Content and Program MechanicsThe SFP 10-14 is a universal program designed to reach the general population and is culturally sensitive to multiethnic families with young adolescents who live in urban and rural areas. It is appropriate for parents of all educational levels.
The SFP 10-14 consists of seven sessions plus four booster sessions. Parents and youth attend separate skill-building sessions for the first hour and spend the second hour together in supervised family activities. The program is designed for 8 to 13 families and is typically held in a public school, church, or community center. At least two rooms (one for youth and one for parents) are required for each session, with family sessions taking place in the larger of the two rooms. Three facilitators (one for parents and two for youth) are needed for each session. All of the facilitators offer assistance to families and model appropriate skills during the family session.
Youth and parent sessions contain parallel content; the family session provides reinforcement and skills practice (see table 2 below). For example, while the parents are learning how to use consequences when youth break rules, youth are learning about the importance of following rules. In the family session that follows, youth and parents practice problem solving as a family for situations when rules are broken.
Parent sessions include didactic presentations, role-plays, group discussions, and other skill-building activities. Videotapes are used for all parent sessions; this standardizes the program and visually demonstrates effective parent-child interactions. Because videotapes are used, only one parent workshop leader/instructor is required. The videotapes include timed countdowns for group discussion and activitiesthe facilitator starts the video at the beginning of the session and lets it run for the entire hour-long parent session. This ensures that the group remains on schedule and is ready for the subsequent family session. The videotapes include didactic presentations by an African American narrator and a white narrator and numerous vignettes of typical family situations and interactions (both positive and negative). Adults and youth in the vignettes include African American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white actors.2 Approximately one-fourth to one-third of each parent session consists of didactic presentations and observations of videotaped family vignettes; the remaining time is spent in skill practice, open discussion, and group support.
The majority of each youth session is spent in small and large group discussions, group skill practice, and social bonding activities. Youth topics are presented in gamelike activities in order to engage youth and keep their interest while they are learning. In sessions 5 and 6, the videotape Keeping Out of Trouble and Keeping Your Friends: A Road Map is shown to motivate youth to resist peer pressure and to teach specific steps in resistance.
Family sessions help parents and youth practice skills learned in the separate parent and youth sessions. Activities include communication exercises and poster-making projects in which family members visually express concepts such as appreciating each other's strengths and identifying family values. Teaching games help parents and youth empathize with each other and learn skills in family problem solving. Two of the family sessions use instructional videotapes to demonstrate how to institutionalize positive family change and maintain SFP 10-14 program benefits by holding regular family meetings and working together to help youth deal with peer pressure. The leaders facilitate discussions and group activities between videotape segments. Two-thirds of each family session is spent within individual family units in which parents and youth participate in discussions or projects. The remaining time is spent in large-group skill-building activities and games. Each family session ends with a closing circle in which all youth and parents stand together in a circle and respond to an open-ended statement based on session content, such as "One thing we like to do as a family is . . . ."
The following methods are used to encourage participants to maintain the skills they learned through the program. During the final family session, group leaders show slides of the youth, parent, and family sessions taken during the course of the program. This slide show serves as a review of program content in a format that is attractive to both young people and adults. During the final review session, a framed certificate with a photograph of parent(s) and child(ren) taken during program sessions is given to each participating family. The families are asked to display the certificates in their homes to serve as a reminder of concepts and skills learned in the program. In addition, during the last session, parents and youth write structured letters to each other related to the content of the program (see below). The letters are collected by program facilitators and mailed to the families 1 month after the last session. In addition, several family activities result in posters that participants display in their homes.
A 415-page instructor manual contains a teaching outline, a script for the videotapes, and detailed instructions for all activities. The "Overview" section includes background information and practical considerations for implementing the SFP 10-14, such as recruitment, facilitator job descriptions, and suggested processes for registration, meals and snacks, incentives, and childcare. A detailed timeline for organizing and implementing the SFP 10-14 and a list of needed equipment and materials are also included. Master copies of each parent, youth, and family worksheet and homework assignment are provided at the end of each session. Materials for the first seven sessions also include the nine videotapes described abovesix for parent sessions, one for youth sessions 5 and 6, and two for family sessions. The manual also includes master copies of a program flier, ordering information, and evaluation instruments. A separate 215-page manual contains the four booster sessions for parents, youth, and families. Two additional videotapes are required for the booster sessions.
2 For information about adaptations of the program for other ethnic groups, contact Dr. Molgaard.