Dr. Erin Hunter Discusses ‘Resource Budgeting’

Media Coverage, News, UCCF

Social media can be a deceiving place. Everything looks perfect, from the lighting, to the props to the background. The captions are witty and attention-grabbing, and there are positive comments galore. This applies not only to topics such as fashion or food, but parenting as well. 

More than ever, parents are feeling the pressure to be perfect, and raise their kids the ‘right’ way. However, this can cause stress and create unrealistic expectations. In an interview with Metro Parent magazine, Dr. Erin Hunter, director of the University Center for the Child and Family (UCCF) and the University of Michigan Psychology Clinic, shared tips for parents on resource budgeting: allocating one’s time and energy.

Protect Your Parenting Resources

“Even if you feel strong that you’ve somehow identified the perfect version of yourself, being that person all the time is impossible. 

Posters plastered around elementary schools and offices prompt readers to try their best, but “our best is actually a very, very small portion of our day,” says Erin Hunter, clinical child psychologist and director of the University Center for the Child and Family at the University of Michigan. “We can’t be our best all the time, because being our best requires a whole lot of resources and environmental factors” 

Hunter explains how the concept of resource budgeting — that this energy is finite and it must be allocated in particular ways — means that parents can’t always function at their highest level.

“If we’re trying to be perfect, we’re going to burn through our resources really quickly. If you run out of resources, you’re more likely to blow up or respond to your kid in a way you don’t want to,” she explains. Once that happens, you’ve now multiplied the challenge. You now need to clean up the spilled milk and apologize for snapping.

Efforts to reach perfection take so much energy, you’ll have little left to manage the more important aspects of parenting — and you’ll miss the chance to teach your kid about recognizing their own limitations.”


Click here to read the full interview.

Dr. Hunter is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in a variety of evidence-based psychotherapies for children, adolescents, and families, including parent management training, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and acceptance and mindfulness treatments. She received a Ph.D. in Clinical Child Psychology from the University of Washington, completed an internship at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and came to Michigan for a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical child psychology at UCCF. She became director of UCCF in 2021.