What is Parental Burnout? Phases and Remedies

Parenting is the ability to practice patience, listen, understand, empathise and express love. Also defined as a roller coaster ride of joy and sacrifice parenting can result in a feeling of having to sacrifice everything for our kids resulting in parental burnout.

Most of us as parents have experienced burnout at some point or another without realising it and the implications it can have.

Parental burnout is experienced in escalating phases, where each phase is more dire and destructive than its predecessor.

Gung-Ho Phase:

Starts with the news of pregnancy and continues for years. In this phase the parents are overwhelmed with their new role, determined to do everything on their own. This phase is characterized by fixation on child-rearing.

Phase of Uncertainty:

Parents easily slip from phase one to this phase which is characterized by persistent doubts. In this phase parents are vexed with children and may yell at them. Parents also experience symptoms like back and neck aches, upset stomach, headaches and hypertension.

Transition Phase:

This is the phase for parents to alter the course or continue to tumble into the next one. Parents often experience exasperation, self-condemnation, and resentment.

Pulling Away Phase:

In this phase, the parent disengages himself/herself from the kids and family regardless of the attention kids are craving for but overreact to minor accidents. Parents often experience extreme guilt, self-loathing or disappointment in life and may assume refuge in alcoholism or drug abuse.

Chronic Disenchantment Phase:

The final phase where life seems vacuous, suicidal tendencies surface, sexual desires are absent and marriage is in trouble.

Make sure you recognise the symptoms and take remedial measures because a happy person makes a happy parent!

How to avoid Parental Burnout

Exercise Regularly:

Take care of yourself to take care of your family. Exercise serves as an outlet for tension. A 30 minute workout three times a week cuts anxiety and depression by up to 70%.

Esteem Building Activity:

Take up activities that don’t define you as a parent/spouse, something that speaks of your individuality. Engage yourself in art forms or anything that interests you or interested you in your pre-parent stage. 

Maintain Quality Relations:

Maintain Quality Connections: Stay away from people who induce negativity in your life, pick on your flaws or cause disappointment.

Practice Mindfulness: 

Mindfulness is not necessarily meditation, explore your thoughts and and what really influences your choices, because these things are operating all the time.”

Outings with self/spouse:

Take time off to go for a short trip, maybe just a day trip or just visit to cinema or concert to cheer yourself.

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