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Evaluating Parenting Practices

TThe Family Check-Up was developed during 30 years of federally funded research with thousands of families who represented diverse economic and cultural groups. It was designed to offer parents a realistic assessment of child behavior and parenting practices based on information from the research studies and to help motivate parents to make necessary changes to address concerns and achieve desired goals. The Family Check-Up has been proven effective in two significant ways. First, it can be used by parents to prevent the development of child and adolescent problems. It enables parents to see if their practices and their children’s behavioral and emotional adjustment are consistent with guidelines for the child’s developmental stage. Second, the Family Check-Up can be used by parents who have concerns about their child’s behavior and emotional adjustment or about their parenting. It includes an assessment and feedback component that identifies parents’ strengths and areas for improvement in their family, along with suggested changes. To help parents make change, the Family Check-Up includes information about parenting that is grounded in our family research. .

Our research has identified key parenting practices that promote positive child outcomes: positive behavior support, limit setting, supervision, communication, and problem solving. We have developed an integrated set of materials for families that includes video-based information, skill-building lessons, brochures, and handouts. Parenting information has been developed for parents of children between ages 2 and 18 that offers simple, practical skills designed to be tailored to various family situations. For younger children, information is geared toward common developmental issues. For parents of middle school and high school students, video and written information has been developed to create a stronger link between home and school and to help parents self-assess when children are beginning to develop more serious problem behaviors.

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