Let's grow together with our children

First parenting schools in Montenegro organized with UNICEF support.

Tina Dimic Raicevic
A father and a son washing their teeth
UNICEF Montenegro / Dusko Miljanic / 2009
10 August 2018

BIJELO POLJE, 10 August 2018 - Parenting is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and most demanding experiences anyone can go through. Child-rearing, however, brings numerous challenges along with it, and in order to meet those challenges in the best way possible, parents need support.

Elvira Kurcehajic, mother of four-year-old Emina and 18-month-old Karim, a boy with disabilities, has also recognized the need for help in order for her to properly instruct and bring up her children. It was the relationship between the siblings that motivated her to join the parenting programme, which was organized by the Health Centre in Bijelo Polje with the support of UNICEF and the European Union.

A mother of two, a parenting school attendant
UNICEF Crna Gora / Duško Miljanić / 2018
Elvira Kurcehajic, a mother of two, talking about how her children understand each other better thanks to what she learned at parenting school in Bijelo Polje during August 2018

It prompted me to come here, to see how the two of them could get along better, without jealousy, how we could jointly tackle the problems that arise. I wanted to learn some methods by which I could have a positive impact on them, and this workshop has really enabled me to do so.

Elvira Kurcehajic, mother of two

Just like other parents, Elvira copes with many challenges in child-rearing, so she welcomes the additional support she has received through this programme.

“All of us want the best for our children, but sometimes we – the parents – also need help in terms of learning how to solve a problem in a way that is good for the child development. Through this project implemented with UNICEF, I would say that our parenting has become much easier”, Elvira explains.

According to Danijela Femic, a psychologist at the Health Centre in Bijelo Polje, the “Parenting for Lifelong Health” programme strives to help and make it easier for parents to cope with numerous issues and dilemmas they have with regard to their relationships with their children. She proudly points out that parents like Elvira have approached the process of learning new skills with great commitment, and that changes in their behaviour have been visible from workshop to workshop.

For example, initially, almost all the parents claimed that they did not have enough time to share quality moments with their children. Now, after the workshops, everyone has, without exception, overcome this challenge and everyone has enough time to socialize with their children.

Danijela Femic, a psychologist at the Health Centre in Bijelo Polje
Danijela Femić, a psychologist in Bijelo Polje
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2018
Danijela Femic, a psychologist, talking about how parenting school helps parents raise their children in Bijelo Polje, in August 2018

Danijela also points out that many misconceptions about child-rearing have been eliminated during the course, such as the one that “sometimes problems need to be solved by spanking the children” or the ones related to inadequate use of rewards to encourage a child to perform a desirable behaviour.

“In today’s technological era, the biggest reward is a phone, a tablet or a computer. We have tried to return the parents to the times of some earlier generations, because to give a reward is to love, to spend time with the child, to draw or do something that does not have to be “materialistic”. Most importantly, they have learned how to eliminate criticism”, Danijela adds.

Elvira excitedly indicates that the effects of the workshops have already been felt in her home, through the behaviour of the entire family.

In order to achieve an effect, we have to change ourselves first to be able to change the child. I have become calmer, more peaceful, and so have the children. We have actually let the children be children in every way.

Elvira Kurcehajic, mother of two

Experts say that positive parenting has the greatest chances to create happy and successful children who will grow into successful and happy people. Therefore, there is no better reward for children than the willingness to grow together with them.