What it Parent Burnout

What's Covered

Being a parent means having no day offs even when you are sick. This may be exhausting and this is a syndrome called “parent burnout”.[1] Parent burnout is normal and in this article, you will be able to understand the true meaning of parent burnout and how you can deal with it.

What is Parental Burnout?

Parent burnout is an intense feeling of being exhausted and when a parent feels this, detachment from children may sometime be seen.[2] Additionally, parental burnout is like having a drained battery – it gives a parent a feeling of giving up. It is caused by different stressors and it affects different abilities.[3] Parental burnout may last for three months but it may take just a short time for you to recover with it.

Signs and Symptoms of Parent Burnout

A parent or caregiver who is experiencing parental burnout may feel the following:

Emotional Exhaustion

Emotional exhaustion also includes anxiety and depression.[4] Additionally, emotional exhaustion may lead to fatigue and lose of interest in the things you love.

Emotional Distancing

When a parent is experiencing this parental burnout syndrome, he or she may feel tired and eventually, he or she will use this as reason to excuse him or herself from spending time with his or her children.[5] Also, emotional distancing also means withdrawing oneself from other people aside from family.

Feelings of Inefficacy

When a parent is experiencing parental burnout he or she may feel that he is incapable and inefficient.[6] Also, he or she may feel that he or she has never accomplished anything especially when it comes to parenting. A feeling of hopelessness may also be felt.

Irritability and Frustration

I cannot deny it but sometimes, I am being this kind of parent. I still remember back when I felt this syndrome. I always get irritated not just to my child but to everyone around me. I tend to have a loud voice and I am very much aggressive especially when things do not go my own way. Some other parents who experience these symptoms may lead to marital conflicts. So, if you get a partner who is very understanding, treasure them and make them feel appreciated after your syndrome goes down.

When you feel irritable, I recommend you to use this product as an alternative to your caffeine and alcohol. It is a beverage that calms you.

Zenify Zero Sugar
This product will reduce the stress you have. Surely, after drinking it, you will be able to focus more and relax. Eventually, you will have the confidence again to do your parenting responsibilities.

Pros

Affordable

Caffeine-free

It does not cause palpitations

Cons

The taste may not be liked by some parents

Forgetfulness

When a parent is experiencing this parental burnout syndrome, he or she tends to be forgetful and this is because a lot of things are filling up their minds.[7] Although this may just last short-term, prolonged forgetfulness may last longer.

If you do not want to experience this sign of parental burnout, adding this supplement on your lifestyle will make you more productive especially when it comes to parenting.

Natures Craft's Mind Enhancement Supplement
Using this product will keep your brain sharp and will enhance your memory. Also, it will be able to boost your focus and so, no matter how many things run through your mind, you will never forget the important things you need to do.

Pros

Affordable

Helps in enhancing the brain’s activity

Improves memory

Cons

Not FDA approved as it is just a supplement

Causes of Parental Burnout

Parental burnout is not just caused by children but it is caused by the following:

Having a child with physical or mental illness

Some parents may find it hard to deal with life when they have a child who has physical or mental illness and this may cause parental burnout.[8] To solve this problem, understand the development of your child and be more gentle, empathetic, and compassionate towards them. Consider reading this book about autism if your child is one of them. After reading it, you will surely be able to understand your child’s development.

Sale
Denial
This book will not just help you accept the development and condition of your child but it will also tell you the things that may damage them more. If you know these things, you will not just be able to lessen your stress in life but you will also be able to help your children.

Pros

Educational

Affordable

Easy to read

Cons

Some parents might not like the content

Perfectionism

When a parent gets the feeling of not being able to perfect parenting, this may lead to the parental burnout syndrome because that parent might feel useless and unaccomplished.

Lack of support

Lack of support for partner (especially those separated couples) and other family members may cause parental burnout. This support may be physical, emotional, or financial.

Working outside of the home

Every parent may feel tired after working outside their home the whole day. Back then, I used to work on a 12-hour shift (medical worker) and whenever I go home and look at our messy house, I kind of feel more exhausted and when I feel this, I get to have a bad mood. Now that I work on a 7-hour shift, everything was made better including my mood! So, working really causes parental burnout.

After my duty, I always use this back massager as it calms and relaxes me after a long day. You might want to try it as it may work for you, too.

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Papillon Back Massager
Using this product will not just relieve your muscle pain but it will also reduce your stress and fatigue. Surely, you will be able to function as a great parent even if you have already worked the whole day! Eventually, this will allow you to have a better bonding with your whole family.

Pros

It can relax you

Reduces pain and fatigue

Easy to use

Cons

The vibration may tingle your hand after prolonged use

Financial problems

This is in fact true because I personally experienced it. Back then, I was only the one working for my family and we have so many bills to pay! Whenever I think of our bills and my salary, I kind of get frustrated and stressed.

When you are having some financial problems, a financial advisor will help but this may cause you to pay more. So, consider reading this financial book. Surely, you will be able to learn about finances in your own home.

How To Pray For A Financial Miracle
Reading this book will not just teach you about how to handle your finances but it will also draw you more closer to God. Eventually, you will be able to succeed no matter how much trouble financial shortness is causing you.

Pros

Educational

Affordable

Easy to read and understand

Cons

The religion content may not be like by others

Overschedule

When a parent has so many scheduled things to do, this might make him or her stressed especially now that online schooling is the new-normal. Eventually, when a parent fails to follow even just one schedule or task, he or she might feel this exhaustion and failure.

Other Factors that Contributes to Parental Burnout

Aside from the causes of parental burnout, here are some other factors that may lead to parental burnout:

The COVID-19 Pandemic

This pandemic caused a lot of parents to lose their job. In fact, child maltreatment happens during this COVID-19 pandemic.[9] Personally, my husband is one of them which left me to work a lot. This unemployment may actually give a parental burnout syndrome for both parents.

Underappreciated

When a parent feels like he or she is not appreciated, this may make them feel that they are not doing their job properly or they feel like everything is under their responsibility. When they feel this, they actually think that they cannot control anything and they are left to do the work alone.

Consequences of Parental Burnout

Parental burnout may cause negative effects not just on the parent or caregiver but also to the child. Here are some consequences of parental burnout:

Affects Parenting Abilities

When a parent is having this syndrome, his or her cognitive skills are affected and this includes his or her parenting skills. This will actually lead to loss of pleasure when it comes to parenting and decision-making will be a problem.

Parental Neglect

Parental neglect does not only mean not giving attention to your child when they tell you about something. It also includes neglecting your child’s physical, emotional, and even educational needs.[10]

Harm or Parental Violence

The normal consequence of parental burnout is neglect followed by verbal abuse or violence. When the syndrome is severe, it may lead to physical violence which can be dangerous.[11] One way to avoid doing this violence is by giving yourself a break. Personally, when I can no longer control my temper, I used to go to the bathroom and use this tiny fidget. This is where I throw my anger instead of throwing it to my child.

Pros

Affordable

Easy to use

Durable

Comes with a set of three

Can be used by everyone

Cons

Removing the dirt takes a lot of time

Thoughts about Escape

Leaving the family and all the parenting responsibilities may enter the mind of a parent who is experiencing parental burnout. Sometimes, this may lead to some suicidal thoughts. Remember, you cannot escape parental responsibilities but you can escape those burnouts by helping yourself.

Addictive Behaviors

A parent who is experiencing this parental burnout syndrome may have an increased risk or interest in using drugs and alcohol. Sometimes, parents do this so that they may put themselves to sleep.

Sleep Disorders

A parent who is experiencing the parental burnout syndrome may have sleep disorders. As they lose their patience, they also miss the opportunity to have a great bonding or communication with their children. If you cannot sleep well, consider using these sleeping supplements instead of using alcohol or some other dangerous drugs. These pills will surely help you get enough and quality sleep.

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Relaxium Natural Sleep Aid
Using this product will not just give you the quality sleep you need especially during your troubled days but it will also help you get a better immune system. Surely, wen you have the perfect body and mind, you will be bale to do parenting better!

Pros

Non-habit forming

Clinically proven

Boosts immune health

Cons

Kind of pricey for 60 pcs

How to Prevent Parent Burnout

If you do not want to experience this syndrome, here are some following tips for you:

Give yourself some grace

Do not worry if the house is messy or your baby’s clothes do not look good. Make an easy meal for your family and do not stress yourself thinking they might not like it.

See what your child wants to tell you

If your child does not want to take a bath, try to understand and do not force them as forcing them will stress you more if they will resist. It is okay to not follow rules sometimes especially during your exhausting days.

Share the load

Tell your spouse about your feelings. If you feel tired, tell them that you need a break. Consider also asking help from your older children. You may also want to consider talking to your child’s health care provider if you feel like there is something wrong with their behaviors which may stress you. If you do not really want to talk about it, have your own diary and write down your sadness.

Personally, I recommend this co-parenting diary especially for parents who are not comfortable with sharing their thoughts verbally.

Coparenting Log Book
Having this product will keep both parents away from parenting negligence. Surely, you will not just be able to relieve the stress from the thoughts on your mind but you will also be able to communicate effectively to your spouse. When this happens, the parental burnout will be avoided.

Pros

Affordable

You can write freely

Cons

Comes with just one desgin

Do something for yourself

This may also be called as self-care and self-care includes treating yourself. Give yourself some time to refresh. Exercise, go watch some movies, or drink your coffee. When you are feeling exhausted, do something that will make you feel good. Remember, caring for yourself also means caring for your family.

One at a time

I cannot deny it but even I fail at this because my mind is full of thoughts even when I am with my child. I may be present but I multitask. I plan activities and think of the bills while I watch over my playing little one. Eventually, this sometimes may cause a negative feeling to the children. So, as much as possible, be present physically and emotionally whenever you are with your children as they will treasure you more.

Be silly

If your child is resistant on you commands such as when changing diapers or brushing his or her teeth, do it in a funny way then. Whenever I brush my little boy’s teeth, a fake my sneeze and he will laugh and everything will be easier after! Also, you might want to recall your funny times with your children. This might help!

Meditate

Meditating is a great way to prevent not just parental burnout but different stresses in life. If you never want to experience such, consider adding a meditation in your lifestyle. If you want to know how to meditate properly, consider reading this book as it will give you a great guide on how to do it.

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How to Meditate
Reading this book will allow you to relax your mind especially on your stressful days. Surely, when you get to master meditation, you will be able to guide your children better and you will be able to be perfect parenting in your own way!

Pros

Affordable

Educational

Easy to follow

Cons

Some parents say that it is not complete

Organize and schedule

Do some “to-do-list” every time. Doing this will actually lessen the things you think of and it will make you more organized. Creating a daily schedule is also one great way to reduce parental burnout and when you create a schedule, consider adding family fun time especially on weekends. You can use this product in creating your schedules. This is the one the I am using up until now.

Pros

Affordable

Comes with a format

Cons

Parents who want to write freely cannot do so

Enhance Management Skills

You may want to consider increasing your management skills by reading books. You may also joining some classes and activities. When you have a great foundation about management skills, you will feel less stress.

How to Decrease Parental Burnout

If you are already experiencing this syndrome, here are some things you might want to do to lessen your exhaustion:

Self-compassion

Tell yourself that you are a great parent. Do not pressure yourself and appreciate your accomplishment. Take each of them as big ones. You do not need to do a lot of things. Just by merely taking care of your children makes you a great parent. Using this workbook about self-compassion might help you appreciate yourself more.

Sale
The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook
Using this book will make you appreciate yourself and when this happens, you will get that confidence to do parenting without having to think about what others tell you. Surely, you will be able to break-free from everything that makes you feel low.

Educate yourself

You cannot give your family something that you are not knowledgeable of. So, try to educate yourself about this syndrome whenever you feel it. Surely, you will feel better after. You may also want to consider parenting classes as this can help you become a more equipped parent.

Ask for Help

When you are feeling this parental burnout syndrome, it is reach for help. You may ask help from your spouse and other family members. Consider them as your power bank whenever you are drained. Also, help may come from your children, ask them to hug and kiss you and always try to be gentle when you approach them. Don’t mind the things you need to do. Just simply have fun with your little ones. Back then, I always stay silent and I realized that my spouse cannot read my mind. So, I started sharing my thought with him and eventually, I felt better and understood.

Join a Group

Support groups are available online or in your community. Join one and when you feel exhausted, share your thoughts with the other members. The burden will be lessened, trust me.

Take Home Advice

Indeed, parenting makes you anxious, frustrated, and exhausted especially when you are having a hard time which makes you experience the parental burnout syndrome. That’s okay. That is normal. When you feel it, know that you are not alone. Try the tips above and you will surely feel better than ever. If you want to know more, try reading .

FAQs

Is parental burnout an illness?

Parental burnout is considered as a mental health issue and not an illness as it is characterized by exhaustion and stress.

How do I combat parental burnout?

Having self-care, doing exercises, and communicating or sharing your thoughts and feelings to your trusted ones are the top three ways in dealing with parental burnout. When you have the syndrome, you can try including these three in your lifestyle.

What are the signs and symptoms of parental burnout?

Detachment and feeling of ineffectiveness are some of the signs and symptoms of parental burnout. A parent who is having this syndrome might feel that he or she is alone.


[1] Roskam, Isabelle, Marie-Emilie Raes, and Moïra Mikolajczak. “Exhausted parents: Development and preliminary validation of the parental burnout inventory.” Frontiers in psychology 8 (2017): 163.

[2] Mikolajczak, Moïra, James J. Gross, and Isabelle Roskam. “Parental burnout: What is it, and why does it matter?.” Clinical Psychological Science 7.6 (2019): 1319-1329.

[3] Mikolajczak, Moïra, et al. “Exhausted parents: sociodemographic, child-related, parent-related, parenting and family-functioning correlates of parental burnout.” Journal of Child and Family Studies 27.2 (2018): 602-614.

[4] Van Bakel, Hedwig JA, Marloes L. Van Engen, and Pascale Peters. “Validity of the parental burnout inventory among Dutch employees.” Frontiers in Psychology 9 (2018): 697.

[5] Blanchard, Annelise, et al. “On the Temporal Nature of Parental Burnout: Development of an Experience Sampling Methodology (ESM) Tool to Assess Parental Burnout and Its Related Ever-Changing Family Context.” (2021).

[6] Maslach, Christina, and M. P. Leiter. “Burnout.” Stress and quality of working life: current perspectives in occupational health 37 (2006): 42-9.

[7] Sodi, Tholene, et al. “Parenting and parental burnout in Africa.” New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development 2020.174 (2020): 101-117.

[8] Gérain, Pierre, and Emmanuelle Zech. “Does informal caregiving lead to parental burnout? Comparing parents having (or not) children with mental and physical issues.” Frontiers in Psychology 9 (2018): 884.

[9] Griffith, Annette K. “Parental burnout and child maltreatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Journal of family violence (2020): 1-7.

[10] Stănculescu, Elena, et al. “Parental burnout in Romania: Validity of the Romanian version of the parental burnout assessment (PBA‐RO).” New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development 2020.174 (2020): 119-136.

[11] Gannagé, Myrna, et al. “Parental burnout in Lebanon: Validation psychometric properties of the Lebanese Arabic version of the Parental Burnout Assessment.” New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development (2020).

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Author

Vivian Perry

Vivian Perry

Mother of 3 kids. Enjoy reading parenting books and studied child care degree. Vivian loves to learn and write about parenting tips and help her kids to grow positively with grit mindset.

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