The Covid-19 pandemic has probably brought about more stressors to the family system than one can imagine.
We need to start taking concrete measures to support families better.
As a start, one way is for society to be more understanding of families dealing with stressful matters. Society needs to be more empathetic and less judgmental, and give people the space they need to open up and seek help when they start to experience familial stress.
Society still harbours negative perceptions of individuals and families going through therapy and counselling. If we do not start confronting the difficult issues faced by families, we cannot be a healthy society.
People faced with difficulties at home will constantly feel the need to act like they are doing fine when they are actually not.
It takes more than counselling to overcome the challenges and difficulties experienced by individuals and families.
It starts with our own extended family, neighbours and our colleagues. It calls for the community to be more understanding towards those facing family issues.
Workplaces could consider policies that give individuals the flexibility to devote time to their family and for themselves when they are going through challenges at home.
We can also take heart that over the years, the Ministry of Social and Family Development has rolled out several initiatives to support families better.
There are regional centres that work with schools to offer free parenting support programmes and counselling services to support couples and families (10 regional centres to work with schools to offer free parenting support programmes, Nov 13, 2019; 10 family service centres to offer support services and counselling for relationship issues, Nov 9, 2021).
There is no easy and straightforward solution when it comes to strengthening the
family, but as a society, we need to start considering what more can be done for families struggling with stressors.
Yeow Beng Zhen