Model Family Programs for Delinquency Prevention
Rating * Exemplary Target * 4-7 Speciality * Parent Training
Program * Raising a Thinking Child:
I Can Problem Solve (ICPS) Program For Families
Description *

  The focus of this program is on developing a set of interpersonal cognitive problem solving skills that relate to overt behaviors as early as preschool. By enhancing ICPS skills, the ultimate goal is to increase the probability of preventing later, more serious problems by addressing the behavioral predictors early in life. In addition to behavioral outcomes, the parent intervention is designed to help parents use a problem solving style of communication that guides young children to think for themselves. The program was originally designed for mothers or legal guardians of African-American, low-income fouryear-olds. The program now includes parents of children up to age seven and has been expanded to include middle and upper-middle income populations in the normal behavioral range as well as those displaying early high-risk behaviors. These include those diagnosed with ADHD and other special needs.

The program takes ten to twelve week sessions to complete, although a minimum of six weeks is sufficient to convey the approach. The first section focuses on learning a problem solving vocabulary in the form of games. The second section concentrates on teaching children how to listen. It also teaches them how to identify their own and other's feelings, and to realize that people can feel different ways about the same thing. In the last section children are given hypothetical problems and are asked to think about people's feelings, consequences to their acts, and different ways to solve problems. During the program parents are given exercises to help them think about their own feelings and become sensitive to those of their children. Parents also learn how to find out their child's view of the problem and how to engage their child in the process of problem solving.

Among low-income African-American mothers, one pilot and two hypothesis-testing tudies were done with their four-year-olds, and a three year follow-up with mothers and their six to seven year olds. Among middle and upper middle-income Caucasian families, two qualitative service evaluations by staff of mental health associations were conducted. With over 100 families participating in the research and evaluations, relatively normal children with varying degrees of high-risk behaviors, as well as those with ADHD, significantly improved in alternative solution thinking, consequential thinking, and high-risk behaviors both in school and at home.

    Contact * Myrna Shure, Ph.D. 
    Address* MCP/Hahnemann University of the Health Sciences
Broad and Vine, MS 626 
        Philadelphia, PA  19102-1192
    Phone * 215 762-7205
    Dept. of Health Promotion and Education

Funded by - Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention