Growing up Together – Count Us In! consists of three components: a programme of 15 weekly, 90-minutes-long workshops with parents (Pećnik et al., 2020), aiming to enhance parents’ psychosocial resources for positive parenting, and a programme of workshops with their children (3-6 years old) (Klarić & Jularić, 2020) that are run simultaneously with the aim to support children’s wellbeing and resilience. Those workshops are followed by a 30-minutes session of joint parent-child play focused to strengthening parent- child secure attachment (Klarić et al., 2020). Workshops are facilitated by psychologists and social workers with additional training.
Outcomes of the Growing up Together – Count Us In! programme for vulnerable parents in adverse parenting circumstances were tested in two evaluation studies during the piloting phase of programme development (in 2018 and 2019) (Pećnik, Modić Stanke & Bušljeta, 2021.).
Pre- and post- intervention self-report data were collected from parents with standardised questionnaires (Parenting Daily Hassles; Parental self-efficacy; Parent’s reactions to child’s misbehaviour - attempted understanding and angry outbursts;; developmentally positive (reading, playing) and negative (shouting, hitting) interaction; Parental beliefs and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire for child that has participated in programme of workshops for children.
Results from 26 groups that participated in test implementation (N=148 parents who completed the programme) reveal the expected changes in how parents feel and behave in parental role, including significant decrease in parenting stress (both in the number of stressors encountered in parental role, and the intensity of distress parents have experienced in coping with those stressors).
After the program parents reported an increase in parental self-efficacy beliefs, and in positive, developmentally desirable interaction with the child as well as a decrease in frequency of shouting at and hitting the child.
Through the course of the 15 workshops with vulnerable preschool children, facilitators observed that children develop more positive self- concept, become aware of their capabilities, including the ability to understand own emotions and emotions of others. They are also more able to find sources of support in coping with difficult situations.
- "Time has flown by quickly and I can't believe it's over. It was nice and useful, especially because I and my children had time for ourselves."
- "I'm proud of myself because now I have a lot of self-confidence, which I didn't have before."
- "Every parent needs this kind of group experioece and support."
- "These workshops helped me a lot. I think I'm a better parent now.”
- "This should be offered to everyone; the workshops are great."
- "My child is happier since we attended the workshops, and I am happy too."
- "This was a very valuable experience for me, I made new friends and I always felt safe and accepted."