Learning About Parenting Together: A Programme to Support Parents with Inter-generational Concerns in Pune, India

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Rapid developments in the last few decades have brought about dramatic changes in Indian social life, particularly affecting new middle-class families. Inter-generational conflicts, high academic pressures, and modern anxieties lead to stress both in parents and in children. There is a need for parenting programmes that respond to these specific concerns, in order to reduce parenting stress and improve family well-being. This study aimed to develop and evaluate a parenting programme in Pune, India, based on a ‘theory of change’. In this pilot programme, parents were encouraged to learn in a group format about fostering autonomy in children, promoting academic potential in a stress-free manner and remaining in connection with adolescents. Facilitated by a psychologist, parents participated in four sessions involving ‘creativity and play’, ‘self-awareness and bonding’, and ‘communication’. The intervention was based on validated psychotherapeutic approaches and parenting methods to support parents in their learning. Some 16 in-depth interviews were conducted with parents before and eight interviews after the intervention to understand their learning experiences. Additional feedback was gathered from observation notes and debriefings after each session. The results show that the attention for playful quality time helped parents to (re)gain a more creative and flexible attitude towards spending time with their children. Second, parents learned to reflect on their frameworks of meaning (rooted in their own upbringing), listen attentively and communicate more mindful with their children. Furthermore, this study shows that an activity-based approach, connecting parents in co-creating new parenting paradigms, while supporting them with stress-reducing tools, is a useful way of engaging this target group. The study concludes by offering new perspectives for counsellors working with families in countries undergoing rapid change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalContemporary Family Therapy
Issue number1
Early online date18 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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