Did the COVID‐19 pandemic make better parents? A qualitative exploration of parents' experiences during a historic period. By: Xiao, He. 2024. Family Relations. Vol. 73 Issue 1, p133-153.

Objective: To explore through the lens of the theoretical framework whether parents achieved any forms of improved parenting during the pandemic; in what way parents improved, if any; and what led to improved parenting. Background: The COVID‐19 pandemic and its repercussions gave rise to multiple challenges and hardships confronting children and parents. The ways parentshandled the parenting demands varied. The research documented the presence of both unhealthy and nurturing parenting behaviors during the pandemic. During this course in which parents responded to the parenting demands, some facets of parenting (e.g., parenting practices, parenting cognitions) were subject to change. The current study placed the focus on positive parental changes,if any. Method: The study employed a phenomenological approach. Fourteen parents (female = 12; White = 8; Black = 4, and Asian = 2; 11 of 14 were upper‐ to lower‐middle‐class families) constituted the sample. One‐on‐one semistructured interviews were conducted over Zoom for data collection. Thematic analysis was performed for data analysis. Results: Four themes were constructed: targeted parental responses and changes, refined parenting skills and practices, enhanced understanding of parenting, and unsettledparenting styles. Conclusion: Some parents achieved improved parenting (e.g., refined parenting skills, a new understanding of childrearing). Whether and to what extent parents bettered themselves were conditional on whether and how far parents went to adapt or adjust their parenting. Implication: Although substantially improving parenting skills appears to be difficult, parents can still bring benefits to family by bettering themselves incrementally. Practitioners need to be a source of reinvigoration for parents who aim to improve their parenting and family equilibrium, particularly in the context of a crisis.