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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


VARGAS RUBILAR, Jael; LEMOS, Viviana  y  RICHAUD, María Cristina. Program of parental strengthening in contexts of social vulnerability: A proposal from the school environment. Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2017, vol.34, n.1, pp.157-172. ISSN 1668-7027.

This study stresses the significant role of the family and a proper parenting performance for human development. Parenting in itself is very complex, since it demands a balanced combination of several essential factors such as affection, communication, discipline, and the autonomy granted to children. Given the fact that parental skills would be related to a specific social context, a description of the characteristics of families in situations of social vulnerability is provided. Likewise, it is noteworthy that parenting development would depend on those cultural considerations implicated in the concept of being good parents, and the parents or caregivers’ own experiences of upbringing, temperament and resilience. Subsequently, the main modalities of family intervention programs are reviewed, highlighting the importance of design, implementation and evaluation of the former in contexts of social vulnerability. Within this frame work, and considering that in Argentine there are very few programs supporting families in social vulnerability, the main aim of this research is to present an intervention proposal to strengthen parenting skills applicable in the school setting. The proposed program, which is based in the approach of positive parenting, integrates elements from educational and community intervention models, since it is performed in groups, by means of participative and expositive meetings and in coordination with the school attended by the children of the project participants. The proposed intervention was based on two basic areas: (a) direct intervention for parents: the promotion of parenting skills (i.e., attachment, parental empathy, parenting style, positive communication and support networks) and (b) indirect intervention for children: training parents in strategies to promote children’s development of socio-emotional resources (e.g., positive emotions, prosocial behavior, etc.). The intervention was carried out in a school within a context of social vulnerability in the province of Entre Ríos (Argentina). The organization of the meetings was conducted by an interdisciplinary team (i.e., psychologists and educational psychologists). The topics addressed were agreed with the participants based on their interests and needs; a total amount of 30 meetings of 60 to 90 minutes each were carried out. The themes were as follows: parental and child self-esteem, appropriate expression of affection, positive communication and conflict resolution, positive emotions, the strengthening of cognitive resources, prosocial behavior, social skills, family, parental and child resilience, social support networks to families and family-school relationships. The main approach techniques used were: (a) information exposure, (b) peers' feedback and co-reflection, (c) modeling of attitudes and alternative behaviors, (d) task assignments and proposals for action, and (e) interviews after workshops. The research findings are related to those found by other intervention programs made with parents and caregivers in other countries. These preliminary results show that parenting skills, the type of relationship and even the attachment with the children could be modified through the implementation of programs of parental strengthening. Furthermore, the results showed that the program could also help to improve family-school relationships. In some cases, the intervention implemented aroused the interest of the participants in the schooling situation of their children, and at the same time it improved the communication among parents, teachers, and the people in charge of the school. The exploratory results of this proposal of intervention clearly show the need to support and implement these specific kinds of programs, which aim to strengthen the resources of parenting skills and encourage a healthy development of children. Based on the experience got from interventionists and participating mothers, a final consideration about the contributions of the proposed intervention and the possible future challenges observed after the implementation of the program is presented.

Palabras clave : Parenting; Parental education; Intervention; Family-school relationship; Social vulnerability.

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