Has the family gained during corona times? The good, bad, & the ugly of being quarantined at home.

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“Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love & be loved for the rest of your life”

The family is the most important thing in anyone’s life. Since the start of human civilization, the family played an important role in the development of human beings – socially, economically, culturally & politically. When every thing goes smoothly there entered a devil into the global family, in the form of CORONA Virus, which disturbed the entire world’s ecosystem. It came like a tsunami in the peaceful & calm water.

 

The COVID-19 Pandemic have created multitude of problems like loss of livelihood, loss of dear ones, reverse migration, increased out of pocket expenditure, etc. All these are the one side of the coin only. On  the flip side of the coin we can observe the headwinds & tailwinds faced by the family.

On the positive note we can say that the quarantine period coupled with lockdown of the nation have rejuvenated the joint family culture, by replacing the nuclear family culture, which came into picture after globalization of the world began. For the lonely living grand parents & the children this became a big boom to spend the time with each other. It may not be possible to live together for such a long duration in the present competitive world, thanks to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The children, the teenagers, working professionals, unmarried ones,… everybody has got the opportunity to taste the delicious mother’s food, which they won’t get from anywhere else. It further helped in strengthening the family relations. The conflicts, if any, were resolved in most of the cases ( Best example is my family only, where we used to have some misunderstandings. But now resolved. Thanks to the COVID-19). The stress levels of individuals, affected by corporatization,  was evaporated with the support of family members & improved the mental health of the individuals.

“When trouble comes, it’s your family that supports you.”

On the other hand the picture was very ugly & deteriorated further the value system of our families. As per most of the sociologists, the social distancing norms & the vulnerability risk of the elders to COVID-19 could spell the end of joint family in India, which was already in a deteriorating condition. The quarantine induced togetherness have made the family relations worsen than before. Living closely with the family members have furthered the wide between them due to difference of opinion & the exchange of war of words.

The quarantine has further enhanced the pressure on the women in a patriarchal society. The dwindling incomes of the households have increased the hunger levels, especially our mothers and sisters, because they are the ones who sacrifice when anything happens badly. There is a war in our homes — more than 8,500 women were killed by their spouses and their family member and more than 1 lakh cases of domestic violence were reported in 2018 (NCRB 2018). Domestic violence is a reality that existed prior to coronavirus (COVID-19), and has intensified as a result of the lockdown, because women are locked in with their abusers 24x7, their housework and care work responsibilities have increased and all the stress and tensions are released on women. This further deteriorated the family system.

 The other implications of quarantine on the family are – 1)Raised demand for online education, because of shutdown of schools & colleges, forced the parents to purchase the smart phones or laptops. This affected their financial coffers at the cost of their livelihood. This further lead to the gap between rich and poor. 2)If anyone in the family was attacked by the Corona, then there will be higher chances of spread of virus to the entire family & may result into the loss of dear ones. This may disturb the family psychologically. 3) most of the parents were feeling badly with the ever increasing gap to see their relatives and children,  because of the restrictions on traveling. This is not even compensated by the video calls.

All these problems requires a holistic approach that should involve the government, non governmental organizations, & civil society to come out of the pandemic imposed challenges & strengthen the family system. We can adopt the strategies of family bubble concept of New Zealand to strengthen the family system in this pandemic situation.

“Family is not defined by our genes, it is built and maintained through love.”

-Naveen G