How did many of us learn to "parent"? From watching our own parents raise us. For those parents who want to further develop their parenting skills and help their children work through youth issues, there are programs to assist. The "Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14" is a parent, youth, and family skills-building curriculum designed to prevent teen substance abuse and other behavior problems, strengthen parenting skills, and build family strengths.
The program is delivered with seven sessions for parents, youth, and families using realistic videos, role-playing, discussions, learning games, and family projects. Taught by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the research-based curriculum has been proven effective in:
* delaying the onset of adolescent substance use,
* lowering levels of aggression,
* increasing the resistance to peer pressure in youth,
* increasing the ability of parents/caregivers to set appropriate limits and show affection to and support of their children.
Features of the program include: parents and youth learn together, it is designed and used with ethnically diverse families in rural and urban settings, and it is scientifically evaluated and shown to be effective.
Analysis by the HYPERLINK "http://www.ppsi.iastate.edu/" Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute found a return of $9.60 for every dollar spent implementing this Strengthening Families Program. A second analysis by the HYPERLINK "http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/" Washington State Institute for Public Policy resulted in two benefits; a return of $7.82 for every dollar spent and a cost benefit of $5,805 for each participating youth in SFP 10-14.
As an example of the importance of parenting, research consistently demonstrates that parents are extremely important in preventing youth alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use. Parents who talk to their child about substance use and about everyday events can protect their child from using substances. Children are less likely to use substances when they remember their parents talking to them about their disapproval of using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Youth who also believe their parents are involved in their activities are less likely to use drugs.
Evidence shows that parents can also reduce their child's substance use by:
* Working together to communicate rules, boundaries, and values to their child,
* Knowing their child's friends and friends' parents,
* Being a good role model,
* Keeping apprised of their child's whereabouts and activities,
* Eating family meals together,
* Spending time together as a family, and
* Understanding their child's developmental stages to effectively parent.
If you are interested in learning more about further developing your parenting skills, contact your county ISU Extension and Outreach office and ask about upcoming sessions of the "Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14".