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January 15, 2018
Peace starts at home
Parents of teenagers often find themselves at a loss trying to connect with their children, who are learning to test boundaries, explore new identities, and confront growing social pressures. Ruslan Shaltikov, father of a fifteen-year-old, struggled to maintain authority with his son, even resorting to physical punishments to attempt to teach his son a lesson. “Over the last two years, our relationship has suffered significantly, as he practically refused to recognize my role as his father. It has been very difficult. I tried many times to fix the situation, but only with limited success. I felt like the primary problem was me.”
It was the Parent Group at Public School #45, where his son is a student, that gave Ruslan a new perspective. With the support of school staff and other parents, Ruslan learned new techniques for more effective parenting, including new communication strategies and simple alternatives to physical punishment. “I started to put my new knowledge into practice, and it works,” reports Ruslan. “Simple things work, even without using force or pressure!” While their relationship didn’t improve overnight, he says they can already see progress at home. “I’ve been able to rebuild my relationship with my son, which I was starting to lose. It’s terrifying to think where we would have been if I hadn’t attended the Parent’s Group…Thanks to your work, peace has returned to my family.”
The Parent Group at Public School #45 was created as part of a pilot professional development program for school psychologists and support staff, and is coordinated by the Women’s Leadership Fund as part of their TEENS initiative. The program emphasizes the importance of the ‘Parent Group’ method in schools in order to strengthen the first line of defense against teen suicide – the immediate family. Following completion of the pilot phase, the program model will be sent to the Ministry of Education and Science for final approval and adoption.
TEENS is made possible by support from the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia’s Good Governance Initiative Fund, with funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID).