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Parental Burnout: A Rising Issue

Parental burnout is a concern that has gained increasingly more attention especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements for children and adolescents to receive education from home in an online setting.

Parental burnout is characterized by three symptom domains: exhaustion, emotional disinterest, and poor self-efficacy in the parenting role (Kawamoto et al., 2018; Mikolajczak et al., 2019). Parental burnout results from exposure to chronic levels of parenting stress and situations in which parenting demands outweigh available parenting resources. Extreme levels of parental exhaustion lead to parents experiencing a need to isolate themselves from their children and ultimately feeling ineffective in their role. Severe long-lasting consequences have been identified for children and parents such as depression, anxiety, parental addiction and sleep disturbance, child development issues, medical problems, relationship conflict, parental escape ideation, child neglect, and parental violence (Mikolajczak et al., 2019). Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have also been associated with parental burnout (Crouch, Radcliff, Brown, & Hung, 2019). Quarantines and new educational transitions for children and adolescents have increased the prevalence of mental health issues such as panic disorder, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance and behavioral addiction, domestic and child abuse, self-harm, suicide, and other psychosocial stressors such as loss of job, social isolation, homelessness, and relationship strain as well as increase vulnerability to parental burnout (Holmes et al., 2020).

If you’re experiencing parental burnout, try to find ways to minimize parental demands and maximize parenting resources. Find a support group! Call a friend! See a counselor!

If you would like more detailed information on parental burnout or know you need to see a counselor, please contact me at britneyallencounseling@gmail.com.


Crouch, E., Radcliff, E., Brown, M., & Hung, P. (2019). Exploring the association between parenting stress and a child’s exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Children and Youth Services Review, 102, 186-192. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.05.019

Holmes, E. A., O’Connor, R., Perry, V. H., Tracey, I., Wessely, S., Arseneault, L., … & Bullmore, E. (2020). Multidisciplinary research priorities for the COVID-19 pandemic: A call for action for mental health science. The Lancet Psychiatry, 7, 547-560. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30168-1

Kawamoto, T., Furutani, K., & Alimardani, M. (2018). Preliminary validation of Japanese version of the parental burnout inventory and its relationship with perfectionism. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1-10. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00970

Mikolajczak, M., Gross, J. J., & Roskam, I. (2019). Parental burnout: What is it, and why does it matter? Association for Psychological Science, 1-11. doi:10.1177/2167702619858430