Are you facing parental burnout?

Parent Connection

December 3, 2010 

Burnout. It happens in careers, with relationships, or for some, just day-to-day living. Burnout results from becoming tired of the same old issues, problems or even the things or activities one used to enjoy. You can be the most loving, responsible and committed parent in the world, but make no mistake. You are not exempt from the occasional "crash and burn" of child-rearing.

Let me get you thinking with a simple question. When it comes to being a parent, what are you tired of? Is it dealing with the same misbehaviors from little Bradley, the obsession teenage Susie has for Facebook, or dealing with fighting over homework each evening?

Maybe it's the lack of quality family time like you had growing up. This list of questions could go on and on, but examples are only to get you thinking.

Today, I suggest you do this. Find a quiet time and place, get your laptop or notepad handy, and make a simple list.

What are you tired of when it comes to fulfilling your role as a parent? My hope is that the list is not too long.

If you find yourself on the third page of issues after working 10 minutes on this little exercise, put your list down and pick up the cell. You may need some family counseling, or at least some direction in parenting 101.

Take that list and rank items in order -- No. 1 is your biggest concern, second, third and so on. Don't list more than your top five or so (as you don't want to begin your quest to avoid parenting burnout by being completely overwhelmed by the list!).

If you are doing this little task alone, next, share it with your spouse (or even your ex if you are divorced). Though I realize it's not always easy, parents, stepparents and sometimes grandparents need to be on the same page when addressing areas of family life that need change.

Now that your teamwork is set, start with No. 1 on your list. That is the target area you are working to change.

For that No. 1 item, don't just aim in hopes of hitting at least somewhere on the target. Go for the bullseye. Nothing will lead you toward burnout more than half-heartily trying to make changes in your family -- only to fall short and be right back to dealing with the same ol' same ol'.

Once the plan to fix No. 1 is off and running well, go for No. 2.

Bryan Greeson, a nationally certified school psychologist, serves as the Director of Special Services in York School District One. E-Mail him at parentconnection@hotmail.com.

Bryan Greeson, a nationally certified school psychologist, serves as the Director of Special Services in York School District One. E-Mail him at parentconnection@hotmail.com.

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