Christmas month and the ending of the year also marked the end of discussion group gatherings taking place since April in Rakvere, Estonia. Pille Murrik, lecturer at Tallinn University Rakvere College, psychotherapist and trainer in Gordon Family School, summed up the meetings.
„A man is a social being and needs to communicate with others. The discussion group evenings offered an opportunity to share both own experiences as well as listen to others’. The participants appreciated the possibility of being able to come out of their everyday routine, take their children with them and meet others while their children were taken care of and offered fun activities. A one of children explained: „While Moms have a discussion group evening, we kids have a fun evening!“
It is tiresome to bear the responsibility and the role of the parent alone while the significant other is away and working abroad. We discussed the factors laying behind the decisions for work migration; which difficulties could have been dealt with beforehand and which factors were totally unexpected. It was especially important for those who have yet to consent their husband’s working abroad. We focused on communication issues with both children and husbands and according to the feedback from the participants, the conversations helped to acknowledge the needs of their own as well as the needs of family members; diminish the probability for usual communication failures and learn to acknowledge and understand different situations also from the point of view of husband and children. The participants are consciously working on their relationship (i.e. listening to the partner, giving positive feedback, taking time as a couple etc). It was delightful to see how open and active the participants were.”
The feedback was very positive. „I see a much bigger picture now “, one of the participants said. Also, the women attending the discussion group expressed their wish for the evenings to continue in order for them to share their experiences and find support.
Two guests took part in the last discussion group evening. Keiu Telve and Pihla Maria Siim from Tartu University have done research on families with one member working abroad. They have focused on the living arrangements of such families in the context of Estonia and Finland and the impact of such arrangements on the family members. The guests gave an overview of their research and shared their experiences. Keiu Telve concentrated on the point of view of men by using the example of Estonian men working in Finland. Pihla Maria Siim gave an overview on how such living arrangement impact children’s lives and wellbeing.