Rise in abuses at homes during lockdown and how to curb them

Often, it is only in the end that most parents realize that their kids had been going through severe mental stress or distress.

The world is indoors and as the Indian populace has almost come to terms with the new situation in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic home has become the only happening place for families. Though the present crisis threw up an unprecedented occasion for all to be with family for such a long period the abrupt change in lifestyle leaves no room for planning and preparations, opening up chances for flare-ups and domestic violence. Dr. Ramash K, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Medical college, Kozhikode talks to Onmanorama about the situation.

“There are two sides to the lockdown. One is that this can be seen as an opportunity for families to spend time together in the house for such a long period,” says Dr. Ramash, “In the earlier days when the family was large and extended members used to spend a lot of time together. But in a nuclear family today, parents and children seldom get time to meet and talk. In this context, the lockdown can be used as a great opportunity to know well their own home, which doesn't mean to be just a building.” Families generally use vacations to spent time at a distant tourist spot. But this time they are getting a much longer time at home, which can be helpful for emotional sharing and bonding, he says.

But the time together at home need not be cheerful for all those who stay home or follow work from home method. In the changed circumstances the work patterns go haywire and the angst of parents triggered by the disturbances may get transferred on to the children who are a bored lot themselves. Kids may not realize the gravity of the situation and throw tantrums and the parents too may not understand their state of mind.

This can lead to aggressive behaviour and abuses on the part of parents. The stressful environment coupled with exposure to continuous negative news related to COVID-19 may further lead to depression and conduct disorder among children. The situation may also pave way for alcohol or substance abuse in some cases, he says.

Dr. Ramesh says that parents should be able to plan and divide their time for their official tasks, personal activities and children. "This is the best time to introduce children to new books and engage them in reading, practising musical instruments, art and crafts. Parents should find enough time to listen to their kids speaking on their interests. They should be made to sing, dance or play indoor games at a particular hour of the day regularly. That's the only way to fill homes with positivity," he says.

Meanwhile, the doctor points out a section of people who are on the other side of the lockdown. "There is a group of people comprising doctors, health workers and the police who work day in and out putting their own life at risk. We should know that they are people who get least time to concentrate on their family. Others may not be able to help them. But society can do it's best to ease their burden by following the guidelines and instructions of the government and health department regarding social distancing, staying indoors and other measures to contain the disease," says the doctor.