Parental burnout is real, and we need to take it seriously

Parental burnout is real, and we need to take it seriously

To feel ‘burnt out’ is to feel over-extended, exhausted, and that you nothing left to give. The feeling of ‘burnout’ is often accompanied by negative thoughts about yourself and people around you. Burning out can look different for different people. It may look loud and aggressive for some, and quiet and withdrawn for others. Regardless of how it presents, burnout is a serious problem for modern parents.

The term ‘burnout’ was first coined to describe an occupational hazard for certain professionals such as social workers, nurses and therapists. It was thought that the stress of constantly attending to others in need can lead to a state of fatigue and cynicism. In recent years, researchers have examined how burnout can happen in other contexts. Parenting is broadly considered one of the hardest jobs there is! And, unfortunately, parents around the world are reporting increasing symptoms of burnout.

Parents who are burning out often feel they are ineffective or poor in their parenting role. This can relate to unrealistic expectations of parenting. Social media can be a source of distress for some parents when they perceive that everyone else seems to raise their children with no trouble at all. Parental burnout can also make it difficult to see your child in a positive light. There can be resentment or a feeling of emotional distancing that threatens the quality of the parent-child relationship if not addressed.

It is important know that if you are struggling in your parenting duties, you are not alone. Burnout is most often reported by parents of newborns, and at other points of significant change or transition in the parenting journey. It helps to ask other family members or friends to give you some practical or emotional relief during these times. You can also call the NSW Parent Line on 1300 1300 52 or Lifeline on 13 11 14 for a chat, advice, and referrals. Support is here and available. Burnout is not permanent. You can thrive again, with a team behind you.

For more information and support with your parenting, contact our Parenting Facilitator Monica on 0437 699 019 or email We offer free parenting programs including Triple P (Level 4), Tuning In To Kids, Parent Effectiveness Training, Bringing Up Great Kids and Peaceful parents.

Originally published in the Glenmore Gazette.

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