“The moment I realized I was at my end and couldn’t take it anymore was when my daughter asked me to tie her shoelaces. It’s a detail that should never have been done. get mad, but I exploded. I yelled at him for nothing. It clicked. I thought I couldn’t do to my daughters, to myself… I went to the doctor to ask for help”, confides a 33-year-old mother to the magazine “Nous, les Européens” (replay). This help is fully recognized by the health system in Germany. The cures to treat parental burn-out are validated and almost reimbursed by Social Security. Participants pay only ten euros per day for food and accommodation.
If doctors spoke of overwork or depression a few years ago, the term parental burnout is now used without hesitation. “I don’t think it’s taboo to talk about parental burnout. Women talk about it willingly, explains psychologist Carola Casaretto, who works at the Elly Heuss-Knapp clinic in Plön, in the north of the Federal Republic of Germany. The problem is elsewhere: we do not listen to them. Many young women today are confused because expectations weigh on them from all sides: the employer, friends, husband, family… everyone wants something from them. And they carry the desire to do everything perfectly. It can only lead to exhaustion… “
100 000 mothers and 6 000 fathers benefit from these stays
The therapist at this specialized establishment in the Land of Schleswig-Holstein, the most northerly in the country, which welcomes moms and dads overwhelmed by the situation in their daily lives, explains: “We put a lot of emphasis on women talking to each other and realizing that they are not alone.” These mother-child cures were created in 1950 by Elly Heuss-Knapp, wife of the first post-war president, who was also a woman committed to women’s rights. Each year, 100,000 mothers and 6,000 fathers benefit from these cures. In Plön, children are taken care of during their parents’ stay: there is a crèche and even a school open from 8 to 16 hours.
Creative workshops also help strengthen the relationship between parents and children. “When the children are happy, the mother is happy”, says an animator of the painting workshop. The pediatrician at the center observes in her office the concrete consequences of this parental burnout on children: “You see headaches and stomach aches, depression … says Kathrin Brendel-Müller. And when parents are overworked, it naturally affects the children.” And all specialists are now seeing that these symptoms have increased since the start of the pandemic linked to the Covid-19 coronavirus …
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