New Study Says that Intense Parenting Leads to Depression

Monday July 9, 2012

By Amy Morin

The Journal of Child and Family Studies recently published a study titled Insight into the Parenthood Paradox: Mental Health Outcomes of Intensive Mothering reports that intense parenting leads to depression. The study states that mothers in particular are at a higher risk for anxiety and depression.

The study found that the more energy mothers put into parenting, often the worse off their mental health. Mothers often put a lot of pressure on themselves to do everything for their kids all the time experience more bouts of depression than the average population.

It's no wonder that many of these mothers develop mental health issues. Many moms give up themselves to raise their children. They devote every waking hour to scheduling their kids activities, constantly trying to meet all of their kid's needs, and ensuring their kids are stimulated during all waking hours. As a result, mothers have less time, if any at all, to care for themselves.

Since when did free time become bad for children? Certainly children are better off having some free time versus a depressed parent. Depression can certainly rub off onto children and impact their mental health as well.

And teaching children that they don't always get what they want, that they may feel bored at times, and that they may not be able to have fun all the time is part of good parenting.

It's important for parents to remember that their job is to raise healthy kids who will be responsible adults. This means disciplining kids and helping them learn how to make good choices. Provide them with positive and negative consequences for their choices and model how to take care of yourself.

You don't have to be your child's friend or be well-liked. Although it's important to give your kids healthy doses of positive attention, you certainly don't have to provide constant entertainment for your children. In fact, it can be much healthier to teach kids how to deal with boredom, play by themselves, and tolerate some quiet time on their own.

So parents, cut yourself some lack. Model healthy behaviors to your children. This means taking care of yourself. It also means your kids will see you as human, rather than a superhero, which can be a great life lesson.

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