Antisocial behaviour in young people is a growing problem. In the US and UK, 5–10  % of children aged 5–15  years present with clinically significant conduct disorders [1], while adolescent risk behaviour is deemed a persistent problem and a significant cause of youth morbidity and mortality [2]. Behaviour problems in adolescence are costly, due to the trauma and psychological problems caused to others who are victims of crime, aggression, or bullying, together with the financial costs to services for treatment of both the condition and its long-term sequelae. Use of health, social, education, and legal services is ten times higher for this population, and this usage is mostly borne by publicly funded services, especially in areas of social exclusion [3]. A UK study conducted by Scott, Knapp, Henderson, and Maughan [4] suggested that, by age 28 years, the costs of individuals with a clinical diagnosis of conduct disorder were ten times higher than for those with no problems, and costs for those with conduct problems not meeting the diagnostic criteria were 3½ times higher.

Overwhelmingly, the research literature confirms the strong and enduring influence of parenting practices on adolescents [5]. Research has shown that poor parenting skills (e.g., harsh, authoritarian, disproportionately punitive, laissez-faire; [6, 7] and inconsistent parenting strategies [8] can lead to undesirable outcomes in children and adolescents. These outcomes include behavioural and emotional problems [9], externalising and internalising behaviours [7], and decreased cognitive and academic development [10]. Additionally, poor parenting skills have been linked with poorer self-regulation in children and adolescents [11], use of aggression [8], and severe behavioural problems that persist over time [12].