Although researchers were quick to point out the changing face of family relationships during the COVID-19 crisis (e.g. Settersen et al. 2020; Stokes & Patterson 2020), little is known about specific evolution of family practices in the intergenerational relationships of adult children and their parents in Poland.
The paper relies on the cumulative dataset combining interviews conducted during the coronavirus crisis across three Qualitative Longitudinal Studies, namely the ULTRAGEN project on transitions to adulthood (n=70, young adults and their parents), the GEMTRA project on intergenerational relationships in transitions to motherhood (n=42, new mothers and their mothers/mothers-in-law), and the CORONA-SOLIDARITY project on perceptions and experiences of solidarity (n=25; inhabitants of big cities). Thematic analysis was performed for interview transcripts concerning 137 participants, with an explicit focus on family practices and how they were understood in the context of bonds between adult children and their parents.
We use Morgan’s (2011: 84) distinction of concentrated (strongly bounded) and diffused (weakly bounded) family practices to illustrate temporal and spatial changes in how adult children and their parents tackle the pandemic in their family relationships. In essence, we investigate the evolving need to, on the one hand, tightly coordinate family togetherness, and, on the other hand, the diffusion of practices under the circumstances marked by the crisis. Focusing on the modes of spending time together (leisure family practices) and family practices during special events like holidays, we discern the main changes that family members had to introduce to their intergenerational bonds as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The article contributes new knowledge on family practices and quality of family relationships of adult children and their parents.