Self Regulation Family Relations and Parenting Skills Interventions



Intervention Family

Family Relations and Parenting Skills Interventions

Self Regulation Family Relations and Parenting Skills Interventions

Interventions in this family aim to improve self-regulation by improving or enhancing parental or family influences on youth (PDF, 2 pages). These interventions teach parenting skills and other ways parents can support their children’s self-regulation skills development at home, and often include a concurrent child training component (e.g., for children diagnosed with ADHD). There are two types of interventions in this group: those that are oriented toward the family unit, providing services to both parent(s) and children, either together, separately, or both; and those focused on parent training, with minimal or no child involvement.

Specific parenting skills taught by interventions in this family can include teaching parents how to coach their children to regulate their emotions, problem-solve, and develop organizational and academic skills. Many also focus on general family functioning and establishing predictable household routines and schedules. Many parenting skills interventions train parents in behavior modification techniques, where the parent works with a therapist to learn and apply behavioral strategies to reinforce desired child behaviors and discourage unwanted behaviors. Such interventions can include coordination with schools so that behavioral strategies can be applied as consistently as possible at school and at home. Child and youth components of these interventions may focus on organizational, time management, and planning skills, as well as self-control, how to recognize and appropriately express feelings, and interpersonal skills. Interventions are often delivered by therapists and psychologists with at least a master’s degree, usually in community settings. Providers frequently use lecture, discussion, and role plays to practice skills, as well as family therapy. Parents are often given homework assignments to complete at home between sessions.

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Characteristics of family relations and parenting skills interventions (27 studies contributed evidence):

  • About half of interventions lasted less than 13 weeks, though others were considerably longer.
  • Sessions typically took place once per week (44%) with 19 percent occurring daily.
  • Most took place in community settings (78%).
  • A little over a third (37%) were delivered one-on-one with parents or family units, another third were provided primarily to groups of parents or families, and 22 percent were offered in a mix of different formats.

Intervention examples

  • Parents of children with ADHD attended a nine-session parent training program that included parent counseling and training in behavioral procedures. Homework was assigned starting with the second session. Topics included information about ADHD, understanding child behavior problems, and general behavior management principals. Parents were taught positive reinforcement skills, including positive attending and how to use a token reward system, as well as strategies such as ignoring and response cost for minor misbehavior and introducing a break from the situation for more serious misbehavior. Later sessions included how to use the strategies in public, continuation beyond the intervention, and working with school personnel using a daily report card.
  • Teens diagnosed with ADHD attended ten 50-minute manualized family therapy sessions with a parent that were focused on organization, time management, and planning skills. Teens learned strategies such as using a daily planner, bookbag organization, time management, and taking notes at school. Parents and teens developed treatment goals and selected four of the following skills modules to work on: (a) recording homework daily, (b) creating a homework contract, (c) organizing school materials, (d) prioritizing and managing time out of school, (e) note-taking in class, (f) preparing for tests and quizzes, and (g) troubleshooting problems at home. As part of each skill contract, parents detailed a monitoring plan to hold teens accountable for consistent skill use. During skills-based sessions, therapists used Motivational Interviewing to increase the family’s openness to trying new strategies and empower lasting changes at home. Four concluding sessions addressed school collaboration, creating a routine for implementation of new skills, developing and modifying home contracts, and reviewing progress.