You can thrive this summer when you all know what to expect.
The end of the school year is right around the corner. This time of year is filled with field trips, field days, school programs, and parties. Then, it all comes to a close, and another school year is behind us. Bring on the summer!
It’s time for camps, vacations, and activities. Kids love summer. On the other hand, parents may not always be the biggest fan. Schedules change, and routines shift. Summertime often involves a lot of calendar juggling and planning.
Summertime doesn’t have to stress you out, though.
Here are some tips for summer survival:
Put a calendar in your kitchen or living room that everyone can see and keep up with.
If your summer looks like ours, there are lots of camps and activities to keep track of. The best way to make sure you’re all on the same page is to post a highly visible calendar. Get creative with colors for each family member. Just remember to make it simple enough that it doesn’t get overwhelming.
Summer schedules can change from week to week. A great practice is to schedule a weekly family meeting to discuss what’s coming up. Sunday evening could be an ideal time. Include the whole family and get input from the kids.
Adjust your school year routines, but don’t throw them out.
Kids need structure. Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you should throw all the routines out the window. If you’re like us, you still have a work schedule for the summer. Bedtimes may look different, and morning routines may shift, but structure brings security for your kids. We push bedtime back during the summer, and the kids usually wake up a little later. Just remember that you’ll have to adjust back to school year routines in a couple of months.
Schedule downtime for you as a family.
It’s tempting to stuff the calendar with camps and activities to keep the kids preoccupied. Make sure to schedule downtime and game nights for the family. Leave some time for the kids to be kids and entertain themselves.
Give your kids space.
Some kids need time to recharge (some parents, too). Set aside time for individual play or rest.
Schedules are great, but also be flexible and spontaneous. Life happens, and plans change. That’s ok.
Make a chore list.
Kids are home more over the summer and have more free time. Make a list of all the chores around the house and assign everyone tasks. Get creative and post the list on the fridge or near the family calendar. You can even schedule out when chores need to be done. No matter your child’s age, there are age-appropriate chores for them.
Clarify expectations regarding technology.
Set ground rules in your house for screen use during the summer. We put timers on our kids’ tablets and gaming systems. There is a daily cutoff for technology. Also, consider requiring chores to be done before they can use the tech.
Schedule a date night with your significant other.
While working on that calendar, schedule a date night for you and your love. Intentionally make time for the two of you.
Ditch the pressure.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to make this the best summer ever. Your kids don’t need lots of activities and trips. They need you! It amazes me what my kids classify as the best days. It’s often just time spent together.
Make this summer a summer they’ll never forget – not because of trips or adventures, but because you enjoyed it as a family. Summers get more hectic as your kids get older. Take advantage of time with them when they’re young and make the most of it with these summer survival tips. Have a great summer!
The term “default parent” has become more popular in the last few years. Essentially, the default parent is responsible for most of their children’s emotional, physical, and logistical needs. If you and your spouse are parents, one of you is probably the default parent. And if you have to ask who it is, it probably isn’t you. The default parent carries most of the parenting load, which can be exhausting if you are overloaded with responsibilities.
Parenting may never truly be 50/50.
One of you may carry more responsibilities due to circumstances or a preference. What’s important is that the two of you agree on who will do what regarding parenting. Remember, first and foremost, you two are a team. Parenting takes a lot of time and energy, and it takes both of you working together.
So, fellow default parent, let’s have a quick chat. You’re probably exhausted and stressed out (to be honest, most parents are to some extent). You may feel unheard or neglected. You may be on the verge of burnout. And you may even be resentful toward your spouse. All of this can hurt your relationship. I don’t want your relationship to suffer.
It’s time to talk to your spouse about being the default parent. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Awareness is the first step toward change. You recognize you’re carrying most parenting responsibilities, but it doesn’t have to be overbearing. Let the following statement sink in: “Just because I can do something doesn’t mean I have to.”
Remember that communication is key.
Good communication truly is the foundation of many solutions in a relationship. If we don’t talk to each other, how can we expect our relationship to grow and thrive? Schedule a time with your spouse to sit down and discuss what parenting looks like in your marriage.
As you have this conversation, you’ll want to keep a few do’s and don’ts in mind:
DON’T talk about this when you’re frustrated.
DO set aside a time with no distractions.
DON’T accuse or put all the blame on them.
DO express how you feel using “I” statements.
DON’T interrupt when your spouse responds.
DO listen to understand.
DON’T jump to conclusions about how you became the default parent.
DO seek to understand your spouse’s viewpoint.
Most importantly, be respectful with your spouse. Remember, marriage is a partnership, and you’re on the same team.
Write it down.
Make a list of everything you do to keep the house and family operating. Ask your spouse to write down everything they do, too. Don’t write it for them. You may think you know what they do and don’t do, but assuming isn’t helpful. After you’ve written it down, have a conversation about how best to address the imbalance.
Acknowledge what you both do in parenting and why it’s important.
As parents, it’s valuable to acknowledge what you both bring to the table. Stress the importance of what you both do. Even if you think your spouse doesn’t do enough when it comes to parenting, show appreciation for what they do for the family.
Maybe you became the default parent because of circumstances. Maybe you stayed home with your newborn, then took on all the responsibilities and never stopped. Perhaps you have a more flexible schedule and can absorb more responsibilities. Maybe being the default parent was a conscious choice that you and your spouse discussed. Regardless of how you got here, it’s time to reset expectations.
Own the responsibilities you take on, and only those.
Trust that your spouse will take care of what they have agreed to be responsible for. They don’t need to be micromanaged or reminded constantly. Instead, encourage them and let them know you appreciate what they own. If it’s their responsibility, it’s their responsibility. I know people get frustrated when they ask me to do something and I respond by saying, “Let me check with my wife.” But she keeps the family calendar. I’m conscious of not committing us to something without checking with her first.
This shouldn’t be a one-and-done conversation, either. Circumstances will change, and every stage of parenting brings on new challenges and responsibilities. Revisit this conversation often to check in with and check on each other. You’re a team, and your marriage is healthier when you move in the same direction.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Untitled-5-01.png5001200Mitchell Quallshttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngMitchell Qualls2022-05-09 13:43:382022-05-10 09:02:23How to Talk To Your Spouse About Being the Default Parent
Break down these 3 barriers so you can all win and feel the love!
Have you ever asked your spouse what they plan on doing for you on Mother’s Day? Raise your hand if they’ve replied:
Shoot… Is that THIS weekend?
Whatever you want to do, Babe.
Umm… nothing. You’re not my mom.
All wrong answers. That sinking feeling of being unappreciated, taken for granted and forgotten drowns out any last-minute plans they may try to scramble together. The damage has been done.
Your expectations to be thought of and celebrated have been shattered to dust. And if this isn’t the first, second, or third offense, you may even feel numb to it now. Disappointment is inevitable. No point in getting your hopes up, right?
You’ve probably figured out by now that motherhood is a thankless job. It’s not just what you do – it becomes who you are. It’s like breathing… and it’s natural, instinctual, automatic. But it’s also grueling, emotional and exhausting. So having your family acknowledge all that hard work AND celebrate it one day out of the entire year is not asking for too much.
But what trips up most couples is actually that – the ASKING part.“What are you going to do for me?” is a loaded question if you already have unspoken expectations of what you want.
But shouldn’t my spouse care enough to look at a calendar and plan ahead? Shouldn’t they know me well enough to know what I’d want to do/how I’d like to be celebrated? Shouldn’t they realize that even though I’m not THEIR mother, I’m a mother, and that’s what this holiday is all about?!
First, that’s a lot of shoulding… So let’s break down some expectation barriers together so we can all win on Mother’s Day.
Barrier #1: You expect your spouse to think and act like you.
It’s easy to believe that everyone (including your spouse) sees the world the way you do. This sets you up for some pretty unrealistic expectations and
disappointment. You want your spouse to magically know and do exactly what you would do (and probably are doing for your own mother). Maybe you expect them to…
Speak the same love language as you. For example: Your spouse may think a signed card shows they care, while you long for a handwritten, thoughtful love letter. Or they may think flowers are the universal language of love, but you find them impractical and a waste of money. Or they may tell you to take the “day-off” and go get a massage or do your nails or whatever you want… but your love language is Quality Time, and you want to celebrate with your family (without any of the normal responsibilities of motherhood…)
Have the same skills as you. For example: Your spouse is a spontaneous, in-the-moment kind of person. They don’t enjoy planning. So they wait ‘til the last minute to figure out what to do. But this seems lazy or unthoughtful to you (a planner) when really, it’s their natural temperament. Or they are very logical, and thinking of creative ways to show love is like speaking a foreign language to them. So they get you a super practical gift like new towels or a car charger when you want something meaningful.
Break down the barrier by realizing that your spouse is a unique individual.
They are not YOU. And that’s a good thing! Our differences make us stronger. Talk about your differences. You most likely are speaking different love languages, so discover what each other’s love language is and try to speak it fluently and frequently. If you already know each other’s love languages, a simple reminder can go a long way!
Barrier #2: You expect your spouse to read your mind.
Whether you’ve been together for 3 years or 30… your spouse cannot read your mind. We joke about this – but when was the last time you’ve thought or said, “You should know what I like! I’ve only told you 1 million times!”? Been there, said that way too often.
The real issue here is that you long to feel seen, understood, and known deeply. This requires intentionally working on your emotional intimacy, which is an ongoing process of growing in your understanding of each other’s feelings, hopes, dreams, fears, motivations, etc. You know what you want and need. But it changes over time and throughout different seasons of life.
Break down the barrier by telling your spouse exactly what you’d like for Mother’s Day and why it’s so important to you.
Sharing what would make you feel the most acknowledged, valued and celebrated doesn’t diminish your spouse’s effort; it encourages it. The more you tell your spouse how you feel loved the most and why, the more your spouse has the chance to love you in that way… and the deeper your emotional intimacy will grow.1 This doesn’t mean you have to plan the whole day. You just have to clearly communicate what you want or need. Leave the little details up to your spouse!
Barrier #3: You expect your spouse to be perfect.
No matter how hard your spouse tries, they’ll never be perfect. Expecting perfection sets unrealistic standards that will make them believe they aren’t good enough. It’ll push them away, and you’ll end up experiencing the opposite of what you wanted to feel.
Break down the barrier by realizing that your expectations may be unrealistic.
Take a moment. See if maybe you’re setting the bar too high so that it feels out of reach to your spouse. Have you criticized their efforts in the past? If you have, there’s a good chance they don’t want to fail again (and maybe they think they can’t fail if they don’t even try…). Think about what your spouse is good at and enjoys doing – that still fills your love tank. Telling them exactly how you’d feel loved and appreciated will set them up for success and set your expectations at a realistic level.
So this year, instead of asking what your spouse will do, try telling them what you’d like to dofirst.
Take the pressure off of them to decode your side-eye sighs and do your spouse a favor:
Spell it out.
Be clear and specific before any resentment starts to build. If you’re a planner, talk about it a couple of weeks in advance.
If you like surprises, give your spouse a few options for things you’d like to do and let them choose!
You DESERVE to be celebrated, Mama. Mother’s Day is a great opportunity for your husband and family to do that. So be honest and open about what would make you feel appreciated and loved.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Untitled-11-01.png5001200Tamara Slocumhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngTamara Slocum2022-05-04 11:33:302022-05-10 13:59:47Managing Expectations for Mother’s Day
One parent may carry more of the load, but you can work together.
The other day, I was at my kids’ school, deep in conversation with my wife and another parent. Then, here comes our 6-year-old daughter, on a mission. She goes right around my wife to ask me if she could go play on the playground. My wife responds, “Hey, I’m right here, and Dad is talking.” This didn’t phase my daughter at all. She had a question and thought I had the answer. My wife and I are very much partners in parenting. Still, we recognize that I often serve as the default parent.
What does “default parent” mean?
Default means a preselected option. We all know what parent means. So, what’s a default one? They are the one who carries the bigger load in parenting (assuming there are two parents present). According to a 2014 Huff Post article, they’re responsible for their children’s emotional, physical, and logistical needs.
If you’re the default parent, you probably already know it without thinking about it.
Your child comes to you when they need anything (sometimes physically bypassing the other parent).
You’re the one who coordinates the schedules, sets appointments (and makes sure they get there), nurses injuries, ensures all school needs are met, and serves as the first point of contact for school or daycare.
You also feel the pressure to take the lead on anything new that pops up, like school meetings or appointments.
How does one become the default parent?
Sometimes it’s a choice. There is an intentional conversation, and one parent chooses that role. But more often than not, it falls to one person without a conversation happening. If only one parent works outside of the home, the other parent may become the default parent. And yes, while moms tend to be seen as the default parent, that isn’t always the case.
Is there always a default parent?
More likely than not. One parent may always carry more of the load. Parenting will not always be 50/50, depending on your work schedule, but that doesn’t mean it has to be unbearable for one of you. Being intentional about communicating with your spouse is the only way to ensure you’re both sharing the load.
Here’s what parenting looks like in our situation. My children are both elementary school age, and my wife works at their school. I have a more flexible schedule. So, I schedule and take the kids to doctor and dentist appointments. My wife would tell you that she can count the dentist appointments she’s made on one hand. I have served on the school PTA for five years. Until she started working at the school, I served as the primary contact for my son’s teachers. I take responsibility for my son’s sports schedule.
My wife coordinates the family calendar to ensure we don’t overbook ourselves. She’s the go-to for our kids when they are sick, but I often stay home with them if they miss school. We are fairly evenly split on household chores.
Am I really the default parent? My wife would say yes. Our situation was created mostly by circumstances. Do I do everything? Not by a long shot.
What challenges arise for the default parent?
Let’s start with the fact that parenting is difficult in and of itself. There’s no way around that. Being a default parent makes it even harder.
All of this can also negatively impact your relationship. The challenges affecting the default parent can cause issues with communication and intimacy. If left unaddressed, the default parent’s frustration can evolve into contempt, which is hazardous for the relationship.
If you find yourself as the default parent and you’re not sure how you got there, it’s time to address the issue in your relationship. It all starts with communication and resetting expectations.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Untitled-9-01.png5001200Mitchell Quallshttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngMitchell Qualls2022-05-03 12:08:352022-05-03 14:03:22What Does It Mean to Be the Default Parent?
Welcome to the most incredible adventure of your life… parenting. I’d love to offer you a roadmap to being a successful parent, but I’m still looking for that one. I can provide you with what I’ve learned from almost 10 years of mistakes and countless conversations with fellow parents.
So, buckle up and get ready for the wildest ride on earth – PARENTHOOD.
Here are 14 tips for first-time parents.
1. Parenting is hard.
Especially at the beginning. No way to get around that truth. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There are loads of worry, anxiety, stress, and sleeplessness. Some things will get easier as your child grows, especially sleep. Every stage is a beautiful mess in its own way.
2. Everything is about to change (if it hasn’t already).
It’s all about to get rocked, from your social life to your work life. That can be scary. But I think you’ll enjoy it and won’t be able to imagine life any other way.
3. The days are long, but the years are short.
As a parent of a 9 and 6-year-old, time flies. Try to enjoy every stage of childhood. Live in the moment.
4. Don’t stress yourself.
Things won’t always go the way you want. Your house will never be as clean as you want it to be. You won’t always get the perfect picture. Your child may not meet all your expectations. You might miss out on some events or milestones.
5. Take care of yourself.
You can’t give what you don’t have. Taking care of yourself has to be a priority. It’s not easy. But do your best to spend a little time focusing on yourself. Take a walk, grab a coffee with friends, get in a quick workout, do a puzzle – whatever fills your soul.
6. There are a lot of opinions out there, but you know your child better than anyone else.
You spend more time with your child than anyone. You may sense that they aren’t feeling well or something isn’t right. Trust your instincts. Social media and the internet are full of people who think they know best, but they really don’t.
7. Hold your baby a lot.
Don’t worry; you can’t spoil a newborn baby by holding them too much. (And research supports that it’s okay). They need your touch and attention. You’re providing a foundation for them to grow and feel safe emotionally, physically, and mentally.
8. Your baby will get sick.
That’s normal, and not because of anything you did wrong. It’s so hard to watch your baby get sick. It can be anything from minor infections to food allergies to significant illness. Be there for them and reach out to doctors as often as you feel is necessary. Don’t feel like you’re calling your pediatrician too much. They are there to help you. You are your child’s greatest advocate.
9. You’ll make mistakes.
There is no handbook for parenting, and every child is different. You’re gonna make mistakes. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up.
10. When you do make a mistake, own it and apologize.
Your baby isn’t going to remember this, so this is for you. Create the habit now of apologizing when you mess up. As your child grows, they will learn this from you.
11. You are your child’s first teacher.
Learning doesn’t start in daycare or school; it begins with you. You are their first teacher. You have the privilege and responsibility of introducing your child to the world. Start early and use every opportunity to teach them as they grow.
12. Do what works for you, your child, and your family.
Every child and every family is different. Figure out what works best for your situation.
13. Surround yourself with people who will help you.
You’ve heard it said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It’s true! But it’s not just for the child, you need a village, too. Surround yourself with friends, family, and parents in the same stage.
14. If you’re married, keep your marriage first.
Make sure and keep your relationship first and your parenting second. The best thing for your child is for your relationship with your spouse to be healthy and strong.
Parenting is a journey. Take it one step at a time, and don’t get ahead of yourself. And have fun! You’ve got this. I’m rooting for you.
You can foster independence and responsibility while you set boundaries.
Do you have an adult child living at home part-time or full-time? Are you considering this kind of arrangement? You might be struggling as you think about how to nurture and honor their adulthood while still being the adult parent in your home. I’ve got essential principles and practical help as you set boundaries with adult children. Let’s begin by examining the adult in the somewhat strange term adult child.
Everyone begins life being cared for by others. And if we live long enough, we each end our lives being cared for by other people. Somewhere in between is the chapter of life we call adulthood.
Adulthood: When you bear the responsibility of taking care of yourself.
If you’re a parent, you’ve brought a child into this world who began life utterly dependent on you. But as any toddler will show you, the desire to be independent is built in. It’s human nature for the toddler to protest and say, No, I’ll do it myself. That’s a healthy predisposition. Remember: The ultimate goal of parenting is to transition a dependent person into an independent person.
Parents raise future adults who do life themselves.
The toddler can’t actually do it themselves, and we don’t expect them to. But when is it reasonable to expect your adult child to be responsible for themselves and no longer dependent on you?
The transition can be tricky. It typically occurs between the late teens and early 20s. How do you know when your child is an adult? Every individual is different. You know where your young adult is from a developmental standpoint. But there are some significant signposts.
18 – Legally accountable. Vote. Enlist in the military. Marry without parental consent.
21 – Can buy tobacco, alcohol, and in many states, cannabis.
25 – Rent a car.
26 – Latest age they can be on most parents’ health insurance.
What do you see when you look at those numbers? From 18 to 26, there’s a window of time where adult freedoms and responsibilities kick in. Hopefully, we prepared our kids for the “training wheels” to come off during their teenage years. At 18, the training wheels are definitely beginning to come off. By the early to mid-20s, the transition is complete.
Your toddler is now an adult peddling through life on their own.
★ If we don’t give our adult children responsibilities, they can’t be independent and reach adulthood. This only extends their childhood and delays their maturity.
There are legitimate circumstances that may cause your adult child to be at home: College, unemployment, experiencing childbirth, illness, even a broken marriage or partnership. Our goal as parents is to promote independence through education, employment, financial stability, and ultimately, living on their own. Moving back home (in most cases) should be a temporary arrangement marked with tangible goals leading to their moving out.
Think of an adult child living at home as more like a housemate and less like a teenager. Your name is on the mortgage or lease. Sure, there should be healthy conversations. But you get the final word.
★ Something(s) To Think About. As parents, we have an impulse to do anything we can for our kids. Know your limits. Understand the healthy freedoms & responsibilities your adult child needs to grow into an independent adult.
Will there be an agreed-upon end date?
What signposts can you put in place to mark educational & occupational goals?
Will you be dealing with a young person who has drug or alcohol issues? Significant mental health issues?
Will your child be bringing a baby with them?
Despite your good intentions, realistically, can you handle this?
Avoid problems before they happen. Address and agree to boundaries before an adult child moves back home (if possible). Put them in writing. Sign them like a rental agreement or contract.
What are sensible, reasonable requirements or conditions you would have for a housemate to reside with you?
1. They’re reasonably easy to live with. They respect you, your property, and your boundaries.
Start here. You and your adult child living at home will occasionally experience friction. That’s reasonable. They’re adult family.
(If it helps, think of your adult child as a stranger who is renting a room at your place. There would undoubtedly be limits.)
Sadly, there are numerous cases of adult children intimidating, manipulating, or even verbally and physically abusing their parents. You wouldn’t put up with that behavior from a renter. You can’t tolerate such behavior from your adult child. Basic respect is a minimum requirement. Understand what abuse is in all of its forms.*
2. They’re a contributor, not just a consumer – a giver, not just a taker.
This arrangement shouldn’t just be a net financial gain for your adult child. It should instill discipline and be instructive. Catch this: The person doing the work is learning and growing. The person sacrificing is the person developing character and life skills. This person must be your adult child.
What resources do they have? Income? What amount can they reasonably contribute? Tough Love Alert: If your adult child is enrolled in school, they can probably work part-time. If your adult child isn’t in school and is unemployed, their job is to find a job.
What about time & energy? Your adult child can help with household cleaning, laundry, yardwork, and meal prep & clean up. Organize these responsibilities with systems and schedules. Focus on clear communication. If you’re providing childcare while your son or daughter is at work or school, factor that into the division of labor. (I know, I know, but this is your grandchild, right? Call up a local daycare or preschool. Understand the value of the service you are providing.)
3. Hopefully, this is a harmonious, temporary situation.
Don’t be surprised if adjustments take some time, it’s difficult, or it isn’t working out. It’s ok to feel bad if your adult child is in a tough spot in their life. It’s understandable to want to help. Maybe you can. Perhaps you shouldn’t. What’s certain is that you can’t be motivated by guilt or a well-intentioned, “I can fix this.” Let that stuff go. Be the parent your adult child needs today. To let them play video games 24/7, “borrow” money constantly, or take advantage of you is to stunt the growth of their adult independent living skills. You love them too much to do that.
4. If you allow your adult child to move in with you, the situation should be right for you both.
Communicate and set boundaries upfront. Agree on how you’ll know the arrangement is working and can continue to an agreed-upon end date. As difficult or uncomfortable as it may be, communicate the signs and consequences that will bring an end to this arrangement.
Remember: Your adult child is becoming the person they will be for the rest of their life.
*Domestic Violence Hotline
Do you feel unsafe? For a free, confidential, and clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here, or contact the Domestic Violence Hotline, 24/7, at 1−800−799−7233.
Any parent is susceptible if there’s an imbalance between the stress and their resources.
Have you ever felt like you can’t parent any longer? Like you’ve given everything you’ve got, and there’s nothing left? These feelings are a reality for many parents. They are simply exhausted. And if they don’t address it, exhaustion can lead to burnout.
What is parental burnout?
Psychologist Herbert Freudenberger describes burnout as a severe stress condition. It leads to extreme physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Burnout goes well beyond stress or fatigue, though. With burnout, navigating day-to-day responsibilities can be a challenge.
Burnout is often discussed in professional circles. But parents are at risk, too. Board-certified neurologist, Dr. Puja Aggarwal, defines parental burnout as “the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that one feels from the chronic stress of parenting.”
Continual exposure to stressful situations brings on this state of mental and physical exhaustion. For some parents, burnout is all too real.
All parents are at risk, though. Parenting is tough. And parenting can be stressful, especially during the early stages of child development. But what do we do?
Being aware that parental burnout is real and being mindful of the signs can help you get the help you need.
In recent years, Drs. Isabelle Roskam and Moïra Mikolajczak have extensively researched parental burnout. After surveying more than 900 burned-out parents, they developed a Parental Burnout Assessment (and anyone can use it). They’ve also studied more than 17,000 parents in 45 countries to learn more about what causes burnout.
“Burnout is the result of too much stress and the absence of resources to cope with it,” Roskam said. “You will burn out only if there is an imbalance between stress and resources.”
Here are five signs of burnout according to the Parental Burnout Assessment:
1. Constant exhaustion.
Parenting is tiring; we can all agree on that. But feeling tired or drained all the time is a whole other level. Studies show that parents may experience different types of exhaustion based on their children’s age. Parents of younger kids are often more physically tired. Parents of teens often experience emotional fatigue caused by conflicts with their children.
Frequently, burned-out parents stress over how they will get everything done.
2. Distancing yourself from your child(ren)
Burned-out parents may do this to preserve energy. Have you ever heard a parent say, “I love my children, but I can’t stand being around them anymore”?
3. Loss of fulfillment.
Parents often find they are not the parents they used to be or would like to be. They see a difference in who they are. This can lead to extreme guilt and stress.
4. Suicidal thoughts or ideas of escape.*
With job-related burnout, you can find another job. But leaving is not an option for burned-out parents. Some parents reported feeling trapped and had thoughts of escape or even suicide. These thoughts were more common among parents than in those experiencing job burnout.
5. Being violent or neglectful toward your child(ren).**
Even if a parent opposes being violent or neglectful toward their child, burnout can cause them to be.
Psychologists have also identified other signs of burnout. They include:
Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or self-doubt
Headaches, neck pain, and muscle aches
Loss of motivation
Changes in appetite or sleeping habits
Feeling isolated or alone
It’s essential to know and recognize the signs of parental burnout.
Any parent is susceptible to burnout if there’s an imbalance between the stress and their resources. Burnout is preventable, and help is available, too.
*If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, there are a number of websites and organizations with excellent resources for you. HelpGuide is a great place to start, along with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
**Contact the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) for more resources or to report abuse.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Untitled-20-01.png5001200Mitchell Quallshttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngMitchell Qualls2022-03-09 13:05:442022-03-11 14:14:3010 Signs You Have Parental Burnout