By Courtney Ingalls
Some parents feel like they can never catch a break, especially due to Covid-19 sometimes keeping kids at home during the designated alone time that all parents need.
Dr. Natalie Weder, a senior, child, and adolescent psychiatrist at the Child Mind Institute, shared some common signs of parental burnout and what steps parents can take to prevent it.
What is parental burnout? Sometimes parents, either because of environmental aspects like Covid, or all of a sudden having to be teachers and tutors in addition to just parenting because they are studying from home, or you have less access to resources that you would access otherwise, have to spend so much time taking care of kids that sometimes they start neglecting their own needs. As a result, they can experience burnout.
What are some of the most common signs? The most common ones tend to be excessive fatigue, feeling that you are exhausted all the time, or feeling like you feel more distant from your children and can’t be emotionally present, or that you can’t find the emotional resources or the emotional availability to be connected with them.
How could parental burnout affect kids? Children notice this fatigue and they notice this lack of being emotionally present or this lack of enthusiasm. And so the kids first start worrying about their parents because they notice that something is wrong. Secondly, they many times tend to internalize things, saying, “Oh, maybe this is my fault,” “Maybe I’m not being a good child,” and kids can feel guilty themselves.
What are some changes you can make to prevent parental burnout? The first thing is to feel comfortable talking about it. Really work on the guilt and be able to vent to people that you trust or to other parents, whoever is in your support system that’s an adult. Being able to talk about your feelings, being able to talk about your problems just in itself can be a huge relief. The other piece is to evaluate your stress.
What techniques can parents use to help with their burnout? If it’s going beyond — like sometimes it starts as stress and burnout and then it can end up in depression or extreme anxiety, to the point where it is impairing their well-being or the well-being of the family — they can seek professional help. There are ways and treatments available to help them feel less depressed or feel less anxious and so on.
This article first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.