Helping parents prevent problem behavior

Kevin P. Haggerty and Rick Kosterman describe Guiding Good Choices, a promising evidence-based approach for preventing youth problem behavior  

PARENTS ARE CRUCIAL PLAYERS IN preventing teen substance abuse. Parents who are involved in their children’s lives and have positive communication (e.g., listening and understanding), effective supervision (e.g., monitoring activities and friends), and clear expectations for behavior (e.g., defining expectations and consequences for misbehavior), empower their children to better cope with early opportunities to use drugs and alcohol. There is strong evidence that delaying substance use, especially alcohol and cigarettes, is important. We know that a key predictor of later abuse and dependence is age at first use. Consequently, prevention strategies that reduce the early onset of use hold much promise for diminishing later problems.

What we know
Guiding Good Choices® is:
● Based on empirical research of risk and protective factors;
● Designed to promote strong family bonds while addressing known family risk factors;
● Inclusive of youth, actively involving them in weekly family meetings;
● Shown to reduce alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use;
● Associated with reduced delinquent behavior; and
● Associated with reducing depressive symptoms in the long term.

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June 2012