One of the most important things that you can do regarding parental burnout is patient education and being aware of it is a good first step toward prevention. As a physician, one of your responsibilities is educating parents on how they can prevent burnout from happening in their own life.
As a physician, you can often identify the symptoms of parental burnout before it occurs. For example, when you hear parents say that they have zero energy when they are with their children or that they are on autopilot with them, Understanding what parental burnout is, can help you, as a physician, to understand your patients and also give them a chance to open up about their feelings.
One of the most important things you can do to play a key role in dealing with parental burnout as a physician, is to be aware of the existence of parental burnout, its prevalence, and its serious consequences for the patient and his/her children. Professional training on parental burnout is one way to help you understand parental burnout, diagnose it, prevent it with a specific plan, and properly refer your patients for psychological treatment when necessary.
It is essential that the patient feels listened to without feeling judged. The parent should not be left alone with the feelings of shame and guilt that are usually associated with parental burnout. The support the patient may need can be informal or formal. Perhaps a friend can provide support and be willing to talk with the distressed parent. For other parents, finding a support group may be a way to diffuse parental burnout before it happens. Still other parents need to be told that there are professionals who can help them, so they are more likely to turn to them. As a physician, you can help them find the support they really need.
By being more aware of the situations that can cause parental burnout, you can be better prepared to identify it and help your patients who are beginning to show signs of this condition. A listening approach, appropriate support, prevention plan, and professional intervention can prevent this condition or prevent it from worsening. The earlier you act, the more effective your work will be. Don’t let your patients suffer in their parenting role, as their health and that of their children are at risk.