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Parenting schools for strengthening parenting skills also in Montenegro

PODGORICA, 25 June 2018 - Every parent faces challenges in bringing up a child. An unhealthy diet and several hours of preparation to get the child to go to bed are just some of the problems that often pose a serious test for parents’ patience. In such situations, advice from experts, as well as other mothers and fathers, is of significant help.

Mother Bosiljka Vukovic, in Podgorica, in June 2018, talking about how the Parenting school helped her to overcome some challenges she faced with her 4-year-old daughter in Podgorica - UNICEF Montenegro/Dusko Miljanic/2018

Just like many parents, Bosiljka Vukovic, a mother, had problems teaching her daughter to go to sleep at the planned time. She found a solution in cooperation with a parenting school, organized by the NGO “Parents”, with support from UNICEF and the EU.

“The school has contributed a lot to making me a better, more stable parent. I believe it has given me a variety of tools. This has relieved me of the pressure and concerns entailed by parenthood. So, now, my love is more burden-free and relaxed. My communication with my daughter, who is a wonderful four-year old child, is simpler and easier as well”, Bosiljka explains.

Parenting school also helped her become aware of how much a parent’s mood affects a child’s behaviour.

“We learned at parenting school too check when things go wrong if we are the problem. So, the idea is not to think about what is happening with your child, but to see if you're ok, if you’re rested enough, if you’re being patient, and only then to see what the cause of your child’s behaviour is,” Bosiljka points out.

According to UNICEF Montenegro Representative Osama Khogali, “parental support programmes may also improve relationships among parents, reduce conflict and violence among partners, improve early childhood outcomes, improve parents’ mental health, promote positive social standards related to the role of the community in protecting and caring for children, and prevent family separation”.

Parents cuddling their child in Podgorica – UNICEF Montenegro/Dusko Miljanic/2013

Benefits of parenting schools have also been recognized by UNICEF’s partners engaged in implementation of the “Parenting for Lifelong Health for Young Children” programme: Primary Health Centres in Podgorica, Niksic, Bijelo Polje and Berane; Public Pre-School Institution “Djina Vrbica” and the NGOs “Parents”, “Centre for Child Rights” and “Pedagogical Centre”.

Dr. Biljana Maslovaric, Director of the NGO “The Pedagogical Centre”, believes that institutions and local communities should provide continuous support to parents in child-rearing.

“I believe it’s time that we take an active part in involving parents and that we become partners in the development of their children,” Maslovaric says.

Her idea is supported by most parents in Montenegro, as demonstrated by UNICEF survey conducted in 2016, which showed that 77% of citizens believe that the state should provide training and support parents in raising their children.

So far, Parenting for Lifelong Health workshops for parents and caregivers of young children have been piloted in Podgorica, Niksic, Bijelo Polje and Berane, resulting in strengthened skills of parents like Bosiljka to support their children to develop to the full potential.



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