Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10–14

Prevention; Ages 10–14


(Read the criteria for this rating)
  • Effective delinquency program

Risk Factors

Conduct disorders (authority conflict/rebellious/stubborn/disruptive/antisocial)
General delinquency involvement
Antisocial parents
Child maltreatment (abuse or neglect)
Family history of problem behavior/criminal involvement
Family poverty/low family socioeconomic status
Family violence (child maltreatment, partner violence, conflict)
High parental stress/maternal depression
Parental criminality
Parental use of physical punishment/harsh and/or erratic discipline practices
Poor parental supervision (control, monitoring, and child management)
Poor parent-child relations or communication
Unhappy parents
Poor school attitude/performance; academic failure


The Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10–14 (SFP 10–14) is a video-based intervention designed to reduce adolescent substance abuse and other problematic behaviors in youth 10 to 14 years old. The program is delivered within parent, youth, and family sessions using narrated videos that portray typical youth and parent situations. Sessions are highly interactive and include role playing, discussions, learning games, and family projects designed to:

  • Improve parenting skills.
  • Build life skills in youth.
  • Strengthen family bonds.

The basic program is delivered over seven weeks, usually in the evenings. Four optional booster sessions can be held 3 to 12 months after the basic sessions. Bringing parents and youth together in SFP 10–14 has been particularly effective at building parent skills (e.g., monitoring, setting limits, expressing affection) and youth skills (e.g., resisting peer pressure, making positive goals, managing strong emotions) and changing behavior.

A print version of the parent sessions is available for non-English-speaking Hispanic/Latino parents and other ethnic groups who may be less able to relate to the videos. (Program instructions are in English; posters, handouts, and scripts for role plays are available in both Spanish and English.)

Details of outcome studies are available at the Strengthening Families Program Web site:


U.S. Department of Education: Exemplary program

OJJDP Blueprints Project: Promising program

National Institute on Drug Abuse, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Effective program


Cathy Hockaday, Ph.D.
Extension Program Coordinator
1087 LeBaron Hall
Ames, IA 50011
Phone: (515) 294-7601

For information about materials and to schedule training:

Catherine Webb
Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute
Iowa State University
2625 N. Loop Dr. Suite 2400
Ames, IA 50010
Phone: (515) 294-1426
Fax: (515) 294-2870
Web site:

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