Parental burnout covid: what it is and how to prevent it

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Ilaria, since her son Teo was ill in the first wave of Covid for the immune system, has decided to withdraw it and to proceed with home schooling. This is how their family has closed in on themselves for more than a year so as not to run into the virus and they don't see anyone. Her husband works closed in the bedroom, she has stopped working to follow her son. There are many families who have thus found themselves facing parental burnout, a syndrome of exhaustion. Because of this, some parents may be inclined to feel a kind of detachment from their children and to feel insecure about their parenting skills.

In this article

  • What is parental burnout covid
  • The consequences of parental burnout
  • Self-care
Read also: Parental Burnout, 8 useful tips to prevent it

What is parental burnout covid

While there is good news between vaccines and an end to the lockdown, we still have a long way to go before normal life resumes. And for many, life under a pandemic has already cost a lot. Psychologists report an increase in "pandemic fatigue" and parental burnout as many people find the current stage of restraints more difficult, with more people feeling exhausted, stressed and unable to cope with all of this in the family.

According to Dr. Federico Della Rocca (Clinical Psychology, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Psychoncology, Marco Polo Nursing Home Psychotherapist) the English term Burnout refers to the concept of "exhaustion" and describes the process of consuming oneself, of exhaustion. A subject, subjected to a burden of excessive commitment and responsibility, undergoes an increasingly marked reduction of their psychic resources, which gradually leads to a form of exhaustion that leads to stress and depression.

Professional burnout

There are 3 fundamental elements:

  • An overwhelming sense of exhaustion and exhaustion
  • The tendency to depersonalize the recipients of one's work
  • A sense of marked ineffectiveness in one's work combined with the feeling of inability to achieve the set goals.

Parental burnout

The development of Parental Burnout syndrome seems to have a mirror pattern with respect to professional burnout. In fact the three fundamental elements are:

  •  a feeling of lack of energy enough to carry out daily tasks
  • emotional detachment towards children, which occurs with an automatic defense mechanism: the system, having no more resources, disconnects the plug from reality in the way it can, reducing the empathic capacity, the ability to be there, to spend quality time with the children
  • the development of a feeling of not being a good parent

The consequences of parental burnout

Numerous researches have shown that covid parental burnout can lead to depression. In the clinical setting, the tendency to fall into states of addiction to substances and the deterioration of general health conditions was also observed, continues the research of Dr. Federico Della Rocca. The emotional detachment and disengagement towards children evident in parents with Burnout can lead to a reduction in parental responsiveness, with a marked impoverishment of the parent-child relationship that can result in the tendency to become rigid parents, absent if not blatantly abusive. The risk is that the children of parents with covid parental burnout may develop an insecure attachment, with highly negative psychological consequences for their development. Parental burnout covid also represents a threat to the stability of the parental couple, as the burnout of one parent inevitably affects the other as well.


Self-care is different for every person, says Kirsty Lilley, a mental health specialist at the CABA charity, but it could involve time for oneself during the day, exercising at lunchtime, saying "no" plus often and make sure the workload is manageable. Basically, self-care is also about protecting ourselves and defining boundaries. "As the world faces the uncertain and the unknown, it's important to have something predictable and routine for yourself," says British psychotherapist Yuko Nippoda. "Simple things like listening to the radio, reading a book or watering the plants are enough. . You just need to feel in control to empower yourself. "

Article sources: USI International Health Union, Caba and change-growth

  • stress
  • parental burnout
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