In the SOS Children's Village Hinterbrühl, not only children who cannot grow up with their biological parents find a new home. Within the framework of parent-child living, families, i.e. children together with their parents, also move into the SOS Children's Village. There, they are cared for by educators for a period of about two years. The aim is to support the families in their everyday challenges and to enable them to stay together and lead an independent life again in the long term.
"Moving into my own small apartment in the SOS Children's Village Hinterbrühl was very positive for me. It felt to me like getting a little piece of freedom and independence," says Verena T. Ms. T. is the mother of two children, who were six and two years old when she moved into the parent-child living facility. She herself has a mental illness. She has repeatedly encountered major challenges in raising her children. "I have always felt completely alone in raising my children," says Mrs. T. "My husband has always believed that this is the mother's sole responsibility." At the same time, Mrs. T has also been embarrassed for not being in control of parenting when people on the subway have overheard her son's raving, or neighbors have complained about noisy siblings.
"I was very burdened and my problems grew bigger and bigger," Verena T. says. "I couldn't cope with the household, couldn't handle money and regularly forgot appointments." Ms. T says that her life was always very much determined by her parents. While they generously supported her financially, they also made her feel like she wasn't doing anything right and were always eager to impose their view of things on her.
"It was very brave that Mrs. T. got herself help and then also decided herself to change her life on all levels and dare to take the step to independence," says Dzenana Bilic, pedagogue and family counselor of family T. at SOS Children's Village. Mrs. T. changed all areas of her life with one step. She separated from her husband, ended her dependence on her parents and actively sought help and care for her family.
"I had a great desire to change my life. This wish has also come true for me," said Mrs. T. This step started the intensive care from and exhausting work with her family counselor Dzenana Bilic. "We worked together very well and, as you can see today, successfully, but achieving this was not always easy, but definitely also very sweaty," explains Bilic. "It was very important to bring calm and structure into the life of the family." That has meant creating a stable foundation with basic things. This included creating a financial plan and training to get by until the end of the month with the financial resources they had.
It was also very important to establish a good daily structure, i.e. to organize the family well. "That means having all the appointments in mind, organizing therapies for the mother and the children, and also networking and working well together among the various groups of helpers, such as therapists, pedagogue, social worker," says Bilic.
"I was finally able to find peace," says Mrs. T. "It was nice to see how the relationship between Mrs. T. and her children developed as a result of this peace and the strengthened daily routine. The children allowed closeness and were very happy when their mother came home from work, for example," says Bilic. "It's very important for us to help parents perceive their children's needs and understand how they relate to their own behavior."
"I was and am very proud now to lead an independent life, not to be dependent on my parents or my husband anymore," Verena T. tells. After about one and a half years in the parent-child living in the SOS Children's Village Hinterbrühl, Mrs. T. and her children moved into their own apartment. For six months, Ms. Bilic continued to visit her once a week as part of the aftercare program. Recently, the aftercare was completed and family T. was released into independence.