The Family is the basic unit of society – it is composed of parents rearing their children to become better individuals in the future. But what happens when the child that you’ve taken care of is leading a different road, is there a way to bring them back?
The Strengthening Families Program
There has been an alarming trend in the increase of delinquency and violence in the world such as alcohol and drug abuse, physical abuse and neglect, sexual involvement at an early age and even having aggressive youth, most of which may or may not have evolve from poor family structure. Focusing on these problems, Kumpfer, DeMarsh and Child (1983) developed the Strengthening Families Program. It is a curriculum that is designed to bring parents and their children together to bridge the gap between them and also improve their relationships. It is designed to reduce possible substance abuse in adolescents and other problematic behaviors. The goal of the program is to improve the parenting skills, strengthen the bonds within the family and build life skills in the youth. It also includes reducing risk factors to high-risk children who previously shown behavioral, emotional, academic or social problems. SFP helps build a protective barrier against these problems by improving the relationship between the parents and their children.
Who are Advised to Undergo the SFP?
We listed down some risk factors of children or parents who are advised to undergo SFP:
Individual. Having children who have conduct disorders meaning they are always in conflict with authority or anti-social and are quite rebellious and stubborn. Also, who have general delinquency involvement, has poor school attitude and even those who have persistent academic failure.
Family. If parent/s are:
- Abuses their children (physically, mentally, emotionally and financially)
- History of problematic behavior and in conflict with the law
- Family has low socioeconomic status
- Family violence like partner violence or conflicts at home
- Growing up in foster care or abandoned
- Maternal depression or parental stress
- Parental criminality, neglect, abuse and physically abusive
- Poor parental supervision (neglect of child)
- Poor parent-child communication or relationship
- Single parent household
- Unhappy parents.
Benefits of Families Strengthening Program
After numerous randomized control trials and experimental studies, the researchers’ findings about the effect of the program to the children are as follows:
- There’s a remarkable development on the children’s intelligence, achievements and socioeconomic well-being. They are more active at school and their grades has significantly improved.
- The children’s cognitive functioning, language development, curiosity, cooperative and resourcefulness has significantly grown. They gained more friends and became less aggressive than before.
- Over-all family health has changed for the better. As parents understands their children and learned how to handle their needs and behaviors, family conflicts were lessened or even eliminated.
- Intellectual gains (such as having better perception of things) and social benefits (such as having a good self-concept and good attachment with their parents) were also observed on the children.
Aside from the listed changes with the children’s behaviors, the researchers were also able to observe indirect benefits on the parents such as:
- Having a broader social contact helped improve their employment prospects that leads to an unexpected career development.
- Better family management and emotional relief as parents are able to know their children’s whereabouts as the bridge between the parent and their children has been strengthened.
- The attitude of the parents also improved which led to a more effective management of their children’s behavior.
SFP for Parents-To-Be and Pregnant Mothers
As soon-to-be parents and expectant mothers, you are overwhelmed with the changes that accompanies pregnancy and also with the thought of bringing a new life in the world. Once the baby is born, you have to take in the role as new parents. But how to be a parent when it is your first time? Being a parent is not an easy task, it involves a lot of learning, knowledge, and advice and support from other people. Aside from that, you also want your child to grow healthy and safe in a secure environment.
Let’s be honest, we cannot totally control the external environment outside the 4 corners of our house. When they become adolescents, they are going to be more curious about the world and their curiosities can either make or break them. The modern world is much more complex and vastly changing, and so is our parenting should be too. For our children to not be easily swayed by these temptations, it is important to strengthen our bonds with them.
As early as now, you should be thinking on how to build a strong family foundation. While you are pregnant or awaiting the birth of your child, increase your knowledge regarding the development of your child as he or she grows. Make sure that you always socialize with them by knowing their interests. This will help you connect with them. The strengthening families program can also be started at a young age, if you want to develop your parenting skills and your relationship with your children. Starting early may be the best way in making sure that your children will be guided well and not go down the wrong path.