October 2003 (Volume 42, Number 10)
Brief Psycho-educational Parenting Program: An Evaluation and 1-Year Follow-up
Bradley SJ, Jadaa DA, Brody J, et al.
Research literature often cites difficulties in the parent-child relationship as a contributing etiologic factor in the development of childhood behavioral disorders. With that in mind, the authors evaluated a brief psycho-educational group-based intervention targeting parents of 3- and 4-year olds who believed they were experiencing parenting concerns. Parents filled out baseline questionnaires regarding child behavior, parenting behavior, levels of stress, and child’s temperament at baseline and 3 months later. They were randomly assigned to immediate intervention vs. a wait-list control; an initial group of 70 families completed 1-year follow-ups. The intervention used the video “1-2-3 Magic,” handouts, and trained professionals to teach strategies and techniques of behavioral management.
Significant changes were recorded in parental behaviors after the intervention. These included decreased displays of anger, meanness, and irritability, as well as less use of argument and ineffective talk. The children were perceived to be less problematic overall and less hyperactive and oppositional. Improvements might be attributable to factual reductions in problematic behaviors by the children in response to more effective parenting as well as to the empowerment granted to the parents who subsequently felt less frustrated and perceived their children’s behaviors more normatively. The authors noted that a great limitation of their study is that the data were based solely on the subjective parental reports and not on independent observations. Nonetheless, the brief group intervention for parenting seemed effective, and the low drop-out rate implies that parents were invested and felt the intervention to be helpful. Further replications of the study are warranted.
This study is consistent with several others that demonstrate the usefulness of parenting skills training for parents with misbehaving, disrespectful, uncooperative, or disobedient children between the ages of 4 and 14. David Britton specializes in teaching effective parenting skills.
Dr. Gnap is a family practice physician and behavioral medicine specialist in suburban Chicago. Dr. Gnap developed the Inner Control™ Program in 1970 and has worked with thousands of people to improve and correct medical, emotional, behavioral and learning problems including performance. He started the Inner Control program because so many patients asked, “what more can be done along with traditional treatment methods?”