The story of Marko's journey through parenting and its challenges

In unfortunate circumstances, I was lucky that I found myself here. It was an ugly road that guided me to the workshops, but I am grateful that I got the opportunity to participate.

“My name is Mario; I am 47 and the father of three children. My oldest is 26, and the two from the second marriage are 7 and 4.
After a conflict with my wife and then a tragic event in the family, two of my children ended up in a Group Home. It was a shock for me. I was mentally ill. It was my first encounter with the Centre for Social Welfare and the Group Home. I did everything for the children to come home. I visited them and collaborated with the Services. 

I learned about the workshop "Rastimo zajedno" from the psychologist who worked with my children. It sounded like something positive. And I was ready to accept everything related to children and education. What attracted me the most was the title (Grow up together) and the description of the workshop where there is joint work with children. It was also an opportunity to get extra time with them while they lived in the Group Home.

That period of my life was very complicated for me. I needed support. A group of parents in a similar situation meant a lot to me. This method of learning about childcare is better in a group because we share our experiences and receive new knowledge from the trainers. What you learn there can be used in everyday situations. Immediately after the workshop. Even today. And tomorrow.

Putting theory into practice.

I wanted to come to all the workshops. I also went to the workshops when the children were sick. No one is born with knowledge. I had parenting experience with an older child and thought I knew everything. Well, not all, but at least 70% of it. At the last meeting, I admitted that I may have known about 15% of what parenting is about before attending these workshops.

The best part of the workshop is the joint game. Games are fun. It was challenging because I was the only parent with two children at the game. I struggled with natural jealousy: who to commit to, who to start the game with, who to choose first. That experience means a lot to me today when we are back home. I see that these are everyday situations between brother and sister.

I am happy to return to my notes when I find myself in a "questionable" situation. When I have doubts, I try remembering the same topic from the workshop. Sometimes, I go to read the notes. When I tried the lessons and they worked for me, I was happy to share them with other parents. I know it works, and it's not just my private experience.

Sometimes, I hang out with parents from our group. Children are hanging out. I am also looking forward to some new joint group meetings”.
Rastimo zajedno is The Human Safety Net’s For Families programme partner in Croatia and it is part of our Scale-Up programme.