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Follow-Up: The Everyday Parenting Curriculum

The Everyday Parenting curriculum can be used for guiding individual family therapy, leading parent groups, and training therapists to work collaboratively with parents of children and adolescents. The skills emphasized are those that emerged from both longitudinal research on the origins of adolescent problem behavior and the extensive parenting intervention literature. The Everyday Parenting curriculum has been used with parents in urban and rural settings across the United States for more than 20 years and with parents of adolescents in Spain and Quebec. In addition, the curriculum has met the needs of families across a wide range of cultural groups.

The content of the 12 parent sessions is divided into three areas of parenting skills (see Figure 1). As shown in Figure 1, we see monitoring and proactive parenting as the common feature of all three domains targeted in the Everyday Parenting curriculum. Monitoring refers to parents’ overall involvement with their child and direct and indirect knowledge of their child’s safety, behavior, feelings and experiences, and whereabouts. Proactive parenting focuses on planning and using skillful strategies to overcome parenting obstacles, for example, planning a day’s activities for a young child that takes into account transition times, stimulation levels, and feelings and emotions. Similarly for adolescents, planning to help an adolescent structure his or her day realistically will provide a framework for the youth to meet goals in school or other activities. Being proactive and monitoring children and adolescents forms the basis of what might be called mindful parenting. Simply put, mindful parenting is parenting that emphasizes attention to the everyday details of parenting, skillfully.

Change sequence graphic

Figure 1 demonstrates the best sequence for making comprehensive behavior change in families that commit to the full program. Nearly all behavioral approaches to family change indicate that it is best to begin with the use of incentives (contingent positive reinforcement), then move to setting limits, and end with family problem solving and proactive structuring. The rationale for this sequence is twofold. First, to adequately manage child and adolescent behavior, it is important to rely on positive reinforcement (incentives) for behavior change. In fact, we hold that the ratio of positive reinforcement to correction should be roughly 4:1, in that for every time a parent sets a limit; we would hope to see four incidents of positive reinforcement. We assume that the 4:1 ratio of reinforcement to correction creates a more positive context for behavior management. Second, it is clear that skills such as problem solving and basic communication are important to children and families at all ages, but parents are less likely to be successful at learning these skills unless they are proficient in the use of positive reinforcement and limit setting. Daily negative or coercive family interactions are likely to undermine the positive parent–child relationships required for problem-solving interactions.

 

 

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