Psychology of Burnout: the Parent-Child Connection

Cute Baby Boy Isolated on White

Burnout: who hasn’t been there at some time? You’re tired, feel like your current work isn’t meaningful, or you feel inadequate to meet the demands of work, life, or even what used to be your passion. NOT a fun feeling.

It’s also not a feeling exclusive to adults. In kids, the experience is known as “school burnout.” 

And—bad news here—if you’re feeling burned out, your kids are more likely to get burned out, too.

Recent research from the Academy of Finland found a clear connection between kids who experience school burnout and parents experiencing burnout at work, especially when the “burned out” parent is the same gender as the child. It seems that we, as parents, serve as role models for our kids in our experience of stress as well as other, more desirable ways.

I think about this a lot, because as a writer/mother/household manager/tutor/whatever-else-pays-the-bills-er, it’s easy for me to take on too much. It’s easy for me to get to that place of burnout, and I know I’m not the only writer in this situation. Writing is a tough calling. Wonderful is so many ways—but still tough.

This research reminds me that when I take care of myself, when I avoid burnout, I’m setting an example for my kids and helping them learn to take care of themselves, too. Here are a few resources on the how’s, what’s, and how-to’s of dealing with burnout:

How do you avoid burnout? In my house, the recipe seems to be a nice mix of exercise, healthy eating, hard work, and regular down time. I’d love to hear yours!

:) Cheryl

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