To uncover the experiences of parenting Generation Z pre-teen children in rural communities impacted by the Stay Home Missouri order from April through May 2020. Researchers have focused on urban parents, leading to gaps in understanding the impact of the COVID-19 quarantine on rural parents and children. A qualitative study employing interpretive phenomenology. 14 white cis-male-sexed fathers and cis-female-sexed mothers living in midwestern rural communities participated in this study. Semi-structured interviews with 14 participants parenting pre-teen children were conducted. The interviews were analyzed using interpretive phenomenology. The COREQ checklist was followed. One theme that emerged from the narratives was the study participants' understandings of parenting, discovered when their routines were disrupted by the Stay Home Missouri order. This theme involved three sub-themes: 1) responding to the challenges of protecting pre-teen children; 2) coping with disrupted social relationships; and 3) renegotiating responsibilities. Professionals who work with families need to find ways to assist parents during and after a health emergency that requires quarantine. COVID-19 is not the first pandemic to endanger humanity, and the next pandemic—or a future variant of SARS—could require an additional period of local, regional, or national quarantine. Implications for professionals supporting parents during periods of severe disruption—such as future public health crises as well as large scale quarantines—are offered to assist with preparation for and coping with severe disruptions to parenting.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

COVID-19; Generation Z; Parenting; Parents; Pre-teen; Quarantine

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1936-153X; 1936-1521

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





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Publication Date

01 Jan 2022