How are families doing in this strange time? At the request of the Secretary of State for Children and Families, the Harris Interactive Institute conducted a study on “Families put to the test of the health crisis” among 2,123 representative French people.
This sounding of the morale of the French seems to indicate that the family, sometimes said to be in decline, remains popular. In fact, a majority of those questioned believes that she has managed to lead the strange boat entrusted to her in the storm, since the confinement of March 17 and until today.
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Thus, despite a context deemed anxiety-provoking and while associations had warned of an upsurge in violence suggesting families under pressure, the people questioned believe that their family came out as united as before from this unprecedented experience.
More than three quarters (78%) believe that the cohabitation imposed by the confinement has been “Rather easy” (67% for families with children); relations between parents and children have been strengthened for 62% of those questioned, and 60% argue that confinement has not had a negative impact on the family atmosphere. In short, “Creating a bubble around his family was the emotional crutch of the French to get through this moment”, analyzes the Secretary of State.
The whole family organization has changed, for the better
Valérie and Karine, two mothers who live in the Paris region, each confirm this in their own way. The first has two young boys aged 5 and 7. “During the first confinement, we lived in an apartment. We pushed the sofa in the living room so that the children could play sports ”, she sums up.
With hindsight, the experience was certainly tiring, but rather beneficial. Because since then, the whole family organization has changed, for the better. “First we moved to a house with a garden. Then my husband continues to telecommute, so he can pick up the kids from school and run errands. In short, we have gained a lot in quality of life and we are all more peaceful. “
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Karine, she also admits having rather enjoyed this parenthesis with her grandchildren of 22, 20 and 14 years confined at home. “We had a lot of good times with the board games that came out of the closet. ” During this period, she also believes that she was able to accompany her mother, then ill with cancer, “That I went to see often”.
This ability of a majority of families to find solutions in the face of adversity does not surprise the psychoanalyst Sylviane Giampino, president of the High Council for the Family, Childhood and Age (HCFEA).
“In the face of emergency or danger situations, families get together and do their best. The increased presence imposed by confinement has been beneficial for a majority of them, because it is necessary to be present over time for family ties to be secure. “ However, this rule would sometimes be forgotten in the whirlwind of life and the thousand demands of everyday life.
“The week of the four Sundays”
The confinement represented an unprecedented period, for which it was necessary to deploy a certain creativity. “Families invented what I call ‘the week of the four Sundays'”, analyzes in turn the French sociologist of Singly. According to him, the confinement looked a bit like a Sunday evening: of course, we do not work, but we are already a little in the preparation of the following week; make sure homework is done, etc.
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“Where usually, children are taken care of by many relays – schools, leisure centers, etc. – parents had to take care of everything, including schooling, while sometimes working at the same time. Work has therefore entered the family in a completely new way. “
It’s a safe bet that the French satisfied with the quality of family relations during this period are those who have best succeeded in combining school time and professional time. However, this negotiation of family time did not happen overnight, continues François de Singly’s analysis: “The bonds have grown closer in families who got along long before. Conversely, these renegotiations must have amplified the pre-existing difficulties. “
Grandparents are afraid of missing key moments
The virtual disruption of the physical bond between grandchildren and grandparents raises distressing questions – “How can I make up for the 5 year anniversary that I didn’t attend?” “ – and alters their morale of the elderly, underlines the Harris Interactive study.
During the first confinement, the grandparents were more included than in the second, in shared moments, especially in video exchanges. With the maintenance of professional and school activity, the central place that family life had assumed has faded, while the cessation of extracurricular activities, of which the grandparents are frequently accompanying, has, in fact, a little sidelined.