Parental Support for Reunited Families
How NPH Honduras provides parental workshops and trainings for families in the NPH OneFamily Program.
November 26, 2018 - Honduras
There’s no ultimate guide on raising a child, and even if there were, it’s unlikely that all caregivers would get it right on the first try. Child rearing is challenging, and if the child has spent a significant time away from home, as is the case with many of the children at NPH, the task becomes even more daunting. That’s why the NPH OneFamily Program in Honduras – a family reintegration program for children whose families’ situations outside of NPH have drastically improved since they joined NPH – has introduced a new series of workshops specifically created to help caregivers and their children successfully make the transition back to living together.
Since its foundation in 2017, a total of 61 kids have been enrolled in our NPH OneFamily program, making it the largest program of its kind at NPH Honduras. As such, a team of psychologists and social workers dedicates itself to individually reviewing and following up with each case. They ensure success by providing a continuation of social, psychological, and economic services, maintaining a close relationship with the family, and collaborating with state authorities to guarantee the child's well-being.
In line with their efforts to improve the quality of their services, the team attends trainings with other NPH OneFamily programs to discuss their progress. After one such training in Guatemala last spring, our team recognized the need to offer workshops for parents to supplement the support that they provide the families during home visits.
“It’s an important transition in the lives of both the parents’ and the kids’ lives,” notes NPH Honduras’ social worker with the program, Jenny Funes. Nevertheless, it’s a transition that comes with its own set of challenges.
“Since the kids grew up here [NPH], they don’t think that the same rules apply in their homes.” The caregivers sometimes have difficulties motivating their kids to study or do chores, and often lose influence to those of their children’s peers, which she says results in “the parents being just as stressed out as the kids.”
Based on observations of caregiver-child interactions, the team created a curriculum derived from instructive material from NPH, UNICEF, and Honduras’ department of education that addresses such issues by encouraging the practice of positive reinforcement, discipline, and effective communication. In hosting workshops, they hoped to create an open space for caregivers to meet, share their personal experiences, process their challenges, and work together to come up with practical solutions for the future.
Thus ‘Padres Que Dejan Huellas,’ or ‘Parents who Make a Mark,’ was born. Mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents came from all over the country to attend the workshops hosted in Tegucigalpa, Tela, and Taulabé. The day would consist of a mix of group activities and presentations by the staff. Topics included strategies on how to discipline children with tenderness, setting limits, and facilitating communication.
The act of sharing, reflecting, and learning from each other and the staff created an atmosphere of trust, which left the parents feeling more confident in themselves and their ability to support their families.
A mother of four who was recently reunited with her children in September mentioned, “I want to study for my kids, be a better person for them. Thank goodness for the help of my friends, some pastors, and the psychologists at NPH. With the help of God, I know that I can make it through.” To which many of the other participants shook their heads in agreement, as if to say, “I know exactly what you’re going through.”
‘Cambio yo para entender a mi hijo,’ or ‘I’ll change to understand my child,’ the program’s motto, is central to the work that our team is doing to support these families. We want them to know that we are here for them and that there exists an opportunity to change for the better.
“You aren’t alone, you have the support of NPH, we’re here for you just as much as we’re here for the kids. It’s not too late to take back the things that we did wrong and change them into positives,” reinforced Funes.
This upcoming spring, the team hopes to have three more workshops to follow-up with the participant’s progress and create a social network of caregivers that they can support each other before, during, and after their children reintegrate back into the family.