Research Topic

When the Great Adventure of Parenting Turns to Disaster: Regrets and Burnout

About this Research Topic

In many cultures, parenthood has a largely positive connotation for (future) parents and their families, as well as for society. In many cultures, becoming a parent is expected and welcomed with great joy. Parents are expected to feel satisfied and proud, as well as to be close to their children. However, sometimes parenthood turns into disaster. It happens in cases when parental burnout or regrets about becoming a parent occur, or in a cultural context where there is a hegemonic model of motherhood.

Very recently, empirical research focusing on parental burnout and regretting parenthood has started to emerge. With regard to parental burnout, research has mainly been conducted among parents of children who have severe or chronic disease, suggesting that only those parents may be inclined to burnout. However, in a very recent study, the concept of parental burnout was validated in community-samples, suggesting that factors other than those related to a child’s disease may be responsible for parental burnout. A first attempt was then made to identify correlates of parental burnout and a cumulative effect of risk factors has been proved. As in the case of other forms of parental experience that become less positive than initially expected, regretting parenthood was recently documented in sociological literature questioning the “good mother paradigm” and the various ways women experience parenthood. Focusing on the “good mother paradigm” was also the core topic of recent research which attempts to study the hegemonic motherhood model that is conveyed in particular through social networks.

This Research Topic will give us the opportunity to gather these fields of emerging research and to boost empirical studies focusing on darker sides of parenting in psychology which has mainly been focused on “positive parenting”. Opportunities for future directions are numerous.

This Frontiers Research Topic welcomes papers that examine and critically interrogate the concepts of parental burnout and regrets. Therefore, papers based on various methodologies are encouraged, for instance reviews, intensive longitudinal studies, case studies, focus group reports, large surveys, and sociological analyses. We welcome papers that focus on the processes of parental burnout or regrets. Papers may, for instance, focus on parental identity, the imbalance of demands over resources, or the cultural specificities of parenthood including hegemonic model of motherhood, and gender roles. Finally, we welcome papers that focus on the psychological or societal consequences of parental burnout and regrets. Consequences may concern the parents themselves, but also the couple and children.


Keywords: parental burnout, hegemonic motherhood, exhaustion, depression, regretting parenthood


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In many cultures, parenthood has a largely positive connotation for (future) parents and their families, as well as for society. In many cultures, becoming a parent is expected and welcomed with great joy. Parents are expected to feel satisfied and proud, as well as to be close to their children. However, sometimes parenthood turns into disaster. It happens in cases when parental burnout or regrets about becoming a parent occur, or in a cultural context where there is a hegemonic model of motherhood.

Very recently, empirical research focusing on parental burnout and regretting parenthood has started to emerge. With regard to parental burnout, research has mainly been conducted among parents of children who have severe or chronic disease, suggesting that only those parents may be inclined to burnout. However, in a very recent study, the concept of parental burnout was validated in community-samples, suggesting that factors other than those related to a child’s disease may be responsible for parental burnout. A first attempt was then made to identify correlates of parental burnout and a cumulative effect of risk factors has been proved. As in the case of other forms of parental experience that become less positive than initially expected, regretting parenthood was recently documented in sociological literature questioning the “good mother paradigm” and the various ways women experience parenthood. Focusing on the “good mother paradigm” was also the core topic of recent research which attempts to study the hegemonic motherhood model that is conveyed in particular through social networks.

This Research Topic will give us the opportunity to gather these fields of emerging research and to boost empirical studies focusing on darker sides of parenting in psychology which has mainly been focused on “positive parenting”. Opportunities for future directions are numerous.

This Frontiers Research Topic welcomes papers that examine and critically interrogate the concepts of parental burnout and regrets. Therefore, papers based on various methodologies are encouraged, for instance reviews, intensive longitudinal studies, case studies, focus group reports, large surveys, and sociological analyses. We welcome papers that focus on the processes of parental burnout or regrets. Papers may, for instance, focus on parental identity, the imbalance of demands over resources, or the cultural specificities of parenthood including hegemonic model of motherhood, and gender roles. Finally, we welcome papers that focus on the psychological or societal consequences of parental burnout and regrets. Consequences may concern the parents themselves, but also the couple and children.


Keywords: parental burnout, hegemonic motherhood, exhaustion, depression, regretting parenthood


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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