Meet the Beautifully Imperfect Serbian Families

by NDFAuthors

  • May 14, 2021

Love, understanding and the need for protection are at the heart of everyday family life. Although they are often accompanied by disagreement, anger and pride, all this makes the beauty of an imperfect family. When we think about, maybe that’s what makes families so perfect.

Traveling around Serbia for the implementation of our parenting program “Support, not perfection”, we had the opportunity to meet moms, dads, guardians, grandparents, with different backgrounds, life stories, and perspectives on the role of parents. However, what they all had in common is their endless love for their little ones. It was what inspired them to come to the workshops week after week, share their experiences, seek advice, and reflect with the other participants.

For us, they are the real heroes who recognize how important it is to be good role models for our future generations. Their stories are a reminder of how much the strength of family and sense of togetherness makes the foundation of children’s development, and that is why we wanted you to meet them. Happy International Family Day!

The Bondzukovic family from Novi Pazar

“Although born with cerebral palsy, I grew up without feeling the condition was some kind of obstacle that made me different from other people. With huge support from my parents, I reached my goals single-handedly, sometimes even sooner than some of my peers.  However, when I became a mom for the first time at the age of 26, everything changed. Over time, my daughter noticed that my steps were not quite as stable as other people’s. Curious just as I was, she asked a ton of questions and sometimes would “teach“ me on the street how to walk. That process was quite overwhelming for me, and the day when, even though she was very little, I told her that I would never walk as she did will stick in my memory forever,” shares mother Jasmina. You can read the rest of her touching story right here.

Grandma Ljiljana and her granddaughter from Smederevo

“My little granddaughter experienced something that no kid wants ever to happen. Her parents separated, and her mother, my daughter, really suffered because of that. For that reason, I had to be one hundred percent involved in my granddaughter’s upbringing from the very beginning. I was there for her first words and helped her make her first steps. I held her hand when she was sad and protected her from the fears she had. I was also there when she started going to the kindergarten”¦oh, those tears, tight hugs, and the period of adaptation to the new and unknown environment. The challenges were great. I often wondered if there was a different and better way to deal with some situations and challenges. Am I making all the right decisions?”, says Ljiljana. Read here how she found the answer.

Parents Ostojic and their five children

“The divorce of my parents, in which the custody of me went to my father, turned the carefreeness and a child’s joy into the beginning of a series of life lessons that should have naturally came a little later on in life. Despite my father’s efforts to raise me right and set me on the right path in life in any way he could, a traditional and pretty strict man he was, the lack of a mother and the feeling of having an incomplete family could not be made up to me. I remember how much energy it took to deal with some of the questions I presented myself with, with the sadness and the feeling that a part of me is missing. And I could do nothing on my own to fix it. My wife comes from a completely different kind of family situation. She grew up surrounded by safety and the wish to progress, as one should, brought up in a family spirit with set values, love, the spirit of giving and spreading joy.”

Mother Jasmina and little Vojin from Petrovac na Mlavi

“The two of us are inseparable, which makes up our family. Vojin and I live alone, but we are in close contact with grandparents. To every parent who gets their first child, I would recommend that they go through the “Support, not perfection” program. Because, when a child is born, we parents are also “born” only then, so we will be confused, scared and very often lost. The child actually creates the parent, and the parent is there to guide the child and help him. “

Family Takac from Kovacica

“Our family, for now, consists of only two members: Janko – school pedagogue and Elena – art teacher. We met and fell in love in the late thirties, and we were very lucky to succeed soon after and to expand our family for a new member, Matej, whom we eagerly await in two months. We could say that our family is artistic, because we constantly read, write, paint, play, create something”¦ “

Igor Sajkovac from Kragujevac and his sons

“I have two failed marriages behind me. After both divorces, I needed to alleviate the loss of my children and I started to pay attention to the quality of the time I spend with them. We were no longer together every day”¦ I try to be a good father and I am very glad that the children like to spend time with me. Of course, the four of us boys have various moments, from the happy, idyllic ones, to the most chaotic ones. Like most parents, many times I doubted some of my actions towards children and asked myself, “Am I doing something wrong?”

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. Until now we have empowered 2000 parents and guardians. The “Support, not perfection” program is implemented in collaboration with Generali Insurance Serbia and The Human Safety Net.