Family Relations and Parenting Skills Interventions
When possible, incorporate opportunities for one-on-one contacts with children, parents, or the family unit. The most successful family relations and parenting interventions in our evidence base involved the child and parent(s) together with a provider. Often, these individual family-focused interventions were delivered in outpatient settings and included family counseling focused on both parenting skills and family communication. Individualized programs for families have the flexibility to allow providers to tailor the intervention to each family’s needs and make individualized therapeutic plans that target the issues (for both parent and child) that will help the child build self-regulation skills. For example, a family therapist can identify areas of change for both parent and child, help set treatment goals, and then facilitate the learning and use of specific skills such as prioritizing and managing time and troubleshooting problems at home.
Group formats involving multiple families, parents, or children are often necessary for a variety of practical reasons and can be effective. They may be a valuable way to build social support through shared experience, reduce isolation, and provide opportunities for parents and children to learn skills from their peers. Group formats might also be required by funders or certain curricula, can help programs reach larger numbers of participants, and are less costly than individualized interventions. On the other hand, groups may not allow enough time for participants to receive tailored content, practice new skills, get specific feedback from the provider, and learn how to transfer the skill to specific family situations. Thus, you will need to decide if group formats in your family relations and parenting skills intervention(s) are required and cannot be changed. In that case, consider if there are opportunities to integrate some aspects of an individualized format into a group structure.