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"Parenting on Empty: Recognizing and Overcoming Parental Burnout"

Hi guys,

Today, we will discuss parental burnout and how to deepen your awareness of the root cause. This is a critical topic, as raising a teenager can be highly complex. If you are new here, please know that I am an advocate for Teen Mental Health issues, supporting the family system, and finding ways to bridge the gap between parent and teenager. Today’s blog is going to focus more on the parent.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is an occupational phenomenon “conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Parental burnout is an extension of this chronic stress when we look at how much we are actively in parent mode. An article by the APA explores parental burnout and how to manage the symptoms. 

 My first tip for avoiding parental burnout is to know your parenting style. If you need to learn what a parenting style is, take some time to read this old blog post about it here. Understanding your parenting style will allow you to know how you are parenting your teenager. This information gives you the baseline to understand where your burnout could come from.

My second tip for avoiding parental burnout is to understand how you were parented. One concept of parenting that I think gets overlooked is self-reflection on how your parents raised you, what your environment looked like, and the subconscious or conscious vow that you might have made to yourself that is now manifesting and how you are parenting your child. Again, this is about understanding the baseline of your parenting personality while knowing what informs it.

 My third tip is to list your idea of a good parent; what is your parent’s or adult-like figures’ idea of a good parent, and finally, what might be your teenager’s idea of being a good parent? The reason why I am suggesting you make this list is because frequently, we are aiming to achieve something that isn’t personal to us, or we are seeking to achieve something that does not fit our lives, or we are striving to do something that does not work out well for our teenager. Once you’re done with this list, I want you to cross out what you realize does not mean much to you or the relationship with your teenager. Continue to cross things out until you reach the end of your list. In this exercise, we seek to see what you value so that you are not over-functioning in an area that does not hold weight for your family. 

List Template

My ideas of a good parent

others ideas of a good parent

my teen’s idea of a good parent

This is all I want you to do as the first step in preventing parental burnout. This exercise will be a good starting point for you to recognize what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. My bonus tip here would be once you understand these three tips, observe yourself and your family for a week and pinpoint areas where you can pivot how you engage with yourself or your family, reorganize how you structure your life, or increase the fun factor. We will talk more about this in a different blog.  

With Love from your favorite therapist,




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