“Our relationships have gotten so much stronger,” Hashim Lafond, a father of four told “Good Morning America.”
Lafond, a mural artist who spends most of his time supporting his family, has been working from home since the novel coronavirus pandemic hit and it’s a full house with his kids and wife, who’s pregnant with their fifth kid. But ever since, life has slowed down for all of them and they’ve all been able to savor every moment compared to how life was before the pandemic happened.MORE: Father and son meet for the 1st time after Ancestry.com DNA test
“Pre-quarantine, I worked, I came back home and my wife was with the kids and exhausted,” said Lafond.
Brennan Barnard, a divorced father of two, said he was the same way pre-pandemic with his two teenage kids, 13-year-old daughter, Rebecca and 16-year-old son, Samuel.
“We were kind of rushing around,” Barnard told "GMA." "Running around to lacrosse practice, dance practice and getting out of the car, rush home.”
Now with quarantine, it’s also given Barnard moments to spend time with Rebecca and Samuel.
“It’s been a lot of time together with my kids that I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” he added.
These closer connections that Lafond and Barnard have been experiencing with their family are at the heart of a new preliminary study from Harvard that found a silver-lining during the period of isolation.
“When it came to dads, almost 70% said they were feeling closer to their kids,” Richard Weissbourd, the survey's author and a senior lecturer and the faculty director of the Making Caring Common project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, told “GMA.”
In fact, the data from the study, which will be published in a report from the Making Caring Common Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, shows that more than half of the dads say their children are sharing more about their feelings. And nearly half of the fathers in the study said they are opening up to their children about feelings and perspectives.
In the past few weeks with civil unrest erupting across the country over racism and inequality in the wake of the death of George Floyd, dads are holding onto their children even closer and having open discussions with their kids.MORE: 10-year-old black boy shares call to action with homemade sign, 'Do I scare you?'
Lafond, who is a black father, says it’s been important for him to be home during this time to have the conversations with his children about what’s happening.
“These are the children that are seeing this right now in their mind, developing strategy of how do we make this world better,” said Lafond.
“It’s been a real opportunity to kind of step back and have meaningful conversations about what’s going on in the world and what’s going on in their world,” added Barnard, who said that if they were tied to their normal schedule, he probably wouldn’t have the special time with them as young adults and taking part in discussions like these.MORE: Former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho on having difficult conversations about race in new series
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“Kids really feel anchored to their parents,” said Weissbourd. “Dads are able to talk to their kids about ongoing events in a way that they weren’t before. They had more time to do that right now.”
Now, not only are Lafond and Brennan opening up more with their kids and strengthening their relationship with them, they’re also making tons of memories during this abundance of time spent together.
“Before quarantine all my hopes and dreams were outside the house,” said Lafond, who has been making Tik Tok videos with his kids. “I’m realizing that I can do so much with my family, with the people that I have in this house. And I really learned to value this time and to create out of this time.”
Lafond has also found a new appreciation for his wife, Johnetta.
“I always thought I was doing her a favor by letting her stay home, being a stay at home mom,” he said. “But in reality, she’s doing all of us a favor by being a stay at home mom. And I really learned to appreciate her and to be helpful.”
For Barnard, this time in quarantine has given him the opportunity to reconnect with his brothers and grow closer to his own father.
“I have two brothers and four of us get on Zoom calls together on Saturday nights,” said Barnard. “And we connect as brothers and father and son in ways that we hadn’t before.”
After all the time that has been spent in quarantine with their families, Lafond’s and Brennan’s relationship with their kids are stronger than ever, and they’re committed to keeping it that way.
“I’m gonna really take this as an opportunity to be intentional about the way we move through life and the way we connect,” said Barnard.
“I’m excited to know them a whole lot more,” added Lafond. “This is only the beginning.”