Reducing Parental Stress and Parental Stress Transmission: Evaluating the Effects of a Parenting Intervention in Pune, India. (WC2013-082 )


Starting date: 10/03/2014

BACKGROUND: The interest in this project is to help reducing stress and the transition of parental stress to youth in urban populations in India. Since a few decades, significant changes related to processes of scientific, technological and industrial liberalization, urbanization and globalization, are occurring in some sectors of Indian society, resulting in social , cultural and  economic upheaval. Through these processes, traditional norms and values are increasingly losing territory within and around families.

In such contexts, where people are diverted from their core values and confronted with such changes, feelings of uncertainty, stress and anxiety may arise. In India, suicide rates among young people {age bracket: 15-29]  are historically high; in India they account for 35.4 % of all suicide cases (NCRB, 2012). Parental expectations and pressures, in interaction with a demanding and competitive education system, are often held responsible for a great deal of anxiety in students.  

For many Indian parents the wish for their children to educationally (and consequently:/, economically) succeed is upmost priority. Because of the increased competition, parents often also have little choice but to coincide with the education rush that exists in India, where supply lags far behind demand.  This means that parents feel compelled towards pushing their children to do a sufficient amount of homework and succeed in school. Meanwhile, other factors, such as generation gaps and modernizing surroundings for youth (internet, social media), have changed the dynamics of the parent-child relationship, particularly in urban families.

This action research project focuses on this complex tension field. With a team of NGO- staff and volunteers, professionals in education and child psychology, as well as researchers, we develop and implement interventions to support parents with adolescent children in thinking and learning about topics that relate to the parent-child relationship. In this interactive programs, parents work together on topics such as parent-child communication, play & creativity and bonding. Throughout the program, a psychologist also stimulates parents to expore their own anxiety and stress and to learn how they can soften this burden. Hereby we hope to help prevent the transmission of parental stress to youth who cannot cope with this burden.