Psychologists have released new studies on parent burnout, and experts have made recommendations on how to deal with it. Most parents find the idea of burning out from doing their basic job of raising their kid quite ridiculous. After all, we’re always told how rewarding and fulfilling parenting can be.
Research published in the Clinical Psychological Science showed that many parents burnout, and there are serious consequences to this. A study of two groups (918 people and 822 people) demonstrated that many parents endorsed escape ideation: the fantasy of simply dropping all the stressors of parenting. What was most shocking about the study is that parents answered the surveys honestly. Usually, they tend to lie to save face; no one wants to admit they’re tired of their children.
This exhaustion syndrome is especially dangerous for parents with more difficult children. Most media don’t truly capture what it’s like to raise a child with behavioural issues or mental challenges. Everyday simple tasks become incredibly difficult and require limitless patience. For example, getting your kids to do their homework is already a task, but it will take twice the time with a child with OCD because they need to erase every letter that doesn’t look perfect.
Psychologists urge parents to acknowledge that burnout is possible, and it can be dangerous. In every way, self-care is childcare. Instead of having one big time-off day, experts recommend having different “banks” to refill daily. Just like how a phone needs a power bank to recharge, parents have different needs to be replenished. For example, some parents may need physical affection to recharge, so they can ask their kids or partners to help refill their “cuddle bank.” Others may need their sleep, mental stimuli, or play banks filled. Depending on the day or week, psychologists recommend reflecting on which needs need to be replenished in order to keep going.
Parents continuously feel the need to give. Children are so reliant on them for everything: survival, learning, fun, etc. A key thing to remember is that you can’t give if you have nothing to give anymore. You can’t give your child more attention if you’re low on energy or stressed out. It is a parent’s job to care for their children, so they should keep themselves in optimal condition to do so.