AUSTIN (KXAN) — New research is showing that pandemic stay-at-home orders and lock downs may actually benefit mothers and daughters. The research, conducted by cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken, PhD, looked at 500 families and how their relationships have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Half of the families said they think they’ve grown stronger since the pandemic began. 60% of the families interviewed said the relationship between mothers and daughters in the families had improved.
Dr. Allison Chase is the Regional Clinical Director at Insight Behavioral Health Center and the Eating Recovery Center told KXAN the improved family dynamics are a result of the world slowing down.
“Everybody’s life was zooming at a pace, that was not only moving too quickly, it was packed.” Dr. Chase said.
With the global slowdown, family dinners have become more common and new communication lines have opened up.
“There’s more time to stop and connect, to listen and reflect more,” she said.
This is especially true for the complex dynamics of mother/daughter relationships. According to Dr. Chase, young girls are undergoing a lot of changes they are not prepared to communicate and understand. Daughters, more so than sons, typically take the frustration and anxiety of growing up and direct it at mom.
Young girls do this, because they see moms as a safe place they can direct their feelings toward. Sons typically have this same relationship with their fathers. Unfortunately, this isn’t fair for parents.
“They end up becoming more of a ‘punching bag,’ but from an emotional standpoint.” said Dr. Chase.
With families now spending more time together, these new lines of communication are having positive results.
“We can never underestimate the power of connection, both physically and emotionally,” she said.
Dr. Chase noted while the results of the study show positive results, they don’t necessarily reflect everyone. While the shared trauma of the pandemic is bringing many families together, it is also creating challenging situations for families dealing with mental health issues.