Launching ceremony for the book „Science and Art of Upbringing – A Practical Guide to Contemporary Upbringing for Parents and Educators“ by Prof. Sc. D. Gordana Buljan Flander, was held at the overcrowded Old City Hall in Zagreb. Besides Prof. Sc. D. Gordana Buljan Flander, as the main author and Editor-in-Chief, and Executive Editors Tea Brezinšćak and Mia Roje, book was written by 29 authors who are working or have been working at some point, at Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb and Brave phone.

Numerous goverment and city officials attended the launch:  Deputy Mayor of Zagreb Sc. D. Jelena Pavičić Vukičević, Emissary of the President of the Republic of Croatia Renata Margaretić Urlić, Minister of Justice Dražen Bošnjaković, Rector of the University of Zagreb Prof. Sc. D. Damir Boras,  Rector of the Zagreb cathedral mons. Josip Kuhtić, Child Protection Ombudsperson Helena Pirnat Dragičević, Gender Equality Ombudsperson Višnja Ljubičić, Ombudsperson’s for People with Disabilities Deputy Mira Pekeč – Knežević, and numerous other representatives of the ministries and the City of Zagreb, members of Croatian Parliament, deans, directors of city institutions and experts working with children.

Director of Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb on the need for writing this book about upbringing  

The event started with the movie „This is us“, filmed by the Center’s Youth Board which shows the side of growing up that adults often don’t see, which is burdened with many challenges. This movie strongly points out young people’s need for help support from parents and experts, especially for safe and supportive relationships.

– The movie by the Youth Board, which we have seen, is honest, poignant and powerful, as well as 18,000 stories of our children patients during past 16 years. The children’s suffering obliged us to try to find a way to prevent it, so that children get what they need mostly while growing up – love, support, understanding, encouragement and someone unconditionally theirs – safety in facing any challenges of growing up. This book was created as a response to these reflections – said the Director Prof. Sc. D. Gordana Buljan Flander in her introductory speech, and added:

– We tried to write his book in a way that it supports and encourages every adult who takes it into his/her hands, every parent and family who lets it into their home. We hope that our professional experience brought to wide-range public and contemporary access to education will help children and their parents to be safer and happier as they grow together. Dear friends, thank you very much for your support, on behalf of all 32 authors, 3 editors and numerous children and families whose lives will hopefully be touched by this book …

Prof. Sc. D. Gordana Buljan Flander also expressed special gratitude to the publisher Geromar for their great effort in creating and producing this book.

Deputy Mayor: „Practical and expert advices, as well as relevant scientific framework “

On behalf of the Zagreb’s Mayor Milan Bandić and the City of Zagreb, for whose support Prof. Sc. D. Buljan Flander expressed gratitude on this occasion, Deputy Mayor Ph.D. Jelena Pavičić Vukičević said:

– Thank you Prof. Sc. D. Gordana Buljan Flander, for gathering us here today and, as books Editor-in-Chief, for making it possible for the entire Croatian public to access this handbook to get a better and deeper understanding of all those secrets that childhood and adolescence bring with them, and which we also might have experienced ourselves, but have unfortunately forgotten by our adult age – said in her speech Deputy Mayor dr. sc. Jelena Pavičić Vukičević, and added:

– I was one of  the few privileged who got a chance to read this book immediately after publishing, and ahead of this launching ceremony. I skimmed through it, and also red a bit, and I have to admit that the illustrations are really wonderful, and that everyone will find something for themselves in this handbook. Every family that cares for its members, every family that holds every member as equal, especially children, I believe that they will reach for this book. I believe that they will find not only practical and professional advices, but also relevant scientific framework. This is a great success for Prof. Sc. D. Buljan Flander, and also for the whole Center and for the entire healthcare system of the City of Zagreb. We are very proud and grateful – said Deputy Mayor at the end of her speech and congratulated everyone involved in the creating of the book “Science and Art of Upbringing”.

Emissary of the Croatian President: “If only there was a manual for parenting … And now here it is”

Renata Margaretić Urlić, Emissary of the Croatian President spoke of the importance of working with young people, investing in young people, which, she says, is consistently supported by the President. On this occasion, she reminded of the co-operation between the President and the Center, which is systematic and permanent. From personal experience, she said:

– I only regret that this book wasn’t published when I was a young mother because, of course, we have all been there and we all had that thought ” if there was some parenthood recipe, if there was a parenting manual…” And now, here it is – said in her speech, Croatian President’s Emissary Renata Margaretić Urlić.

Academician Mirna Šitum: “It would be best to describe this book as an encyclopedia about love”

Academician Mirna Šitum wrote the preface of the book “Science and Art of  Upringing”. Her address to the assembled began with the following words:

– Dear Editor-in-Chief, esteemed authors of this book, which has been modestly described as a practical handbook on contemporary upbringing, and according to my free academic assessment, this should at least be a textbook,  one scientific-artistic  monograph about love, and it would be most appropriate to say, the encyclopedia about love.

The academician concluded her emotional speech with the following:

– When it comes to books, we cannot ask for recipes about parenthood. What we need to find in is an answer how to react in moments of our weakness,  so that we don’t disturb the trust and affiliation with our child, and sometimes also how to really understand what is happening with our child. We don’t need to look for love tips in books. Finally, the book “Science and Art of Upbringing” teaches us how parenting helps to establish the gentle bonds between our child and the rest of the great world.

Expert reviewer Prof. Sc. D. Vesna Bilić: “We thank to Prof. Sc. D. Gordana Buljan Flander who has once more created with her team something important, great and useful for the benefit of children”

Peer reviewers Prof. Sc. D. Vesna Bilić and Prof. Sc. D. Predrag Zarevski presented the book.

– It’s very difficult to be a parent in these times. It was probably always difficult but today it is more demanding than ever. First reason for this is that we have a lot of additional caretakers, the parents are not the only caretakers. Second reason is that we are exposed to the sea of ​​information, which is unchecked, often inaccurate, on social networks, on forums, which confuses parents. We don’t know which of these information is true and whether we should behave according to them. That is why it was extremely important to write a book as “Science and the Art of Upbringing” and in some way prevent bad practice that leads to the situation where children must spend the rest of their lives recovering from bad childhood and parents suffer greatly because of some of their wrongful practices – said Prof. Sc. D. Vesna Bilić.

– That is why I thank Prof. Sc. D. Buljan Flander for creating something important with her team again, something great and what fascinates me, something very useful for the benefit of the children by helping their parents. It’s important to note: when we help the parents, we help the children. Parents are loving and have good intentions, but sometimes they need to know how to properly guide their children and help them grow into healthy people. Although this book is primarily intended for parents and future parents, which is very important, I estimate that it will be a very interesting book for all the other professionals working with children. I believe it will encourage adult responsibility and contribute to the development of healthy and happy children, but also of more satisfied parents.

Reviewer Prof. Sc. D. Predrag Zarevski: “90% of parenthood needs to be knowledge, and this book offers this useful knowledge”

Prof. Sc. D. Predrag Zarevski addressed the issue of responsible parenting in particular:

– In my judgment, the theme of responsible parenting was very neglected in our society, because of two completely wrong stereotypes. The first is ” my parents did not read anything about parenting, and I turned out fine” And the other is: “Love is enough.” Yes, love is very important but not enough … Some people are naturally good parents, musicians, friends… but 90% of parenting is knowledge, and this book offers this useful knowledge.

Executive Editor Mia Roje: “The book conveys our knowledge and experience, as well as a lot of support and understanding for the parents”

Executive editors of the book are psychologists from the Center, Mia Roje and Tea Brezinšćak. Mia Roje addressed the audience:

– It was very important to us as editors that this book does not provide instant advices and solutions. It also doesn’t condemn or judge parents. It conveys knowledge and experience, but it does so with a lot of love, support and understanding for the parents, while giving a very clear structure. And that is exactly what we always say to parents and educators that children need – gentle guidance through their development.

The youngest reviewers – girls of the Children’s Board of the Center

After that the girls from the Children’s Board came out in front of the audience, as the youngest reviewers of the book, in which are especially represented children’s messages to adults, their drawings and letters. They read their impressions of what the book’s messages to parents:

“Pay more attention to our behavior than to our grades”

“Think about our feelings – be proud of your children”

“Spend time with children, watch out for your children, love all your children equally, provide the children with love” ”

“Respect your children, respect the rights of children, encourage all your children even when they make mistakes, support the children in what they like and in what they are interested in, but within reason ”

“Encourage your children, provide your children with what they need, children are important friends and family”

Finally their concluded: “Parents, sometimes you need support too, feel free to look for it”

The experience of mom Stela from the Parent’s Board of the Center

Mom Stela shared her experience of the Center:

– First thing I learned at the Center from Prof. Sc. D. Buljan Flander, Prim. Domagoj Štimac. MD and everyone else who has had the pleasure of working with us, is that I don’t have to be a perfect parent but just a good enough parent. It is difficult to find this balance, but they helped us to find peace in the whole situation. And the Center is always there to direct you and show you which way to go. Why? Today, in the 21st century there is a whole range of information on the internet, guidelines, conventions, laws, positive and other regulations, and other standard procedures on how to raise your child. However, as I read, I was all confused. And I needed someone who would take my hand and say “This is the right path and you can just keep going,” which is the foundation, love and support for your child. It’s hard, I can’t say it’s not, but I can say that the Center mostly works with the usual stressful life situations, not exclusively with serious life traumas. They deal with adolescence as a monster for itself, child rebellion, problems in school, loss of family, mourning and divorce …

Our little friends of the Center, the children who performed and celebrated the 15th birthday of the Center, brother and sister Dino and Karla Miklaužić, were also with us on this occasion. Their musical performance showed a true example of family co-operation.

The songs messages about “faith in love” and how “to live and to love and to be good” and that children are “someone”, touched our hearts and inspired us to continue to work together to protect children.

Photographed by: Robert Valai



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