Is Being a Parent Stressful? (Part I)

Stress, depression, burnout… All words we find in articles dealing with parenthood. The subject attracts a lot of comments on social media.

From the outside, we can ask if things are truly going that badly on “Planet Parents.” Certainly not, but things could be going better.

By Julie Fortier, Editorial Manager, Naître et Grandir magazine

A Stopwatch Race…

Is it the lack of time that causes parents the most stress? Stress factors vary from one person to another, but it’s the impression of not being in control of time – more than a lack of time per se – that is stressful. The statistics show that a lot of parents experience the feeling of not having enough time.

According to a recent report by the Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ), 20% of parents say they feel “strong pressure linked to a lack of time.” And 46% of parents of children aged 0 to 2 identify taking time for oneself as one of the three most difficult situations they face. This, says a study involving 1,126 mothers and 160 fathers conducted by the Réseau des Centres de ressources périnatales du Québec (the Quebec Perinatal Resource Centres Network).

Moreover, 62% of parents consider reconciling work and family as a big source of stress. This, according to a recent poll conducted for the Observatoire des tout-petits. According to numbers that the ISQ published in 2016, 37% of parents admit being tired when supper hour arrives, and 55% say they lack free time.

Too Much Pressure?

The commitment of today’s parents to their family life can increase their stress levels. No surprise that the phrase “parental burnout” has made an appearance over the last few years. It’s not yet an official disorder, but it’s being seriously studied by Belgian researchers.

Several parallels can be made with professional burnout, says psychologist Nicolas Chevrier. As he explains it, the demands made on parents, especially if they don’t have the necessary resources (time, money, stable mood) can cause stress. And when stress becomes chronic, it can lead to exhaustion.

First seen in: Reflet de Société, Vol. 27, no. 1, printemps (spring) 2019, pages 20-21   

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