Born and raised in Seychelles, Enda migrated to Western Australia 20 years ago and has been an educator for over 25 years. Enda is married with a teenage son, and her passion is connecting with the community and family she works with; she is also an Internationally Certified Parental Burnout Practitioner and a Holistic Life Coach.
Where it all started
I started my journey in Education in Seychelles as an English teacher in 1996 after completing my first degree in Australia. I wanted to pursue my Master’s Degree; unfortunately, I didn’t get a sponsor in Seychelles, so I took charge of my destiny. I migrated to Western Australia to work and fund my studies. I went on to do my Masters in Education, specialising in Learning Difficulties and Teaching English as a second language in Secondary Education. Soon after, I was promoted to Senior Teacher status, and for the last seven years, I’ve been working as a Deputy Principal of an Intensive English Centre in Western Australia.
The burning desire to do more
As part of my job, I am responsible for the students’ Health and wellbeing, what we call Pastoral Care—the part of my job I love the most. Connecting with the parents and supporting and uplifting them to form a strong and nurturing relationship with their children is vital for me. So I get to meet and work closely with their parents or caregivers. I also work collaboratively with the communities and Key external agencies like Red Cross Australia, Children and Adolescents mental Health Services, Association for Services To Torture and Trauma and Migrant Metropolitan Centre.
I have been a High School educator for 25 years, and one thing I can say is that Adolescents flourish when their parents are thriving. Adolescents need calm parents to help them regulate their emotions and work through life challenges together. When parents are mentally and physically exhausted, their tolerance levels are low, and they become just as frustrated and reactive as their adolescents. As a result, parents feel irritable, hopeless, empty and lost. This is where the power struggle starts.
On a life mission
I’ve witnessed and worked with many parents who are at their wits’ end in my current job. Most of the time, the saddest thing is that the parents are too scared to open up or admit that they need help. This is because we live in a society where parenting is idealised, so if you are not doing what society expects or what we refer to as “the norm” for parents or caregivers, you get judged or labelled as “bad or irresponsible”. This is where my interest in Parental Burnout began. I knew that it was time for us to shift the paradigm and start focusing on the parents suffering in silence and too scared to say they ” need help, or ” they need a break”. Children need their parents to be physically and mentally stable to flourish and be their best.
So my mission as a Parental Burnout Practitioner and life coach is to uplift, support and empower parents of adolescents across the globe to reclaim their lives. I want to help them live beyond stifling social expectations, step out of the box that idealises parenting, connect with their authentic being, which in return will allow them to build nurturing, strong bonds with their adolescents.
Parental Burnout is still a taboo subject in most cultures; however, since the start of the pandemic, we have heard a lot about Burnout. Burnout victims need help — us talking or writing about it is one thing but taking action is another. The problem is not enough is being done to support parents experiencing Burnout. There is a lack of education on this matter. Parents are often told, “it will pass; it is just a phase”, “No one said it will be easy”. Though it’s coming from a loving and supportive place, comments like this forced parents to alienate themselves and bottle up their emotions. Who gets affected? The children, the family and also productivity in the workplace. Change in family structure is a significant contribution to parental Burnout; in a nuclear family, parents feel less supported, and they lack resources. On the other hand, in an extended family household, the adults can share their worries, stresses and responsibilities with other family members like their parents, who genuinely care for their wellbeing.
A Burnout survivor
As a burnout survivor myself, I know it takes a lot to reach out and seek help and admit that you’re struggling. I was fortunate enough to have a group of amazing and supportive professionals who worked with me. So, I know what Burnout feels and what it can do to you mentally and physically if you don’t do anything about it. This is the reason behind my inspiration and devotion to bring awareness to ” Parental Burnout”. I was trained and coached by two world-leading researchers in Parental Burnout, professor Moira Mikolajczak and professor Isabelle Roskam from the Parental Burnout Training Institute in Belgium. I am now well equipped, and I use research-proven strategies and tools to support the parents I get to work with. I am convinced that if we start to shed light on this topic, it will reduce a lot of the social issues in our society.
Most importantly, parents experiencing Burnout will feel supported knowing that there are people who understand what they’re going through, who won’t judge them instead hold their hand while they navigate this rough season. At this stage, I would like to point out that the term ” Parental Burnout” should only be used in the context where parents want to do their job as parents or caregivers but can no longer do so. Additionally, Parental Burnout does not apply to caregivers who have never tried to give the best of themselves to their children.
How Burnout manifest
Parental Burnout is prolonged overwhelming physical and mental exhaustion related to the parental role. When parents suffer Burnout, they distance themselves from their children in an attempt to restore themselves, resulting in them damaging the relationships around them and causing yet more parenting struggles. It truly is a vicious cycle – but it can be broken. Worse, Burnout can lead to depression, chronic anxiety, and illness. This can be even more difficult for parents of teenagers who face unique challenges during this period, leading many to feel frustrated, weary and worn out constantly.
Symptons of Burnout
- Prolonged physical and mental exhaustion-Just the thought of waking up and caring for the children leads to emotional or physical exhaustion.
- Emotional Distance from their children-No longer spends quality time with their children. Do only what is necessary
- Loss of pleasure-no longer enjoy being with their children
- Self-comparison (The old self with the new self)-Constantly comparing the parents they used to be with the parents they’ve become
- Sleep disorder
- inability to control emotions
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Quickness to anger
- Forgetting or avoiding important appointments
- Chronic physical health problems,
- increased alcohol consumption,
- suicidal thoughts,
- marital conflicts,
- child abuse and neglect.
As a Parental BURNOUT PRACTITIONER
Having been working closely with the students and their parents or caregivers for more than 25 years, I officially launched my Coaching and Consultancy business this year, but I’ve been coaching since last year. As a Parental Burnout Practitioner and coach, I support parents and caregivers to
- Prevent or Recover from Parental Burnout
- Grow their identity as a person, both inside and outside parenthood
- Show up authentically when parenting their adolescents
- Establish solid, meaningful and nurturing relationships
- Practice healthy emotional boundaries
- Disempower their inner critics
- Build a positive mindset and increase energy levels
As a parental Burnout Practitioner, I always do a Parental Burnout Assessment (Roskam et al., and Mikolajczak et al., 2018) with my clients. Not all assessments result in the client working with me; it all depends where they fall on the burnout spectrum. Sometimes, parents will be best to see a clinical psychologist, especially if they exhibit severe burnout symptoms like suicidal thoughts, addiction, chronic physical health problems, and mental health issues. I am not a medical practitioner, So I work within the parameter of the Parental Burnout Assessment results and the International Coaching Federation guidelines. Suppose a parent presents severe symptoms or is in the late and critical stage of Burnout. In that case, I will encourage them to book an appointment with a GP who can better assist them and refer them to a clinical psychologist.
One of the most significant things Covid-19 has taught us is that everyone can work remotely and that we can still create an impact and serve each other. I conduct all my coaching sessions with my clients via Zoom or Google Meet, and if I need to Collaborate with someone else on a project, this medium works really well. I am currently coaching parents in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and Seychelles.
I would be honoured to offer my services to the Seychelles government or private sectors and NGOs working with parents and young adults. My mission is to provide my expertise and experience, either through training workshops, facilitating or collaborating on projects. I also would love to keep coaching parents and caregivers and work with them to thrive and be the best version of themselves.
It’s high time we bring awareness to this problem, especially in Seychelles; being a small country where everyone knows everyone’s business, parental Burnout is definitely a taboo subject. Many parents are suffering in silence, fear of being judged, fear of standing out or being labelled as weak and inefficient, fear that their kids will be victims of bullying if they come out. All the government agencies or private agencies working with parents and children should be aware and up to date with the issues of Parental Burnout. They should be well equipped with the knowledge, strategies and tools to support the parents to overcome or prevent Burnout. We need to start an awareness campaign. My mantra is, “One parent at a time, and we will change the lives of many children! ”
For more information on Enda’s services, visit www.endagilbert.com. You can also follow her on Instagram at @endagilbert_ or her Facebook page, where she communicates with parents and offer advice and support. If you want more information or want to reach out to her privately, you can send her an email at email@example.com