Unfortunately, parental burnout is a common problem, it can occur when parents set unrealistic expectations for themselves and their children. Research suggests 75% of parents feel the pressure of social “perfectionism” that can negatively impact their mental health.
A 2021 research study suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed significantly to parental burnout. Contributing factors include social isolation, escalation in children’s misbehaviors, and longer hours parenting.
Having guilty feelings around the communication you have with your children is quite common for parents to experience and is not a cause for concern, unless these thoughts become chronic in nature. In fact, sometimes guilty feelings can be viewed as learning experiences, allowing you to become a better parent.
However, if you feel constantly guilty, you will experience burnout- a serious condition that can affect your physical and mental well-being. Various factors contribute to parental burnout such as financial insecurity, limited family support, unemployment, anxiety, busy schedules, and a decline in self-care practices.
Remember, the guilty feelings associated with parental burnout can cause anxiety, which may also impact your child. In today’s article, we will answer why most parents feel like they are failing and present solutions that can help parents cope with their situation. Read on!
Reason 1: Time Management
Many parents, especially those fully employed, are busy and find it challenging to spend time with their children. Remember, children may suffer from behavioral problems if you don’t spend enough time with them.
Although you can’t change some aspects of your time, including your work hours, you can schedule meals, reading times, and playing times to establish a strong bond with your child. I suggest limiting the use of TV, video games, and computers at home. It’s about quality, not quantity. Spending 30 mins talking over dinner far outweighs sitting in front of a screen for three hours with your child.
It is also crucial to take time for your physical health and emotional well-being. For instance, regular exercise, pursuing hobbies, or spending time with your spouse, family, or friends can help you recharge and feel more optimistic.
Reason 2: Impatience
Parents can become easily frustrated or impatient with their children. This is totally understandable due to the amount of constant stress that comes with parenting. When a child fails to comply with your expectations, ignores your guidance, or slams their bedroom door in your face for the 100th time, it can be quite triggering. Sometimes, not understanding or setting realistic expectations for your child can affect his/her growth and development, and our impatience may make the situation even worse.
Therefore, to avoid disappointment, make sure your expectations for your children are reasonable. Just like a young child can’t ignore ice cream or candy in a food store’s checkout line, he/she does not yet have the ability to wait for a parent to finish a long phone call or household chores.
Although it is crucial to set limits, make sure you carry out the process calmly, reliably, and firmly. Identify your child’s needs and wants and make efforts to fulfill them. That way, you can reduce the risk of parental burnout or feelings of guilt.
Make time to positively interact with your children. Instead of spending your time arguing or trying to teach your children how to behave, why not find some activities that help introduce a new behavior and reinforce it by positively praising your children.
Moreover, if yelling in your family home has become a habit, make sure you address this or consult a therapist to find more effective and child-friendly discipline techniques. Remember, anger increases stress levels that can lead to chronic depression and anxiety.
Reason 3: Materialism
Most parents think that providing their children with enough materialism is the main factor leading to their happiness and satisfaction. However, this is not true at all. Bear in mind that expensive toys or luxury vacations do not determine your children’s happiness.
On the other hand, your children’s physical health, emotional happiness, and mental well-being are determined by positive relationships, compassion, and affection. Help your children deepen their relationships with you, family members, close friends, teachers, and relatives. These relationships will enrich your children far more than fancy toys.
Reason 4: Fear of Messing Up
You didn’t go to school or college to learn parenting skills. Every individual has their own set of values and beliefs that are mainly influenced by their own childhood. Although it is common to worry about your decisions around your children’s upbringing, too much worry can lead to parental burnout.
Consequently, physical and mental exhaustion will take its toll, making it even more challenging to cope with parenting.
Talk to your spouse, parents, siblings, close friends, or a parenting expert to improve your self-esteem and self-confidence. The purpose is to act on your best judgment and make informed decisions. Bear in mind that parents need to have boundaries and set limitations. This ensures children are raised to be emotionally intelligent and have high self-esteem.
There are dozens of reasons why most parents feel like they are failing. However, the reasons given above are the most obvious. You can protect yourself from parental burnout, feelings of guilt, and promote a sense of well-being through communication, compassion, and interaction. Make sure you take time out for yourself to recharge, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Until Next Time!
Deborah Byrne is a parenting coach whose primary goal is for all busy parents to feel supported on the amazing journey of parenthood by reducing everyday stresses, living more mindfully and focusing on what really matters in this lifetime, our children. For more information visit https://deborahbyrne.com/