NPH Honduras OneFamily Parent Workshop: Preparing for Adolescence
NPH Honduras OneFamily program discusses strategies on how to support reintegrated children and their caregivers at the onset of adolescence.
September 20, 2019 - Honduras
Adolescence, a term used to describe the transition from childhood to adulthood, has great significance all around the world. Taking place on a physical, psychological, and social level, it’s a multifaceted process further defined by individual experience and the context in which a person lives. Though it can be a difficult stage for both caregiver and child, adolescence can lead to a productive adulthood if supported in a healthy atmosphere.
But what if you’re raising a teenager in one of Honduras’s impoverished neighborhoods where teen pregnancy and violence are common? On top of that, what if you’ve recently reassumed the caregiver role after living a significant time apart from your children? These are the types of situations that the NPH Honduras OneFamily team is addressing in the second installment of their workshop series for caregivers in their program.
Since 2016, children formerly cared for by NPH Honduras and NPH Guatemala have been reintegrated with their families based on the recommendations of the homes’ multidisciplinary teams and government authorities. Upholding NPH’s mission to provide each child with a long-term continuum of care, the NPH Honduras OneFamily program serves to extend social, medical, economic, and psychological services to 46 reintegrated youth and their families.
Just last year, our team of trained social workers and psychologists reported making 182 visits to homes and schools throughout the country, with 100% of children receiving a wellness check at local health centers and 81% passing the academic year.
After hosting an inaugural workshop on discipline and making follow-up visits with families in their homes, the OneFamily team identified the need to facilitate open communication among caregivers and their adolescent children.
Like teenagers anywhere, the ones in our program are experiencing a greater desire for independence and they are testing boundaries.
“At that age, many kids want to do the opposite of what their parents say,” explains the team’s psychologist Cristhian Ordoñez, “and with plenty of negative influences like dropping out of school, consuming drugs and alcohol, or joining a gang, loss of caregiver-child communication puts children at even higher risk.”
“We don’t know how to deal with this, especially because some of us didn’t have mothers or fathers ourselves there to guide us, so we want to be better for our kids,” stated one mother during the session.
Over the span of three days, the team traveled far and wide across Honduras, visiting the capital Tegucigalpa, the town of Taulabé located in the center of the country, and the northern town of Tela, delivering the workshop to 16 caregivers and covering topics like puberty, sex, romantic relationships, peer pressure, the evolution gender roles, and the influence of social media.
Social worker Jenny Funez encouraged participation by saying, “Everyone here is a teacher. We [the OneFamily team] have the theory, but you have the experiences.”
She continued by letting the participants know that mistakes in childcare, though inevitable, can be improved upon through reflection. “As parents you can’t always stop your kids from experimenting, but you can support them during this time through open communication about these topics and clear orientation.”
Group discussions were interspersed with interactive activities that allowed the caregivers to reflect, share, and exchange personal accounts all the while teaching them and reinforcing practical strategies on dealing with their teenagers.
When asked what she thought of the program, a mother of two teenage daughters and a pre-teen son said, “Being a caregiver is never easy, especially when your children are going through adolescence. It is a difficult time for them, as well as the parents. The topics are good because we learn about things we don’t know about, and it helps us change how we treat a situation. It’s continuous learning. Thank God to NPH for the support. The workshop is helping us become better caregivers.”
For more information on how to support more caregivers and children in our OneFamily program please contact your local NPH office.