Message of the Regional Director

The corona virus pandemic has shocked the whole world with demoralizing impacts on children and families mostly from vulnerable settings.   From loss of jobs to service delivery shortages and disruptions, and economic downtrends, parents and children have been finding ways to cope with stressors coming from all directions.  To this day, parents are still faced with anxieties not only about the physical health of their children but their social, intellectual, emotional and mental health as well.  Parents engage in the act of work-life balancing while ensuring that their children attend classes online and very soon, face-to-face.  Children suddenly found themselves ‘out of school’ as a way to safeguard them from the risks of infection.

The COVID-19 crisis has affected both well-off and poor families but not equally.  Researchers have discovered that parents who lost their job and income are vulnerable to depressive symptoms, stress, diminished sense of hope, and negative interactions with their children.  These unfortunate cases do not occur to parents who lost their job but do not experience income losses.   As a matter of fact, parental job losses without income losses are associated with more positive parent-child interactions.   Researchers also found out that parents’ exposure to COVID-19 is associated with less positive parent-child interactions and more child behavior problems.  In contrast, parents who spend more time with their kids and do childcare as a consequence of lockdowns, exhibit more positive parent-child interaction.   Other reports suggest that increased incidence of separation, domestic violence, and financial stress have been observed among poorer households.

The observance of this year’s Family Week is a fitting occasion for all of us to rethink how Filipino families struggle and become resilient to hardships due to this pandemic.  Agencies concerned could perhaps try to track and understand how families and household members thrive amid the pandemic;  understand the causes and risk factors associated with mental health among parents and children;  analyze the coping mechanisms of family members under pandemic conditions; identify parents’ wants and aspirations for their children post-pandemic and then use the evidences gathered to inform policy formulation and better social protection system for poorer families in the immediate future.

Thanks to lockdowns we all have returned to our homes for safety and comfort.  Thanks to lockdowns, children gained more quality bonding time with their parents.   On the contrary, this pandemic has also proved costlier for families in terms of provisions for health maintenance, hygiene and sanitation; meals and snacks; individualized spaces and isolation areas for physical distancing; subscribing to home cable and wifi service providers for online communication and learning, and other vital resources we use to take for granted before the pandemic.

In spite of all these, one thing is sure, that no matter when or where this pandemic takes us, it is always good to have our families to come home to and fall back on.

Isang Masaya, Matatag at Maginhawang Pagpapamilya sa lahat!