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Friday, June 21, 2024

R U OK? The worrying signs of parental burnout


A new study has discovered that parental burnout has much more serious implications than we previously thought.

New research published in Clinical Psychological Science demonstrates the serious consequences of parental burnout.

Worrying signs of parental burnout

Two studies were analyzed with the participants of the studies involved with the completion of three online surveys per year.

A total of 2,068 parents participated in the first survey, with 557 still participating by the third survey.

Parents admitted to the fantasy of simply leaving parenting and all its stressors, neglectful behaviour, and violence towards their children.

“But being a perfect parent is impossible and attempting to be one can lead to exhaustion. Our research suggests that whatever allows parents to recharge their batteries, to avoid exhaustion, is good for children,” says lead researcher Moïra Mikolajczak of UCLouvain.

“We were a bit surprised by the irony of the results,” says Mikolajczak. “If you want to do the right thing too much, you can end up doing the wrong thing. Too much pressure on parents can lead them to exhaustion which can have damaging consequences for the parent and for the children.”

What is Parental burnout?

As defined by the study, burnout is an exhaustion syndrome, characterized by feeling overwhelmed, physical and emotional exhaustion, emotional distancing from one’s children, and a sense of being an ineffective parent.

The researchers found that parental burnout and parental neglect had a circular relationship: Parental burnout led to increased parental neglect, which led to increased burnout, and so on. Parental violence appeared to be a clear consequence of burnout.

Signs of parental burnout

  • Screaming at Your Kids
  • Parenting on Auto-Pilot
  • Feeling Overwhelming Resentment
  • Withdrawing From Others
  • Tired all the time
  • Forgetfulness

Help alleviate burnout?

It’s important to know that if you feel like you might be experiencing burnout then you’re not alone. Help is available. You don’t have to suffer in silence. In fact, getting help early may prevent burnout developing into depression.  Strategies to alleviate burnout may include:

  • Addressing lack of sleep: Include some planning for sleep (for example, avoiding caffeinated drinks or taking a warm bath), and other strategies to minimise sleep disruption.
  • Prioritising self-care: Making time for interests, friends and hobbies away from parenting. This can help you to have a proper break and recharge your batteries.
  • Parenting support: This may consist of education around parenting skills, “good-enough” parenting, child development and helping you understand age-appropriate expectations for your little ones.
  • Seeking support: Asking friends and family for assistance and seeking professional help if required. Even small practical things can help you to get some ‘you time’ back.

If you are continuing to struggle:

  • Consulting your GP: This can help rule out any other medical issues which may be contributing to feelings of exhaustion.
  • Psychological therapy: Therapy can help with concerns around self-esteem, perfectionistic thinking, self-compassion and regulating emotions.

Ref: www.cope.org.au or reach out for assistance [email protected]

With hundreds of thousands of mums from all over Australia, all with the same goals, concerns, and struggles, our community is there to support you through it all.



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