Family harmony tested during confinement



An exhausted mother tries to work at home while her children are having fun because they feel like she is ignoring them. Screen and TV time restrictions go out the window, and the natural harmony of family is upset.

It is a pandemic scenario playing out in homes across the country.

While undoubtedly troubling, a lack of structure and household routine also has a detrimental psychological impact, experts say.

A major report compiled by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found increased levels of emotional distress during the lockdown, especially among young people.

According to The First Year of COVID-19 in Australia, the prevalence of painful psychological symptoms associated with mood swings has been significantly higher.

By April of this year, the effects of stress on the population had essentially returned to pre-pandemic levels for most adults, but continued to be greater for young people.

Professionals also report that parents see and talk less with children despite being in the same house every day, psychologist Stefanie Lui Ten said.

The counseling platform she works for, ParentalEQ, has nearly doubled the number of parents seeking help in the past three months.

Dr Ten said young children are often unable to understand why parents are working from home while teenagers are holed up in their bedrooms.

“At the start of the pandemic, children were considered at low risk for medical problems related to COVID-19, but now they appear as invisible victims,†said Francisco Fleming, founder of ParentelEQ.

“The lack of structure has a major impact on the relationship between parents and children, as the two do not go to work or school, so there is no routine.”

Mr Fleming, who has more than a decade of clinical research experience, said sleep patterns are usually the first casualty when routines are abandoned.

Exercise is next, healthy eating habits, then the line between study and relaxation blurs.

“Parents tell us that they have the impression that their child is less communicative because they spend more time on screens or in their room and often not even sit down for a meal together because the children graze all day,” he said. he declared.

With half of all mental health problems believed to start before the age of 14, Fleming says healthy communication with young people is vital.

“Communication styles can pull people apart or bring families closer together, so it’s important to communicate regularly throughout the day, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, while at other times it can. be much longer, â€he said.

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