Parenting Skills Support for Single Mothers

Parenting Skills Support for Single Mothers

The Parenting Skills Support for Single Mothers project is an innovative program concerned with the development of mothers’ parenting personalities and skills. The creator of this comprehensive program, which was first implemented in 2012, is the personnel of Caritas of the Archdiocese of Prague, who have drawn on their many years of experience working with single mothers, especially with those living temporarily in the shelter.

The crucial idea of this program is the fact that a mother and child form the strongest yet most fragile bond. That which the mother "invests" into her child during childhood is essential for his or her future, and is unique.

This idea is unfortunately applicable not only to children, but also to the mothers themselves. It was found that mothers with children who turn to shelters for help are themselves in difficult circumstances - not only materially, but also psychologically and socially. They have no one to turn to, and tend to have non-functioning social ties and support. Shelters assist mothers in material need, but their distress is often much deeper. Mothers generally fail to find psychological help, and many find it difficult to accept it, despite the fact that psychological support is as important as material support for a healthy life. (This has been confirmed by the results of the current research project “Emotional Attachments in Clients of Shelters for Women with Children” conducted by the Department of Psychology of the Charles University Faculty of Arts.)

This project is innovative in that it supports the development of both social skills and the ability to give and receive support and care from others. In interaction groups, women learn both to listen to one another and share their worries and joys, but also to adjust their trust and caution levels according to the actual situation in which they find themselves, and not by generalized ways of thinking as they are accustomed to from their original families.

In this way, they broaden their interaction framework and options for responding to situations more appropriately than before. These experiences may allow them not only to better communicate with their loved ones, but also with potential employers or with shelter employees, and improve their work on their individual plan.

Video training interaction is very beneficial for individual work of mothers who have specific difficulties in communicating with their children. By using it, they can work effectively to improve their situation and thereby free capacity both for subsequent self-improvement, and for better care for their children’s development, whom they generally love, but because of their original families, they often do not know how to deal with them appropriately. Individual psychological consultations help mothers deal with both their personal crisis and long-term situations. Video training and interaction groups complement each other extremely well. During the project, mothers also receive training in practical care of children and family in the form of topical lectures and seminars.

In summary, the project provides comprehensive psychological and social support to improve the involvement of mothers in society, not least by increasing their ability to create new and better social ties, taking more conscious care of their children, and finding employment and increasing self-sufficiency. 

In 2014, a pilot scheme also provides support for mothers in their natural environment, i.e. in their own homes.

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