Parenting support workshops nurture positive and empowering parenting
Three months after workshop Growing Up Together Count Us In Plus participants gather to monitor progress
"If those workshops were to repeat today, I would run to attend them again. Really. I would like these workshops to be held again, for us moms, for future moms and future generations to be able to rely on our experts", says Senka Ignac, mother of five. Three months after she completed a cycle of 15 Growing Up Together Count Us In Plus workshops, intended for parents and families living in demanding circumstances, mother Senka met with her group at in Međimurje County for so called booster workshop. Booster workshops are organized to test and check the program's efficiency, learn how much did participants learn, do they apply what they learned in their everyday life and family routine, what has anything changed in their lives…
"A lot of mothers tell us they control their anger much better now, as if they didn't know or didn't have the techniques and tools to do it before. They shout less at children, and they solve more by talking. Many of them spend time with children by reading picture books to them and encouraging them to do something together. While before they may have baked cookies by themselves, now they will do it with the help of children. They have noticed how their relationships with their partners changed because they started to better control both their behaviours, they think differently about some things, so there is certainly an effect, there are changes", shares Jelena Ptiček Perković, workshop educator. Through these workshops, she continues, she learned that it is really worthy to give parents some basic tools they can apply in everyday parenting because it shows results.
Mother Senka also confirms it. She says she is a different woman today compared to the woman she was before the workshops. Now she spends more quality time with her daughters Josipa, Rahela, Dolores, Sara, Ela, and her husband Josip, which has resulted in a more harmonious relationship for the whole family.
"I was nervous. With any word addressed to me, I would shout, but now that woman is gone, thanks to these workshops. One day when I'm gone, I wouldn't want my children to be on the street. I would like them to be educated, to have a job, have their own driver's license, their own life, for them to be examples to their children when they have children of their own", mother Senka explains.
In addition to the workshop educators, the participants also get support of Roma cultural mediators, Growing Up Together activists (RAZA). Krešo Balog, Growing Up Together activist (RAZA), played a key role in informing and motivating mothers to attend workshops, which, at the beginning, as he admits, was not a simple task.
"They thought it was linked to formal education so I had to talk to them a lot to make them understand that workshops will be beneficial for them and their children and allow them to learn some useful information. I managed to motivate them and by the end of program, they were all delighted. I was also very interested in these workshops, same as them actually", Krešo says and concludes how workshop were very useful to him as a father too. He learned a lot of things and he believes how more fathers should got involved.
With the main aim of reducing child poverty and social exclusion for all children across the European Union, the European Commission, in partnership with UNICEF, is implementing a pilot-program "Phase III: Testing the Child Guarantee" in Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Germany, Italy, Lithuania and Spain.
Croatia was given the opportunity to pilot Testing of the EU Child Guarantee programme, in cooperation with the European Commission and UNICEF, to work on solving child poverty and social exclusion. To develop new service models and best practices for children and their families. UNICEF will use its experience, partnerships and capacities by modeling integrated multidisciplinary, adequately funded family and community services in Medjimurje County, a region with limited access to child protection and family support services. UNICEF's approach includes three components: access to integrated child protection and family support services, access to early childhood education and access to integrated and coordinated early childhood intervention services.
© UNICEF, 2023 “The information and views set out in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.”
Growing Up Together Centre and Family Center Branch, Čakovec Social Welfare Center are implementing partners of the UNICEF Croatia for the implementation of the “Phase III: Testing the Child Guarantee in Croatia” pilot programme, funded by the European Union.