An Introduction to Parenting from One Dad’s Perspective
Young married couples who do not have children are often forced to answer the question: “When will you have children?” This question is often annoying, and sometimes it can be a painful invasion of privacy. Yet, over and over, it is relentlessly asked by neighbors, friends, relatives, parents, etc.
What is often neglected by those who ask this question is the internal struggle that is inside every young man. Various dilemmas sound something like this: “Am I ready to care for a small and helpless being? Will I be a good enough parent? Will I be able to do that? How will my life change?” These thoughts occupied me too with no exception. It didn’t help much that I had thoroughly studied all aspects of children’s development and the dynamics of family relationships during my five years of psychology studies. The thoughts had been persistent until my son Ilija was born.
And then a miracle happened.
You find yourself face to face with a wonderful being that looks like you, and yet is not you. You see the whole new world in his eyes. At that moment, I realized that a part of me will continue my life’s journey when I am gone and that the end of that process is in eternity. It all made deeper sense, and my life took on a new dimension called Ilija.
I got the strength to step out without those dilemmas. Just one look at him breaks down all the barriers and fears, not to mention the smile! A child is a creature of potential, growth, and development. My parenting role became to support and guide him together with my wife on his way of growing up.
The beauty is that there is no one true ‘recipe’ for parenting. There are many real ‘recipes’ and love is the only spice that runs through them all.
There are no two same children, no two same families, so each family can find their approach that will suit both you and your child. This is also one of the key postulates of which the “Support, not perfection” program is starting. The experience of a facilitator on the “Support, Not Perfection” program has helped me come up with several ideas for the steps I can take with my son Ilija and see where they lead before applying them. It is a great honor to hear the experiences of parents from the groups I have led so far. The role of facilitator has also empowered me to be a dad who will always support and seek support when he needs it, sometimes make mistakes, learn from them and correct them along the way.
What followed Ilija’s arrival can be represented by one metaphor. Parenting is like dancing. You’ve got a new partner you don’t know. To make things even better, you need to dance a dance that neither of you knows. At first, things will go slowly and a bit uncertainly. It takes time to think of the steps and to harmonize them, to become completely relaxed and confident in this mutual game. When this happens, the dance will blend in with music, your relationship will be stronger than ever, and the enjoyment will not end.
The aim of the free “Support, not perfection” program for parents and guardians is to empower them to recognize the needs and feelings of the child and to teach them that there are no ready-made solutions and perfect parents, but parents/guardians who love and understand the child. The sixth cycle of the project has just been completed, and in the two and a half years of its existence, the program has educated more than 1,200 parents and guardians, which indirectly had an impact on over 2,500 children. The “Support, not perfection” program is implemented in collaboration with Generali Insurance Serbia and The Human Safety Net