This page of the website primarily focuses on the potential upside of the COVID-19 virus as it impacts on families throughout the world. There are exceptional opportunities to re-engage members of the family given that they are spending more time together. Before moving to this positive focus, we must also note, as psychologists, that the confinement of family members in a small space and the increase stress and anxiety experienced by all family members can lead to increased domestic violence. Quite sadly, this predicted escalation has occurred in many countries. We must first offer a resource that provides important information regarding domestic violence–it is a link to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (in the Unites States). We link to a webpage that deals directly with the impact of COVID-19 on domestic violence:
Now on to the more positive side of the pandemic. This may be the time and opportunity to re-engage our family as we face the challenge of all family members remaining at home for an unforeseen period of time. Here are some ideas, resources and personal reflections that might help you in this endeavor.
Re-Introduction, Re-Engagement and Re-Creation of the Family
Dr. William Bergquist, a member of the Global Psychology Task Force offers a brief videocast in which he offers suggestions regarding family activities during period of “stay-at-home.”
Re-engagement of the family can take place by finding new ways of being together and sharing experiences–such as preparing an evening meal together (instead of eating “on the fly”). What about taking a short walk together outside in the early morning or late afternoon? You might all drive to the grand parents house together on Saturday and meet with them out in their yard (standing away from them at a distance of at least six feet–better yet twelve feet) What about a family project?
And what about family rituals?
Managing the Entire Family Spectrum: The Intergenerational “Sandwich”
In recent years, there has been a focus on the “sandwich generation” — those adults who are now not only taking cae of their children, but are also caring for their aging parents. With the challenges posed by the virus, there is often an even greater “sandwiching” of the generations–especially if one’s parents have moved into our home for their own protection.
We first offer the perspective of one person who writes about being considered a “tug of war” toy!
We next offer a videocast from one of our team members, Kendell Munzer, who is faced with the task of not only taking care of her children as educator, nurturer and protector, but also taking care of her mother (who is staying at their home) and father (who has been quarantened). And Kendell’s husband owns a business that is enmeshed in the current economic crisis. Welcome to a “perfect storm”! Listen to how Kendell lives with and helps to manage all of this (its a very long linking address–but worth the effort).
[To access this videocast, copy the link presented below, delete what is now in the browser (long diagonal box at top of your Internet page) and paste the new link in the browser. Then click on the dark black address that appears just below the browser. It should take you right to the videocast which you activate by clicking on the “open” button.]