Parents in the US are at a breaking point. Parents around the world are wondering why._freckle removal surgery

Heidi Borst·4 min read
A mother with four children sits on a sofa with her kids.
Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images
  • Parents in the US are at a breaking point, with school closures and lack of reliable child care.

  • In Italy, parents often have support from family members.

  • In Latin America, many parents value socialization and are encouraged to meet with friends.

Navigating a worldwide pandemic has been stressful for parents across the globe, but parents in the United States are operating in perpetual crisis mode. With schools closures, a childcare crisis with many daycares closing for good, and a lack of reliable childcare, parents are having to do it all.

In fact, according to a 2021 survey of parents in 42 countries, parental burnout ranked highest among Americans. We talked to some parents in several countries outside the US who say they're coping well to figure out why.

Italian parents often have strong support systems

The Italian government requires everyone to mask up and vaccination is required to attend work or university, said Candice Criscione, an expat who lives with her family just outside of Florence. While the US only has 63% of the population fully vaccinated against COVID, Italy is at over 76%.

Many Italians also have an excellent support system when it comes to raising children, she said. "Here, you see grandparents picking up children after school and families trade-off with child care. If you need help, you won't have trouble finding it," Criscione said.

Even when parents feel depleted from juggling jobs and child-rearing, "there is a general consensus that sacrifices have to be made, and there's trust in what scientists and authorities are communicating," said Katherine Wilson, who lives in Rome.

"In the US, there is always pressure to do everything and at 110%," said Criscione. That includes being amazing parents, teachers, partners, employees, and friends. "Parents here are doing the best they can, but recognize that they can't be perfect at every role, every day," she said.


top 10