Family Resilience and Covid-19
Family Resilience and COVID-19
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from stressful situations or adversity. But, often resilience is seen as an individual concept and not something residing in the collective. But, if the interaction between family members is enhanced then, resilience will be strengthened over a period of time. During a pandemic like COVID-19, families are either able to survive and thrive this period whereas there are families that aren’t able to sustain the pressure leading to a lot of tension between family members. The concept of family resilience involves building relational resilience in order to build confidence and a healthy family environment during these difficult times. The communication pattern surrounding the family takes on a very crucial role. If children are in families that support and care for each other, then conceptions relating to self-i.e. self-efficacy and confidence are boosted thereby increasing resilience. In family resilience, the family is seen as a functional unit. If this whole unit is together and communicating openly about each other’s vulnerability then strength is gained and resilience is built. Therefore, if all of the family’s vulnerability and strengths are taken into account then families will be in a better position to reduce the disruptive impact of a stressful situation. One way of building resilience is through open communication by putting forth boundaries and roles that are not ambiguous rather are transparent and clear.
Therefore, family resilience might act as a protective factor amongst this crisis and will be very helpful. It will fill the whole family environment with Cohesion leading to a lot of benefits like warmth and flourishing. Therefore, living well and supporting each other relentlessly during this pandemic is necessary as it will enable them to tackle these hurdles together. This can be understood from many studies related to debates of nature/nurture wherein nurture and family environments do have a strong role to play. The quality of family relationships is taken into account and the challenges faced are not perceived as damaging but are as seen as challenging and an opportunity to be there for one another. Even though these pandemic times, a family can emerge as loving if they respect each other’s boundaries and support each other. Lots of factors need to be taken into account such as the age of family members, individual differences, cultural context, nuclear/joint families, etc. making it a complex process.
There is no set or linear path to developing resilience. Each family needs to consistently adapt depending on the circumstance. Few steps that can be taken by families are as follows-
- Optimistic approach: Families can collectively be confident about bouncing back from stressful situations and this will enable each and every member of the house to be motivated. When the whole family will display certain positive and hopeful emotions, each and every member will be motivated.
- Communication: When the family environment is one wherein each and every member can express themselves in an open manner not only about the good things he/she is facing in his/her life but is also able to voice the concerns that might be troubling the person will lead to open emotional expression at a familial level and might engage problem-solving at a collaborative level.
- Recreational activities: Family members can engage in some “shared activities” which might add to the already existing cohesion. For example Cooking, Dancing, painting or eating together, etc.
- Family time: Each and every member should try making the most in the daily tasks. This will help them to understand each other better and transact with each other better.
While adopting the above four approaches, the family needs to be very flexible in their approach. Flexibility in the sense that one needs to be mindful that the approach one might have used to solve a problem might not be applicable today due to changing circumstances. However, it is just very necessary to see resilience not only from the perspective of individual characteristics but as something that can be developed at a family or collective level. If we feel heard in our own family environment, one might find a lot of strength during these difficult times.