Guiding Good Choices Parenting


Become a Ambassador for Change

Guiding Good Choices


Completing the 5 week certification course equips parents to utilize contemporary discipline techniques, cultivate healthier relationships, become a superior advocate, communicate effectively, accept the unique characteristics of their children, and raise confident children. 


Dr. David Hawkins and Dr. Richard Catalano developed the program based on the social development model, which holds that strong bonding to positive influences reduces problematic behaviors, such as delinquency and substance abuse.  Combined research has identified both risk and protective factors in the development of behavior problems. Risk factors include a low level of communication between parents and children, poorly defined and communicated expectations for children’s behavior, excessively severe and inconsistent discipline, and high levels of negative interaction or family conflict. Protective factors include regular communication or parental warmth and affection, presentation of clear and pro-social expectations, monitoring of children, and consistent and moderate discipline.  Guiding Good Choices (GGC) is a prevention and early intervention program that provides user with the knowledge and skills needed to guide children through early adolescence. The program seeks to strengthen and clarify family expectations for behavior, enhance the conditions that promote bonding within the family, and teach shills that allow children to resist making poor choices. Sessions are interactive and skilled based, with opportunity for parents to practice new skills and receive feedback, and use video based vignettes to demonstrate parenting skills. Families also receive a family guide containing family activities, discussion topics, skill-building exercises, and information on positive parenting.  


The program is divided into five two-hour sessions. Each session has a particular theme and parents are given activities to complete at home with the entire family.

Session 1, "Getting Started: How to Prevent Drug Abuse in Your Family," provides an overview of the risk factors associated with adolescent substance abuse and the theory of why social bonding may help mitigate those factors.

Session 2, "Setting Clear Family Expectations on Drugs and Alcohol," focuses on parenting skills. Parents learn how to develop family guidelines, how to effectively convey their expectations for children’s behavior, and how to establish consequences for bad behavior.

Session 3, "Avoiding Trouble," is the one session that requires the children's attendance with the parents. The session discusses the social and peer pressures adolescents will face regarding substance abuse, and then teaches skills to resist such pressures. Together, parents and children practice skills to resist peer influences using the five steps of "Refusal Skills."

Session 4, "Managing Family Conflict," is aimed at reducing risks related to family conflict, negative interaction, and rebelliousness.


In Session 5, "Strengthening Family Bonds," parents learn ways to expand family involvement. The session also emphasizes the benefits of expressing positive feedback and love.