Family Relationships or Parenting Skills


Externalizing Behavior

Intervention Family

Skill-Building Interventions

Family Relationships or Parenting Skills

For skill-building interventions, content addressing parenting skills or family relationships may not be as beneficial as other content targeting externalizing behavior.

Is your program faced with tight resources and the need to prioritize which services you offer? It may be useful to weigh the costs and benefits of offering content that the evidence indicated had smaller effects on externalizing behavior.

While the skill-building family of interventions showed some of the strongest impacts on externalizing behavior on our analysis, those that inclued parenting and family relationship services tended to have smaller, though still positive, effects on externalizing behavior compared to interventions without this content. Including parenting skills or family functioning content in a skill-building intervention may not be the most direct way to address youth behavior problems, especially among youth who may already be exhibiting such problems.

Programs may have other goals, such as child-parent attachment, that require parenting and family relationship services; our analysis suggests that skill-building programs with the primary goal of decreasing externalizing behavior may not require them. Thus, if resources are limited, you might consider reallocating resources to other content that the evidence shows would be more beneficial in supporting youth behavior change.

Consider the following in examining your program:

  • Assess the degree of focus your program has on improving parenting skills and family relationships, and the reasons for including these services. If the primary reason is to decrease youth externalizing behaviors, consider shifting emphasis toward youth-focused content, such as conflict resolution skills. However, if you include these services to address other outcomes besides externalizing behavior, there is likely no need to make changes.
  • If you continue to include parenting or family consent, ensure you have the resources to implement the quality. One reason for the smaller impacts we observed might be due to the implementation challenges related to complex, multi-dimensional programs.