Check out the website, ParentingMontana.org, that is designed to provide parents with simple to use, evidence-based tools for developing children’s social and emotional skills from preschool through high school. This unique site was developed in response to a major statewide survey asking 1,200 Montana parents exactly what challenges they faced in their roles, how they promote their children’s health and well-being, and also how they prevent unhealthy risk-taking in the teenage years. Because there was such a strong correlation between parents who used social and emotional competencies in their parenting and preventing high risk-taking in the teenage years, the tools offer parents a specific simple process for promoting social and emotional competencies at various ages and stages.
In a recent evaluation, when parents used these tools over a six-month period, there was measured growth in children’s social and emotional skills across all five core competencies AND parents’ advanced their own social and emotional skills across all five core competencies over that same timeframe. In addition, parents and children grew in their communication with and understanding of one another.
Organized by age, there are topic areas that came directly from the Montana parents’ stated challenges and also, hopes for raising their children. For each age from five to nineteen, you’ll discover tools on:
- “Back Talk”
- Mixed Messages about Alcohol
These tools take parents through a simple step-by-step process seeking your children’s input first, then teaching through interactive modeling, practicing new skills, supporting those skills, and reinforcing them by noticing those positive steps. The site also contains background pieces so that parents can learn more about social and emotional development, discipline for skill building, logical consequences, intentional communication, healthy risk-taking and more. Though the site is specifically designed for Montana parents taking into consideration their desires and needs, it serves as a national model of what’s possible when states or communities work together to support families and their healthy development.