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Study Finds Almost All Parents Say It’s Harder Than Ever to Raise a Kid

New challenges like social media and school safety are only adding to parents' anxieties.

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Almost 90 percent of parents think that raising kids today is harder than it was for previous generations. And while one big reason is the presence of social media, other key concerns are also stoking parental anxieties: namely, the challenges that come from having two working parents, school safety issues, and the increased prevalence of emotional, behavioral, and mental health problems in kids. Together, the factors contribute to what the study  is calling ‘Parental Burnout.’

Parental Burnout is exactly what it sounds like. It’s when so much is happening between work, marriage, and raising kids that parents start to feel their performance suffer in all three areas. According to a survey ⏤ which was conducted by BPI Network and included interviews with 2,000 participants ⏤ most parents admit to suffering from some degree of burnout. Fourteen percent said they experience it frequently while 34 percent admitted to experiencing it sometimes. Only 21 percent noted that they were doing just fine, thanks.

Exactly 40 percent of respondents said that their burnout had a significant (26 percent), very significant (10 percent), or profound (4 percent) effect on their lives. Of those, 33 percent noted experiencing extreme frustration when completing parenting tasks while 29 percent said that they aren’t parenting the way they’d like to. Almost a quarter of those surveyed cited constant exhaustion as a daily problem.

According to the survey, the top causes of burnout included a lack of cooperation from children or teens (33 percent), pressure and exhaustion from work and home (29 percent), and financial pressures (29 percent). Many parents also noted specific obstacles that stand in between them and what the survey calls “healthy parenting,” including social media distractions (29 percent), both parents working (27 percent), and “emotional and behavioral dysfunction.” In fact, all three obstacles are so new that many respondents don’t know how to seek counsel about them from their own parents, who rarely had to deal with such issues when raising kids even 30 years ago. 

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Despite the challenges, the survey did outline what parents are doing to combat the effects of burnout. Thirty-four percent say that they take time for themselves, 33 percent try to change up their parenting style, and 26 percent increase exercise and physical activity to manage the stress of parenting.