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The Path of Parenting is not Always a Straight Line

by , 27th Jan 2020

We all remember childhood as the most beautiful part of life… Or, at least, that is how it should be. My childhood wasn’t like that. 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. That part always just kept disappearing. My wife comes from a completely different kind of family situation. Her parents, united around their family, slowly built their future together. My wife 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.

Even though the meeting of my wife and I seems like the confirmation of the thesis that opposites attract, we like to think that we are together due to a lot of more important reasons.

Today, our family has seven members. Our five children are slowly growing and leading us through life. It wasn’t always exactly a straight line. We draw our strength from our unity and rely on one another.

While traveling on this path, like-minded people happen to come upon one another. This is exactly what happened with the program “Support, not perfection” by the Novak Djokovic Foundation which accidentally reached us too. However, taught by experience – I do not trust it, just in case!

My wife and I like to think that we are together due to a lot of more important reasons. Today, our family has seven members.

My wife and I like to think that we are together due to a lot of more important reasons. Today, our family has seven members.

Program “Support, not perfection” offered us some new outlooks on raising children. It offered us arguments that alternatives exist and helped us to set our priorities straight. When I say that, I primarily refer to those details which one misses because of the speed and the tempo of life in today’s world. New techniques we learned for work with children, as well as management of our behavior relative to the child’s needs, are very precious. These simple strategies are the basis of this program and their utilization at workshops grounded in scientific knowledge and practice is something that is extremely useful.

Perfection does not exist and there are no recipes.

"Parents should be aware that their everyday behavior with a child must be guided by their long-term goal – the child’s best development.” - Smiljana Grujic, one of the authors and the coordinator of the "Support, not perfection" program.

“Parents should be aware that their everyday behavior with a child must be guided by their long-term goal – the child’s best development.” – Smiljana Grujic, one of the authors and the coordinator of the “Support, not perfection” program.

This program showed us how contra-productive to build a relationship with your child based on fear. It showed us how important it is to calm yourself before we do anything. How important it is to be at peace with oneself, in order to achieve what is important to oneself, and what is compliant with the values we wish to teach our children. Also, hanging out with other parents, the stories you hear from them, their experiences in raising children make all of this even more valuable.

The realization that all the challenges you are facing are faced by other parents as well and that sense of belonging are very empowering and motivating.

Regardless of how much we have learned and progressed in terms of raising our children, there is still room for improvement. Children grow up fast and, suddenly, you have a teenager, a baby and those in-between in the house, each with their own needs and views of the world.

We are sure that the experiences we had the opportunity to experience as part of the program “Support, not perfection” organized by the Novak Djokovic Foundation will help us solve many issues arising today, primarily taking into account our children’s needs, while not neglecting our own as parents and as spouses. This was certainly a CHALLENGE for us, where we certainly made the right CHOICE, and we hope for and believe in the best OUTCOME.


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.

4 comments

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  • okoronovember@gmail.com' November Chizurumoke says:

    Today, I realize how blessed I am to have come from a family with both parents alive and together.
    Children who come from homes with separated or divorced parents should be shown love and support by all and sundry.
    They are going through a lot of emotional stress and some of them feel that they are not being loved and may not find true love any where.

    • NDFAdmin says:

      That’s true! Children who come from homes with separated or divorced parents especially need the right support so they could grow with all the emotional turbulences.

  • jessahfelton@gmail.com' Steve Ross says:

    Have you ever thought about what forces affect how you are now as an adult? Then, think back to the time when you were but a mere young child. Go down memory lane. Do you remember the time where you were playing with the water at the yard? Or the time where you were told a story before going to bed? When you think about it, there are so many memories locked inside your head. Those memories can be delightful memories and it can also be horrible ones. Please check my blog about How Childhood Upbringing Affects Adulthood

    Hope this will help. Thank you.

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