Youth Violence Interventions

Parenting Programs

Parenting practices are a key link in the causal chain leading to violence. Poor parenting in the forms of inappropriately harsh discipline, poor parental supervision, and lack of parental monitoring have been shown to be powerful predictors of later delinquency and violence (Olds 1986, Farrington 1991, McCord 1992, Patterson 1991 and 1992).

Parenting skills are not instinctive. These skills are learned behaviors based on individual parental experiences and the personal process of trial and error in raising children. Fortunately, the skills of parents who have had poor role models can be improved through training. Patterson and colleagues (1991, 1992) have developed programs to teach parents basic skills and have shown that they can be successful with even the most difficult children.

Other successful programs have combined parent training with additional interventions. Hawkins and colleagues (1991) combined a parent training program, "Catch ‘em being good," with teacher training in proactive classroom management, cognitive social skills and interactive teaching methods. These programs, offered together, have been shown to decrease aggressive behavior in children, especially boys. A program of parent training and teacher interventions to foster social skills and self-control in kindergarten-aged children decreased delinquent behavior at age 12 (Tremblay 1992). Effective, accessible parenting programs should be made available in all communities.