One in 10 Kiwi parents experienced 'high level' burnout during lockdown

NZ 19/11/2020

Did you feel you struggled during this year's lockdown levels?

You wouldn't have been the only one, as a new study reveals that one in 10 parents to experienced high levels of burnout.

Dr Cara Swit from the University of Canterbury found 10.5 percent of parents surveyed experienced severe parental burnout, which she says is defined as a combination of chronic stress, exhaustion, feeling like their parenting isn't as good as it was, loss of pleasure or fulfilment in parenting, and emotional distancing from children.

"Any levels of parental burnout are concerning, so we need to understand the influences behind these figures and what can be done to support parents who are struggling," Dr Swit said.

However, some parents found lockdown a positive experience in parenting, giving them more quality time with their kids.

For some parents, lockdown was a positive experience that gave them more quality time with their children. Forced restrictions allowed time for family, creativity, and exercise and some parents valued this time.

The study said 83.7 percent of those surveyed found COVID-19 had a positive impact on their parenting, compared with 26.8 percent of parents who said it had a negative impact.

Parents who were already struggling were more likely already faces challenges before lockdown.

Dr Swit believes this research will encourage parents to learn strategies that could protect themselves from burnout, as well as address potential stressors before a 'major event' hits.

"In fact, parents' emotional regulation and children's independence can be preventive factors of parents experiencing burnout, not just in a pandemic but at any time."

The findings from UoC's research will be part of a global study of parents during the pandemic.