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December 04, 2021 Saturday 10:54:56 AM IST

Parenting Anxiety During the Pandemic

When you hear a rather loud cough or sneeze from your child, you may clutch your fist with anxiety. One small cough can portend another round of COVID testing, and days, possibly weeks, spent at home helping the child recover from whatever virus it turns out to be. Parents said their additional child care and virtual schooling responsibilities during the pandemic hurt their ability to get ahead at work. And although lockdowns are mostly a thing of the past, schools and daycare centers have much more stringent rules than pre-pandemic times; many do not allow children to attend if they are displaying any symptom of illness.

A study conducted in the Family Stress Clinic and director of behavioral science in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Virginia expressed that working parents have been so overtaxed with work, child care/home-schooling and a lack of social support these past two years that they have been sacrificing their own self-care. These stressors can lead to parental burnout – overwhelming exhaustion related to one’s parental role, an emotional distancing from one’s children, and a sense of parental ineffectiveness. Research published last month by the U.K. children’s charity Action for Children found that more than 80% of parents there are struggling with at least one symptom of burnout due to the COVID-19 pandemic.