The Relationship between Parents and Children with the Lockdown

Parents’ Homework in their Children’s Education

By Jandy Sales | August 26, 2021


The pandemic has required parents to take a different and special look at their children in a relationship that can become conflicting if both are not psychologically prepared for a harmonious coexistence between four walls.  

Bárbara with her husband Joey and their children, Sofia and James: an even more intimate relationship with their children since the pandemic’s beginning.

The lives of couple Bárbara Barberini, 34 years old, and Joey Fitzgerald, 28 years old, have changed drastically since ordering the first lockdown last year. Their children Sofia, 6, and James, 5, could no longer have face-to-face swimming, capoeira, or ballet lessons.  Also, meetings with friends were not anymore on the family’s agenda.

The interactivity amidst the four walls at home between the couple and their children had intensified since March 15, 2020, when schools closed their doors due to the pandemic.  “All schools were closed, even my work had to close down, and we all stayed at home,” said Bárbara.

One of the positive points highlighted by psychologist Douglas Nechio, with the lockdown, is that parents could monitor their children closely, taking respect for their privacy.

Internet and children

“Very busy parents often don’t know what’s going on inside their child’s room.  In the past, they would play ball, and you would be around and know of everything going on. Nowadays, this social interaction happens through the Internet, but this obligation of parents to monitor their children continues,” he said.

For Bárbara and Joey, the pandemic knocked on the door, and with it came the task of taking care of the children’s school activities.

“The teachers would send emails with the content, and the parents had to do the activities, take pictures and send all the completed activities back to them,” said Bárbara.

Extra lessons

 Still, the Fitzgerald family’s routine of pursuits during the pandemic goes way beyond their children’s school activities. “We teach them to put their personal belongings away before they go to sleep, we play ball in the backyard every day, and we also include walks around our neighborhood in our daily routine,” said Bárbara.

Sofia and James will still spend a good amount of time under their parents’ 24-hour care. But, according to Bárbara, the school has not yet communicated the date of return to classes. “It scares us a lot because not only the children but for us, as parents, are already tired of staying at home with no perspective of when things will go back to normal,” she said.

Will it be possible for parents to play the role of teachers well by bringing home the playful side offered by the school?

Psychologist Nechio believes so, but for this to happen, parents should not be under pressure, in “that the parents should not be forced to have to work and at the same time have to offer a school-based structure.”

 Personality, cultural and social level

Psychologist Douglas Nechio: parents’ sense of humor and personality help in their children’s education.

According to Nechio, the task of parents in educating their children at home in the role of teachers will depend on their personality for this mission to be accomplished well. “The sense of humor comes into question and whether parents are authoritarian or not, not to mention their social and cultural level,” he said.

The grandparents have been the only other people with whom face-to-face contact of the whole family has been maintained, according to Bárbara.

“Our birthdays were celebrated with lots of decorations and traditional party foods, but only among ourselves and close family members, who in this case was my Mother and Father.”

Having family and affective relationships be so intimate, as a result of Covid-19, involves people’s neurobiological factors.

Oxytocin: the hormone of affection

According to psychologist Nechio, when we are around people who are important to us, such as parents, we produce a hormone called oxytocin (endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin are part of the group called ‘happiness neurotransmitters’).

“You produce neurons that will make the relationship better as long as there is communication,” he said.

In this more intimate coexistence with the children, the indignation about the world engulfed by the pandemic also arises.

“My children ask why we have to wear a mask, why we can’t get close to other people and when the virus will end,” said Bárbara, who also stated that she and her husband feel stressed about the situation caused by the lockdown.

Defeating stress

The pandemic situation is stressful for the whole family, according to psychologist Nechio. “The important thing is to show the child how to deal with stress and how to be resilient and overcome adversity,” he said.

Among the various ways to help the child overcome stress is the need for parents to know how to analyze their own attitudes, which Nechio classifies as “Prospect Thinking.”

“Did yelling at the child help last time? Did she finish the lesson, or did she start to cry?  When the parents start thinking that way, planning becomes easier. You start thinking about what will work with what you have already tried, and you can eliminate what wasn’t a good strategy,” he said.

Bárbara said she feels very stressed, but she has plans to travel to Brazil at the end of this year, where she will visit her relatives.  However, she will only make the trip if the pandemic is under control.

“It has been two years since I have seen my family,” she said.





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Jandy Sales has experience in radio, television, newspaper and magazine. He has already received three awards as a documentary filmmaker.

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