We are sharing with you the second round of stories from “Support, not perfection” workshops in Petrovac na Mlavi.
My family consists of three members – my husband, myself, and a 2.5-year-old boy. In 3 months, we are expecting an addition to the family. I joined the “Support, Not Perfection” program at the insistence of my colleague who had already attended it and shared only positive impressions with me. Each workshop was interesting in its own way, depending on the topic. I already knew many things since I work in education, so I have learned a lot through thirteen years of experience. What was particularly helpful to me were the parenting experiences shared by other participants; I heard many useful pieces of advice and found myself in some of their stories, realizing where I was making mistakes.
I have no suggestions for improving the program because I believe that each topic is thoroughly developed and equally significant. I would recommend the “Support, Not Perfection” program to everyone who has any doubts regarding parenting. And not only that… In this program, you meet new people, laugh, joke, empathize, socialize, and exchange experiences, which is the foundation of the program’s success.
My family consists of my husband Slobodan, our daughter Emilija, and myself. Until two years ago, we lived in Belgrade, where it was very difficult for us to spend time together as a family. Due to the fast-paced life, distance from work, daycare, and public transportation, we spent only 3 hours together each day (low-quality time), sometimes even less. We didn’t have grandparents there. Now, everything is better and easier, and Emilija is older. One day while we were coloring, Emilija told me that she wants to be perfect in everything. I was puzzled. I didn’t know how to respond, how to explain to her that perfection doesn’t exist, and that she shouldn’t strive for it. That’s when I decided to enroll in the “Support, Not Perfection” program.
Regarding the entire program, everything was positive, informative, and pleasant. The families’ experiences and examples were truly a beautiful bonding experience, making us realize that we are not alone in the dilemmas and struggles that come with parenting. When you share these with people you don’t know, it somehow becomes easier, and you gain “friends” who understand you with just a glance. I particularly liked the topics of “Need for Love” and “I-messages” because they concern us as parents who don’t know what awaits us, but they teach us how to behave in certain situations, how to be content, and how to recharge our batteries to be good, composed, and patient with our children.
As for improvements to the program, it would be beneficial to have an association of this kind for parents, and children could also be involved, especially for the teenage period… It would be helpful, maybe I’m digressing, to have counseling for difficult moments that happened during the workshops, concerning the whole family… How to cope with that pain? Yes, we would shed some tears, but we need that. To express our feelings, give advice, support each other, and cry because we usually hold back our tears at home so that our little ones don’t see us. In general, we all need support, our children need ours, and we need yours, all of you – PEOPLE. There is no perfection. We just need to accept the situation we find ourselves in and find the best or easiest solution from there. Who can do that? That’s why I would recommend the “Support, Not Perfection” program, to express our perspectives, realize our mistakes, receive and give advice, and understand that in life, love, hugs, support, and communication are essential for preserving family and friendships.
Hello, I am Marija, and I am 27 years old. My small family consists of my son Dušan, who will soon be 2 years old, my husband Nikola, and me. We decided to attend the “Support, Not Perfection” program together, while our child was in the children’s area.
Dušan is a very lively and playful child; he started daycare at the age of one and was warmly welcomed by the group. He cooperates very well and looks forward to going to daycare. We enrolled in the program primarily to exchange opinions and learn new methods to become better and more qualified parents for our child.
Of course, we all have a lot of responsibilities, and every day is a challenge and a race between work, house chores, and parenthood. I can say that as parents, we function well because we participate together in everything and with good organization, we manage to complete all the tasks scheduled for the day.
Personally, what I needed the most was advice on how to deal with unexpected anger and tantrums as we are going through a period of constant exploration. During the program, we adopted a bedtime reading routine and describing daily situations and everything around us. And we are gradually introducing other techniques. We are now spending more quality time together.
The program is very useful, especially in the times we live in, which, unfortunately, seem to be getting more challenging. I agree with other parents that it would be good to develop a program specifically for parents of teenagers, considering the daily news and conflicts surrounding us.
Finally, I would like to praise the program facilitator, our dear Ivana, who selflessly shared personal examples and situations with her child.
I would recommend the program to all parents who want to progress, hear and listen to useful advice, and improve their parenting skills. To improve their family and become better versions of themselves.
Marija and Ivan Dinić
Our family consists of dad Ivan, mom Marija, daughter Elena, grandma, and grandpa. We live in a family house with a small yard in the village of Zabrđe near Petrovac na Mlavi. Dad Ivan works as a security officer and, being a lover of small animals, is also engaged in breeding and selling parrots, pigeons, hamsters, and rabbits. Mom Marija is a nutritionist by profession, currently unemployed. Besides daily household chores, she dedicates most of her time to Elena. She loves flowers, especially cacti, and tries to collect as many different types as possible. Elena is the youngest member of our family, the main source of our happiness, joy, and laughter. She is a cheerful and curious little girl. She can be quite mischievous at times. She loves spending time outdoors, in the park, and playing with other children.
Her favorite toy is a purple teddy bear she never parts with. Grandma works in the police and usually spends the rest of the day in the garden and greenhouse, while grandpa takes care of sheep and goats. Our beloved pets, dog Gina and cat Tiger, are also part of our family. That’s our family in a nutshell, just like any other family, but still special in its own way.
We decided to attend the “Support, Not Perfection” program based on the recommendation of parents who had already gone through it and had positive impressions. One important aspect we learned from the workshops is the significance of routines and why it is essential to nurture them in the family. Also, the importance of setting short-term goals to achieve long-term ones. We learned how crucial it is to read to children from an early age, which is why we joined the library and borrow 2 books every week. We are also making an effort to completely eliminate the habit of using cartoons on the phone to put Elena to sleep.
One possible improvement for the program could be motivating more dads to attend, as it is mostly moms who participate.
Our recommendation for other parents would be that the workshops are both useful and interesting, so time flies by, experiences are exchanged, and on each occasion, you hear something new that is worth applying in parenting.
Petrovac na Mlavi, see you in October! This program is organized with the help of Generali osiguranje Serbia and their global initiative The Human Safety Net.