7.1 Evaluating parenting programmes
Burton et al. (2014) summarise the key objectives of parenting programmes, which are to:
- promote positive parenting
- improve parent–child relationships
- help parents to manage their children’s behaviour
- reduce the need for discipline and increase the use of positive strategies.
There are several parenting programmes which have been evaluated positively and are evidence-based, such as ‘The Incredible Years’. Programmes such as this one have proven to show significant improvements in children’s behaviour and these ‘parent management training’ interventions are the treatment of choice for children with conduct disorder. A Public Health England (2014) publication includes more information about parenting programmes. There are features of parenting programmes that are essential for the programme to be effective and have a positive impact on the child and family:
- group based: giving parents the opportunity to discuss and learn from each other.
- strengths based: all parents have strengths, and these should be identified and built upon.
- use of a manual: parenting programmes should have a manual that is referred to and used in the classes.
- homework: parents should have tasks to carry out at home to reinforce messages from the parenting classes.
- role play: opportunities to practise skills.