Recent Study Finds That Having More Than 1 Child Could Negatively Impact Parents’ Mental Health

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Do you have kids? Then you know what stress is. From the moment we find out we’re going to be parents, we start worrying, planning and learning on the job.

Each child is different and what works for one child doesn’t always work for another child. For example, your first child might fall asleep easily and sleep through the night every night. Then, you have a second child who wakes up constantly and needs a lot of attention. Keep adding children to the mix, and the stress increases.

Sound familiar? A couple recent studies found that, no surprise, parents of multiple children are negatively impacted by the role of parenting.

One study that was published in April in the journal Demography found that “having three or more versus two children has a negative effect on late-life cognition” for parents. This was especially common in Northern European countries. Some of the reasons for the negative impacts of having multiple children include the added financial burden brought on by a larger family and “parental burnout.”

Another study from the university UCLouvain in Belgium found that parents are indeed experiencing burnout, and that was true even before the Covid-19 pandemic. The study, which included participants from 42 countries, was conducted from January 2018 through March 2020. During the survey, parents had to answer questions like how many children they have and then rate statements on a scale from “never” to “every day.” These statements included things like “I feel completely run down by my role as a parent.” Obviously answering “every day” to a statement like that would indicate burnout.

Watch the video below to learn more about this study and to find out which countries scored the highest when it came to parental burnout.

If you are experiencing parental burnout, there are some strategies you can try that may help. First of all, acknowledge that you’re stressed out. Find someone you can talk to about why you’re feeling stressed out and try to make small changes that will make life a little bit less stressful. It can also help to give yourself a break once in awhile, even if it’s only for a few minutes, and try to let go of expectations. Not everything has to be perfect all the time. Instead of focusing on things you find stressful, try to focus on the things you’re grateful for.

How many children do you have? Do you think you’re suffering from “parental burnout”?