How do you know if you've entered parental burnout? Ana Maria Zamfir: "The first step is idealization, meaning we expect a lot from our child!"

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How do you know if you've entered parental burnout? Ana Maria Zamfir: "The first step is idealization, meaning we expect a lot from our child!" / PHOTO: freepik.com @EyeEm
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How do you know if you've entered parental burnout? Ana Maria Zamfir: "The first step is idealization, meaning we expect a lot from our child!" / PHOTO: freepik.com @EyeEm

Psychologist Ana Maria Zamfir pointed out on Părinți Prezenți, a show moderated by the editor-in-chief of ParintisiPitici.ro, Loredana Iriciuc, the symptoms of parental burnout.



During the show, Ana Maria Zamfir identified several common symptoms of parental burnout.

"The first step is idealization that we do not achieve", the psychologist explained. "Meaning, we set extremely high goals. We expect a lot from our children! We want them to be first, we want them to play the piano, we want them to excel in sports, we want them to participate in various competitions, and we push them a lot in that direction. This is where we need to be cautious!"

Ana Maria Zamfir emphasizes the importance of communication with the child and considering their desires.

"We need to check with the child what they want as well. After all, we're not molding them out of clay. Education does involve quite a bit of molding, but they are individuals and if they don't want it, if they lack motivation, if they're not drawn in that direction, we can suggest but we should let them form their own opinion."

When the pressure becomes excessive, this should be a warning signal for parents. "But when we push too hard, that should be a sign! We should take a step back and look at the situation as objectively as we can and see what the path forward is, what needs to be done in that situation."

What is parental burnout, this real disorder for 21st-century parents? Psychologist Ana Maria Zamfir explains: "It occurs in those who want to give very, very much"

Ana Maria Zamfir: "We feel that pressure as if something disastrous would happen"

The idealization and pressure felt by parents are often linked to the desire to maximize their child's potential for future success. "It's as if we feel obligated to squeeze out any potential our child might have, to capitalize on it, so that they have a chance at extraordinary success in the future. This is idealization. They must be successful. They must have an extraordinary profession, they must be in an office, and they must be intellectual. As if this doesn't happen, we'll starve or something."

Another important aspect highlighted by Ana Maria Zamfir is assessing the seriousness of the situation. "Secondly, we feel that pressure as if something disastrous would happen. 'If the performance doesn't happen, it's a disaster.' We should analyze this a bit. Is it really like that? Is my worry that big and the situation perhaps not that serious?"


Other symptoms of parental burnout include

"We begin to have a duality regarding the child. We feel ashamed to admit it, but we kind of want to distance ourselves. We start not to enjoy doing parental things.

But we still do them because we have to, it's in the job description: I am a parent, I must provide for my child, I must care for them, I must play with them, I must buy things for them, I must take care of them, cook for them, etc. And usually, we start to block around the first ones.

I mean, I take care of them, make sure they have washed, eaten, slept, taken them to the doctor if they are sick, after which I might not have energy for the next ones", the expert further explained.

Ana Maria Zamfir emphasized that in this context, parents focus on the child's basic needs - hygiene, nutrition, sleep, and health - but lack energy for activities that require a deep emotional connection.

"This starts to be a sign that it's like I'm no longer enjoying it like I can't connect anymore. 'I don't want to play with them, I don't feel like playing with them, I have no joy.'

Lack of pleasure and a tendency to avoid.

And here comes another factor we face. Many children learn this method of having fun and spending time on screens. It's incredibly convenient. And when the parent is very, very tired, with a young child, with an older child, they withdraw a little. But practically, this means that we no longer relate, we don't see each other anymore, we don't hear each other anymore."

Ana Maria Zamfir: "You can see a state of exhaustion among children, parents, and teachers! There is a lot of pressure and an extremely demanding system!"


Ana Maria Zamfir: "The problem arises when the parent no longer finds pleasure in it, but can't acknowledge that"

Ana Maria Zamfir says it's natural for parents to need personal time and to allow children to have fun on their own, including on electronic devices.

"Sure, it's natural and it should be that way. Everyone needs their time. After all, the child doesn't need to be glued to a parent. They can go play, and yes, they can certainly play on the phone or watch a cartoon or a movie. There's no problem, and the parent also has the right to rest and enjoy themselves."

The real issue arises when the parent no longer finds pleasure in interacting with the child but feels guilty about it.

"The problem arises when the parent no longer finds pleasure in it, but can't acknowledge that. They can't because they judge themselves for thinking that way.

It's unacceptable to imagine such a thing. It puts you in a terrible conflict because you love your child so much and, at the same time, there's a tendency after reaching a point of exhaustion to disengage from the relationship.

You have this desire and you don't completely run away. You partially flee, meaning you stay there to do tasks, you stay on the job description, but you can no longer see the more subtle needs", Ana Maria Zamfir added.

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Autorul articolului: Loredana Iriciuc | Categorie: English





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