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Family Ties Is Lockdown Boosting Up?

By Sima Rani Dey
21st-Jul-2020       
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The world never imagined that we shall have to be stuck upat our own homes for so long. And this unbelievable situation has arisen due to the pandemic of Covid-19, whilelockdown has been proven to be an effective measure to tackle the rapid spread of the coronavirus. The word 'Lockdown' can have a different meaning from a different perspective. In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the lockdown has been characterized as limiting the movement, function, and activities of community people.
However, I believe the lockdown period has brought the family members closer and gives us a chance to rekindle our lost family relationships. Despite living together under a single roof, hardly we can manage time to sit with our parents and children for enjoying quality time. This period of staying home has given us that unique opportunity to enjoy those lively family times, such as, mealtime conversations, doing household chores together, understanding each other, extra time for hobbies, frequent audio/video conversations with friends, and relatives, etc.
To know what other people are thinking about, a structured questionnaire was developed on behalf of the Bangladesh Institute of Governance and Management (BIGM). Friends, families, and acquaintances on Facebook were asked to provide their valuable opinions. The objective of this online survey was to assess the impact of Covid-19 on family relationships which ended up collecting the feedback of 352 people. Apart from some general information, this survey was designed to gather the knowledge as well as the perception of the respondents towards this global pandemic and to examine the impact of Covid-19 on our relationships.
 Peoples' Knowledge and Perception of Covid-19
 Out of 352 samples, 221 respondents were male and 131 respondents were female. The average age of the respondents was 32 years and more than 80% have claimed them as financially solvent. Around 98% of respondents confirmed that they are aware of the severity of this pandemic and also acquainted with the measures to protect themselves from this deadly virus. While 94% of respondents believed that the coronavirus can leave society with a tremendous fatality. Even an equal number of respondents also opined that they already have adopted the safety measures in their day-to-day lives for their safeguard, for instance, washing hands frequently or sanitize it, not to touch areas of the face (eyes, nose, and mouth) unnecessarily, surely wearing the mask at outside.
Relationship with Parents
Around 61% of total respondents have stayed with their parents during the lockdown period. Among them, 83% of respondents disclosed that they spend a good time with their parents as they were comparatively less busy in those days. It is gratifying to note that 51% of sons and 32% of daughters agreed to have a funny and lively discussion with their father or mother. Even the parents have enjoyed their time with their less busy daughter or son. The siblings passed wonderful times with parents and are very much willing to continue these auspicious bonding ever after even they get engaged in their fast-paced life in future. As many as 80% of respondents have expressed a similar view. Other than the family, those days are gone when people were used to spending hours talking to their friends and close relatives on land phones. But they started to maintain those relationships only via texting in past days. In this era of lockdown, people are being able to reconnect themselves with their nearest and dearest ones. More than 60% of respondents of the survey have conceded this reality.
Relationship with Spouse
Several surveys have dwelt on the husband-wife relationship in different viewpointsduring this Covid-19 pandemic. For example, China, where the epidemic of the coronavirus begun, exhibits a significant increase in the number of filed divorce cases. A similar scenario is also observed in the Middle East and a few surveys also revealed the rising cases of domestic violence. According to our survey, 78% of respondents statedthat they have passed a good time with their better halves in the middle of this pandemic. 50% of married respondents have acknowledged that they have helped their partner in household chores and also tried new recipes for their spouse. Interestingly, out of those 50% married people, the share of the male respondent was 34.4% and the female respondents' percentage was 15.6%. While 50% of respondents have spent joyful and interactive time with their husband or wife, among them 36% of respondents believed that they got the chance of reviving their saturated relationship through regular nursing.
Relationship with Kids
More than 55% of respondents have experienced the company of children either of their own or the child of other family members. The survey results report that majority of the children have passed their home time with textbooks, television, mobile, and laptop. Being confined at home, few kids also get time for practicing their hobbies such as singing, dancing, and painting. Besides these, kids got an additional opportunity to play or study with their mother or father. 49% of respondents opined that they got more time to play with kids and were able to give more attention to their child's study. While 34% say that sometimes they brought the children in a roof or any open field for roaming purposes more frequently than before lockdown because it seems hard for kids even for elders to stay months after months as a loner at home. However, 56% of respondents opined that children were very happy and excited to get their parents together after so long.
The facts and figures delineated above lead us to argue that even amidst this crisis, the lockdown strategy to tackle Covid-19 has nourished all sorts of family bonding and also make us realize the real value of passing time with family. Because family is the only place where we can be what we actually are to accept. That is the reason why the lockdown experience of people was not as horrible as it was thought of before. This outcome cannot be generalized in all cases since there are many low-income families out there who have struggled very hard every day to survive in this lockdown.
Thus it can berecommended that understanding the strength of family relationships backed by physical nearness may help to reduce many of the domestic violence and oppressionsthat occur within the family.Good behavior, showing a positive attitude toward family, and valuing each other can play a crucial role in maintaining a happy and healthy family life.

(Sima Rani Dey is Assistant Professor, Bangladesh Institute of Governance and Management.  Email: simabd330@gmail.com)

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