advisable to conduct a post-pandemic evaluation to know the long-term effects of the pandemic on both caregivers and children. Also, in this paper, we have mainly analyzed the role of gender in parenting and the perception of children’s behavior. However, there are many other contextual variables and individual differences that could be analyzed in future studies, such as social status, gender of children, age of parents and children, occupation, and number of children, among others.

6. Implications

The results of the present study allow for delineating intervention strategies in challenging contexts (e.g., pandemics or natural disasters) in the future. At the same time, it highlights the need to design, implement and evaluate parenting intervention programs to mitigate the long-term negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on parenting. These approaches should consider the differences in parenting beliefs and practices that exist between fathers and mothers. Such proposals could promote greater involvement of men in parenting. In particular, they should provide psycho-educational training to parents or caregivers to contain children and prevent their psychological distress. Indeed, the protective role that caregivers can have in the face of fear and stress during a pandemic is important [51], so timely intervention is necessary to ensure the mental health of all family members. Intervention programs should be based on sound theoretical approaches such as positive parenting, which has had promising results in adverse contexts and situations, e.g., [35,52,53,54]. Likewise, strategies for the management of parental stress, especially in mothers, should be included in the program, considering the damage it can have on the family atmosphere, parenting, and psychological well-being of children, e.g., [55].

7. Conclusions

In short, during the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine, mothers perceived more behavioral changes than fathers. They also reported more positive parenting, more parental stress, and more school support than fathers. In this sense, we could say that a risk context such as social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted and exposed characteristics that are present in the usual conditions of families and that, therefore, are more determined by already existing social patterns, in this case referring to gender differences present in the different cultures according to the studies reviewed. These findings make visible the specific challenges faced by families, especially mothers, during the critical period of compulsory social isolation during the pandemic. In particular, they highlight the importance of addressing the gender differences that imposed additional loads on women in families.

Author Contributions

Data collection, C.B. and J.V.-R.; conceptualization, J.V.-R.; methodology, M.C.R. and V.L.; data analysis, V.L. and C.B.; writing—original draft, J.V.-R., V.L. and M.C.R.; writing—review and editing, J.V.-R. and V.L.; supervision, J.V.-R. and M.C.R. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


The Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET, Argentina), Universidad Adventista del Plata (N° 22.66), and Universidad Austral provided support to researchers through their infrastructure for this study.

Institutional Review Board Statement

The studies involving human participants were reviewed and approved by the Ethics Committee of the Universidad Adventista del Plata (Nº 56/23).

Informed Consent Statement

The participants provided their written informed consent that was obtained from all the participate in the study.

Data Availability Statement

The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the corresponding author. The data are not publicly available due to privacy or ethical restrictions.


The authors would like to thank the research assistants who collaborated in the data collection phase.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors have declared that there were no competing or potential conflict of interest.


  1. Sprang, G.; Silman, M. Posttraumatic stress disorder in parents and youth after health-related disasters. Disaster Med. Public Health Prep. 2013, 7, 105–110. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  2. Canet-Juric, L.; Andrés, M.L.; Del Valle, M.; López-Morales, H.; Poó, F.; Galli, J.I.; Urquijo, S. A longitudinal study on the emotional impact cause by the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine on general population. Front. Psychol. 2020, 11, 2431. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  3. Wang, C.; Pan, R.; Wan, X.; Tan, Y.; Xu, L.; McIntyre, R.S.; Choo, F.N.; Tran, B.; Ho, R.; Sharma, V.K.; et al. A longitudinal study on the mental health of the general population during the COVID-19 epidemic in China. Brain Behav. Immun. 2020, 87, 40–48. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  4. Taylor, S.; Landry, C.A.; Paluszek, M.M.; Fergus, T.A.; McKay, D.; Asmundson, G.J. COVID stress syndrome: Concept, structure, and correlates. Depress. Anxiety 2020, 37, 706–714. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. Del-Valle, M.V.; López-Morales, H.; Andrés, M.L.; Yerro-Avincetto, M.; Trudo, R.G.; Urquijo, S.; Canet-Juric, L. Intolerance of COVID-19-related uncertainty and depressive and anxiety symptoms during the pandemic: A longitudinal study in Argentina. J. Anxiety Disord. 2022, 86, 102531. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. Brown, S.M.; Doom, J.R.; Lechuga-Peña, S.; Watamura, S.E.; Koppels, T. Stress and parent-ing during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Child Abus. Negl. 2020, 110, 104699. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  7. Griffith, A.K. Parental burnout and child maltreatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. J. Fam. Violence. 2022, 37, 725–731. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  8. Roos, L.E.; Salisbury, M.; Penner-Goeke, L.; Cameron, E.E.; Protudjer, J.L.P.; Giuliano, R.; Afiffi, T.O.; Reynolds, K. Supporting families to protect child health: Parenting quality and household needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. PLoS ONE 2021, 16, e0251720. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. Kerr, M.L.; Rasmussen, H.F.; Fanning, K.A.; Braaten, S.M. Parenting during COVID-19: A study of parents’ experiences across gender and income levels. Fam. Relat. 2021, 70, 1327–1342. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  10. Pew Research Center. Most Americans Say that Trump Was Too Slow in Initial Response to Coronavirus Threat. 2020. Available online: (accessed on 1 March 2023).
  11. Westrupp, E.; Bennett, C.; Berkowitz, T.S.; Youssef, G.J.; Toumbourou, J.; Tucker, R.; Andrews, F.J.; Evans, S.; Teague, S.J.; Karantzas, G.C.; et al. Child, parent, and family mental health and functioning in Australia during COVID-19: Comparison to pre-pandemic data. Eur. Child Adolesc. 2021, 32, 317–330. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  12. UNICEF. Encuesta de Percepción y Actitudes de la Población. Impacto de la Pandemia COVID-19 y las Medidas Adoptadas Por el Gobierno Sobre la Vida Cotidiana [Survey on Perception and Attitudes of Population. Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Measures. Adopted by the Government on Daily Life], First Edn. 2020. Available online: (accessed on 15 March 2023).
  13. Vargas Rubilar, J.; Richaud, M.C.; Lemos, V.N.; Balabanian, C. Parenting and Children’s Behavior During the COVID 19 Pandemic: Mother’s Perspective. Front. Psychol. 2022, 13, 801614. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  14. Almeida, M.; Shrestha, A.; Stojanac, D.; Miller, L. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s mental health. Arch. Women’s Ment. Health. 2020, 23, 741–748. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. Sanders, M.R.; Turner, K.M. The importance of parenting in influencing the lives of children. In Handbook of Parenting and Child Development Across the Lifespan; Sanders, M.R., Morawska, A., Eds.; Springer: Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany, 2018; pp. 3–26. [Google Scholar]
  16. Miller-Graff, L.E.; Scheid, C.R.; Guzmán, D.B.; Grein, K. Caregiver and family factors promoting child resilience in at-risk families living in Lima. Peru. Child Abus. Negl. 2020, 108, 104639. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  17. Orgilés, M.; Morales, A.; Delvecchio, E.; Mazzeschi, C.; Espada, J.P. Immediate psychological effects of the COVID-19 quarantine in youth from Italy and Spain. Front. Psychol. 2020, 11, 579038. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  18. Cabana, J.L.; Pedra, C.R.; Ciruzzi, M.S.; Garategaray, M.G.; Cutri, A.M.; Lorenzo, C. Percepciones y sentimientos de niños argentinos frente a la cuarentena COVID-19. Arch. Argent Pediatr. 2021, 119, S107–S122. [Google Scholar] [PubMed]
  19. Koivunen, J.M.; Rothaupt, J.W.; Wolfgram, S.M. Gender dynamics and role adjustment during the transition to parenthood: Current perspectives. Fam. J. 2009, 17, 323–328. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  20. Nentwich, J.C. New fathers and mothers as gender troublemakers? Exploring discursive constructions of heterosexual parenthood and their subversive potential. Fem. Psychol. 2008, 18, 207–230. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  21. Whiting, B.B.; Edwards, C.P. Children of Different Worlds: The Formation of Social Behavior; Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, USA, 1988. [Google Scholar]
  22. Minkin, R.; Horowitz, J. Parenting in America Today, Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project. United States of America. 2023. Available online: (accessed on 1 March 2023).
  23. Pew Research Center. Parenting in America: Outlook, Worries, Aspirations are Strongly Linked to Financial Situation. 2015. Available online: (accessed on 4 March 2023).
  24. Borelli, J.L.; Nelson-Coffey, S.K.; River, L.M.; Birken, S.A.; Moss-Racusin, C. Bringing work home: Gender and parenting correlates of work-family guilt among parents of toddlers. J. Child Fam. Stud. 2017, 26, 1734–1745. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  25. Shafer, K.; Scheibling, C.; Milkie, M.A. The division of domestic labor before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada: Stagnation versus shifts in fathers’ contributions. Canadian. Rev. Sociol. 2020, 57, 523–549. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  26. Bickman, L.; Rog, D.J. Handbook of applied social research methods. Br. J. Educ. Stud. 1998, 46, 351. [Google Scholar]
  27. Cvetkovic-Vega, A.; Maguiña, J.L.; Soto, A.; Lama-Valdivia, J.; López-Correa, L. Estudios transversales. Rev. Fac. Med. Hum. 2021, 21, 179–185. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  28. Otzen, T.; Manterola, C. Técnicas de Muestreo sobre una Población a Estudio. Int. J. Morphol. 2017, 35, 227–232. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  29. Vargas Rubilar, J.; Lemos, V.; Richaud, M.C.; Balabanian, C.; Caminos, V.; Figueroa, J. Estrés parental y conducta de los hijos durante la pandemia: La mirada de las madres. In Proceedings of the XXXVIII Congreso Interamericano de Psicología (CIP), Online, 20–26 July 2021. [Google Scholar]
  30. Vargas Rubilar, J.; Lemos, V.; Balabanian, C.; Richaud, M.C. Parentalidad en el contexto de pandemia: Propuesta de una escala breve para su evaluación. In Proceedings of the XIV Congreso Argentino de Salud Mental, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 12 October 2021. [Google Scholar]
  31. American Psychological Association. Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct; American Psychological Association: Washington, DC, USA, 2017. [Google Scholar]
  32. Muthen, B.; Kaplan, D. A comparison of some methodologies for the factor analysis of non-normal Likert variables: A note on the size of the model. Br. J. Math. Stat. Psychol. 1992, 45, 19–30. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  33. Forero, C.G.; Maydeu-Olivares, A.; Gallardo-Pujol, D. Factor analysis with ordinal indicators: A monte carlo study comparing DWLS and ULS estimation. Struct. Equ. Modeling. 2009, 16, 625–641. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  34. Huang, C.Y.; Hsieh, Y.P.; Shen, A.C.T.; Wei, H.S.; Feng, J.Y.; Hwa, H.L.; Feng, J.Y. Relationships between parent-reported parenting, child-perceived parenting, and children’s mental health in Taiwanese children. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health. 2019, 16, 1049. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  35. Richaud, M.C.; Vargas-Rubilar, J.; Lemos, V. Advances in the Study of Parenting in Argentina. In Parenting Across Cultures: Childrearing, Motherhood and Fatherhood in Non-Western Cultures; Springer: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2022; pp. 101–118. [Google Scholar]
  36. Katz-Wise, S.L.; Priess, H.A.; Hyde, J.S. Gender-role attitudes and behavior across the transition to parenthood. Dev. Psychol. 2010, 46, 18–28. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Green Version]
  37. Leerkes, E.M.; Calkins, S.D.; Henrich, C.C.; Smolen, A.; Granic, I. Mothers’ and fathers’ sensitivity and children’s regulatory behaviors in the first three years of life. Infant Behav. Dev. 2014, 37, 591–602. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  38. Mindell, J.A.; Sadeh, A.; Kohyama, J.; How, T.H.; Goh, D.Y.T. Parental behaviors and sleep outcomes in infants and toddlers: A cross-cultural comparison. Sleep Med. 2010, 11, 393–399. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  39. Okorn, A.; Verhoeven, M.; Van Baar, A. The Importance of Mothers’ and Fathers’ Positive Parenting for Toddlers’ and Preschoolers’ Social-Emotional Adjustment. Sci. Pract. 2022, 22, 1908090. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  40. Gamble, W.C.; Ramakumar, S.; Diaz, A. Maternal and paternal similarities and differences in parenting: An examination of Mexican-American parents of young children. Early Child. Res. Q. 2007, 22, 72–88. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  41. Kerr, D.C.R.; Lopez, N.L.; Olson, S.L.; Sameroff, A.J. Parental discipline and externalizing behavior problems in early childhood: The roles of moral regulation and child gender. J. Abnorm. Child Psychol. 2004, 32, 369–383. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Green Version]
  42. Lipscomb, S.T.; Leve, L.D.; Harold, G.T.; Neiderhiser, J.M.; Shaw, D.S.; Ge, X.; Reiss, D. Trajectories of parenting and child negative emotionality during infancy and toddlerhood: A longitudinal analysis. Child Dev. 2011, 82, 1661–1675. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  43. Giurge, L.M.; Whillans, A.V.; Yemiscigil, A.A. Multicountry perspective on gender differences in time use during COVID-19. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2021, 118, e2018494118. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  44. Dunatchik, A.; Gerson, K.; Glass, J.; Jacobs, J.A.; Stritzel, H. Gender, parenting, and the rise of remote work during the pandemic: Implications for domestic inequality in the United States. Gend. Soc. 2021, 35, 194–205. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  45. Stefanova, V.; Farrell, L.; Latu, I. Gender and the pandemic: Associations between caregiving, working from home, personal and career outcomes for women and men. Curr Psychol. 2021, 1–17. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  46. Thorsteinsen, K.; Parks-Stamm, E.J.; Kvalø, M.; Olsen, M.; Martiny, S.E. Mothers’ domestic responsibilities and well-being during the COVID-19 lockdown: The moderating role of gender essentialist beliefs about parenthood. Sex Roles 2022, 87, 85–98. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  47. Aram, D.; Asaf, M.; Karabanov, G.M.; Ziv, M.; Sonnenschein, S.; Stites, M.; López-Escribano, C. Beneficial Parenting According to the “Parenting Pentagon Model”: A Cross-Cultural Study During a Pandemic. In The Impact of COVID-19 on Early Childhood Education and Care: International Perspectives, Challenges, and Responses; Springer International Publishing: Cham, Switzerland, 2022; pp. 215–236. [Google Scholar]
  48. O’Sullivan, K.; Rock, N.; Burke, L.; Boyle, N.; Joksimovic, N.; Foley, H.; Clark, S. Gender Differences in the Psychosocial Functioning of Parents During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Front. Psychol. 2022, 13, 846238. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  49. Swit, C.S.; Breen, R. Parenting during a pandemic: Predictors of parental burnout. J. Fam. Issues 2022, 32, 369–383. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  50. Weeland, J.; Keijsers, L.; Branje, S. Introduction to the special issue: Parenting and family dynamics in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dev. Psychol. 2021, 57, 1559. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  51. Morelli, M.; Cattelino, E.; Baiocco, R.; Trumello, C.; Babore, A.; Candelori, C.; Chirumbolo, A. Parents and children during the COVID-19 lockdown: The influence of parenting distress and parenting self-efficacy on children’s emotional well-being. Front. Psychol. 2020, 11, 584645. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  52. Pickering, J.A.; Sanders, M.R. Reducing child maltreatment by making parenting programs available to all parents: A case example using the triple p-positive parenting program. Trauma Violence Abus. 2016, 17, 398–407. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  53. Turner, K.M.; Singhal, M.; McIlduff, C.; Singh, S.; Sanders, M.R. Evidence-based parenting support across cultures: The Triple P—Positive Parenting Program experience. In Cross-Cultural Family Research and Practice; Halford, W.K., van de Vijver, F., Eds.; Academic Press: Cambridge, MA, USA, 2020; pp. 603–644. [Google Scholar]
  54. Vargas Rubilar, J.; Richaud, M.C.; Oros, L. Programa de promoción de la parentalidad positiva en la escuela: Un estudio preliminar en un contexto de vulnerabilidad social. Pensando Psicol. 2018, 14, 1–15. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  55. Babore, A.; Trumello, C.; Lombardi, L.; Candelori, C.; Chirumbolo, A.; Cattelino, E.; Morelli, M. Mothers’ and children’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown: The mediating role of parenting stress. Child Psychiatry Hum. Dev. 2023, 54, 134–146. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Table 1. Sociodemographic characteristics of the participants.
Table 1. Sociodemographic characteristics of the participants.
Civil status
  In consensual union2319.2%
Academic studies
  Primary school10.8%
  Secondary school2722.5%
  Tertiary education (non-university level)2621.7%
  University degree6050%
  Postgraduate studies (incomplete)10.8%
  Postgraduate studies (complete)54.2%
Table 2. Range difference in perception of children’s behavioral changes between fathers and mothers.
Table 2. Range difference in perception of children’s behavioral changes between fathers and mothers.
Is sad64.0655.5215010.155
Fights with siblings64.3655.091479.50.117
Is anxious/nervous66.6651.871318.50.015
Shows dependent behavior65.2653.8414170.053
Shows defiant behavior62.9957.011575.50.326
Once asleep, he/she wakes up confused in the middle of the night63.7455.971523.50.182
Has nightmares65.6453.313900.040
Gets easily frustrated when doing school assignments64.0655.5215010.157
Table 3. Comparison of perceived parenting between fathers and mothers.
Table 3. Comparison of perceived parenting between fathers and mothers.
Dimensions of ParentingMothersFathersFp
Positive parenting3.380.403.180.457.160.009
Parenting stress2.520.542.050.6419.090.000
School support3.300.712.720.7618.440.000
Disclaimer/Publisher’s Note: The statements, opinions and data contained in all publications are solely those of the individual author(s) and contributor(s) and not of MDPI and/or the editor(s). MDPI and/or the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to people or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Vargas-Rubilar, J.; Richaud, M.C.; Balabanian, C.; Lemos, V. Parenting, Gender, and Perception of Changes in Children’s Behavior during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20, 6452.

AMA Style

Vargas-Rubilar J, Richaud MC, Balabanian C, Lemos V. Parenting, Gender, and Perception of Changes in Children’s Behavior during the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2023; 20(15):6452.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vargas-Rubilar, Jael, María Cristina Richaud, Cinthia Balabanian, and Viviana Lemos. 2023. "Parenting, Gender, and Perception of Changes in Children’s Behavior during the COVID-19 Pandemic" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 20, no. 15: 6452.

Note that from the first issue of 2016, this journal uses article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop