Brian Duff joins Maine Calling for a program on parenting during pandemic

Parents are dealing with a bevy of challenges during the pandemic, from juggling the demands of work and home life, to helping everyone in the family cope with anxiety, isolation, and health concerns.

Brian Duff, Ph.D., associate professor of political science in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, recently joined a panel of experts on Maine Public’s Maine Calling program who sifted through the layers of stress and offered advice for handling the pressures of being a parent during COVID-19.

Duff says sometimes when adults act like buddies to their children, those children can grow up without developing a sense of what adulthood and adult authority are like.

He told Maine Calling that children being around their parents in new contexts because of the pandemic may help change that.

“I do think there is a hidden opportunity in this massive crisis, which has created a real change of family life for kids to just be exposed to seeing their parents do the work that they do,” he commented. “If the parents are working from home, kids can see their parents having to act like an authority in the workplace or taking on hard challenges. They can get a new take on parenthood by being stuck in the house with their parents all day and seeing them juggling all the adult responsibilities that we actually do juggle but sometimes maybe try to hide from our kids.”

Duff is author of the book “The Parent as Citizen,” which reveals how efforts to make the experience of parenthood inform citizenship and contribute to the most persistent problems in modern democracy and democratic theory.

He is currently working on a new book tentatively titled “The Political Consequences of Our Fear of Adulthood.” It is about the way parents have come to feel unable to pass on the right skills and values to their children because culture and the workplace change so fast.

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