By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Stressed out moms can be hostile or insensitive to their toddlers, according to new research. Two-year-olds can be a handful and try anyone’s patients. But this new study, a first-of-it’s kind, looked at how stressed out mom’s reacted to their toddlers.

Chronic stress impairs the way mothers react to their children, according to the new research from the University of Rochester.

“Stress in general and for parents is a very big problem. And stress can lead to all sorts of both emotional responses and then behavioral responses,” said Dr. Brendan Greer, Psychiatrist and CEO of Council For Relationships.

The research broke down some of the causes of stress for moms between those struggling with depression versus poverty.

Depressed moms were more likely to be hostile to their toddlers.

“Some of the moms were behaving in what you might think of as irritable or short tempered responses or even harsh responses to their children,” said Dr. Greer.

For stressed moms struggling with poverty, they were more likely to be insensitive and neglectful toward their toddlers.

“It can happen to anybody under pressure,” said Dr. Greer.

Experts say it’s important for stressed moms to realize how their behavior is affecting their children and fix it.

“You may not be able to change the outside stress, but what you can do is change how you respond to your stress. And they way you do that is by looking at yourself and how you’re actually feeling,” said Dr. Greer.

Dr. Greer says deep breathing, just 10 to 15 seconds can help stressed moms calm down so they can react to their toddlers more appropriately.

Find some effective outlets for stress. Exercise is one of the best.

Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

Stephanie Stahl