ParentingMontana.org is a website with tools for parents and those in a parenting role in Montana to address a variety of common parenting challenges prioritized by Montana parents. The tools and resources were developed by experts in social and emotional development. The tools address specific challenges parents face like establishing routines, getting homework done, or growing confidence. Tools, organized by the age of the child, are designed to be developmentally appropriate for children ages birth to 19. The tools use a five-step process to address the issue while also growing the social and emotional skills of the child (and the parent). Additional information (called “I Want to Know More”), connection to resources, and supportive media are also available.
Extensive research has shown that growing the social and emotional skills of children reduces underage substance use and depression and is protective for youth at high risk due to adverse childhood experiences or other factors. Growing social and emotional skills in children also improves academic performance, education attainment, and leads to better economic and overall wellbeing as adults.
ParentingMontana.org includes tools and resources to strengthen family relationships and improve communication; develop, discuss, and enforce family rules on substance use; and bring up and discuss information about substances and the teenage brain, Montana laws, and guidance on what to do if parents are concerned about potential use by their children.
Recent surveys of Montana parents have shown that:
- Parents with stronger social and emotional skills were six times more likely to engage in best practices to prevent underage drinking relative to parents with low social and emotional skills. Growing social and emotional skills among parents will bolster their use of best practices to prevent underage substance use.
- Parents prioritize the development of social and emotional skills for their children. When asked what three skills they thought were important for their child’s success, 93% of the skills they identified were social and emotional skills.
Research shows that growing the social and emotional skills of parents improves the mental, emotional, and behavioral development of children. This connection between parent and child makes this strategy a two-generation approach. Furthermore, research is now showing that a child with strong social and emotional skills develops into an adult with similar skills and that these skills as an adult will foster the healthy development of the next generation. In this way, growing strong social and emotional parenting skills is really a three-generation approach with the potential for much broader impact.
ParentingMontana.org is well grounded in a strong theoretical foundation and has been designed to be developmentally appropriate. It also aligns with best practice principles for prevention.
The Center for Health and Safety Culture developed ParentingMontana.org in partnership with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The Center will continue to develop additional tools and resources over the next several years.