The Journal of Extension -

August 2012 // Volume 50 // Number 4 // Feature // v50-4a8

A Review and Critique of 16 Major Parent Education Programs

There are many parent education programs available for Extension professionals. How does a busy Extension professional decide which is best for his/her clients? This article provides a practical review and critique of 16 major parenting educational programs using three review criteria—program readiness, strength of scientific base, and empirical evidence of program effectiveness. Best programs included STAR Parenting, Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14, Systematic Training for Effective Parenting, and Triple P-Positive Parenting Program.

Christina L. Collins
Graduate Student
Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana

Robert J. Fetsch
Professor Emeritus
Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado

The parent education field utilizes a multitude of curricula, making it difficult for Extension professionals, Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE's), parent educators, and parents to choose a series of effective, research-based activities that will meet specific clientele needs for their parenting program. How does a busy Extension professional decide which parenting program is best for his/her clientele who may include incarcerated parents, churches, military, kinship caregivers such as grandparents, mandated parent education for divorcing parents, children who end up in juvenile courts, etc. A review and critique of many of the major parenting curricula and available programs could potentially assist parents and professionals in implementing a program with confidence.


We begin with Extension's mission—in this case to provide research-based information and empirically effective parenting education programs. Three criteria were used to evaluate each curriculum, and each program's ratings are included in Table 1. Knowing how busy our Extension agents are and how pulled they are to address the spectrum of clientele needs, the first criterion was a very practical one—the readiness of the curriculum to be used in the field. Ratings ranged from 0 (A parent educator would have to spend a great amount of time creating program materials prior to teaching the curriculum) to 5 (After studying and becoming familiar with the curriculum, an educator could teach the curriculum without having to prepare additional teaching materials).

The second criterion was evidence/science-based. We live and work in an era of information overload and in an era where we experience increased pressure from federal, state, and local governments; funding entities; and land-grant university administrators for greater program effectiveness and accountability. Evidence-based programs (EBPs), according to Small, Cooney, and O'Connor (2009, p. 1):

Are well-defined programs that have demonstrated their efficacy through rigorous, peer-reviewed evaluations and have been endorsed by government agencies and well-respected research organizations. EBP's are not simply characterized by known effectiveness; they are also well documented so that they are more easily disseminated.

There is a niche for Extension faculty with the skills to glean from all the information those research- or evidence-based educational programs that are the most credible, trustworthy, and effective (Dunifon, Duttweiler, Pillemer, Tobias, & Trochim, 2004; Mincemoyer et al., 2008; Patterson, Miller, Carnes, & Wilson, 2004). Science-based ratings in this article ranged from 0 (There was no clear evidence of research support in the curriculum) to 5 (A large number of references to research studies were included in the curriculum).

Third was the quality of empirical studies on the program's effectiveness. Ratings ranged from 0 to 5 and were adapted from Altman (1996). 0 indicated that no evidence was found that the curriculum had been evaluated empirically. 1 indicated that the program was being evaluated but it claimed no published program evaluation research. 2 was for programs that offered outcome data from studies with weak designs. Evaluations were attempted, but the quality of studies made results difficult to interpret. 3 was for programs with only process evaluations. 4 was for programs that produced positive outcome data from one or two well-designed studies that showed short-term impact. 5 was for programs with a strong evaluation component that included a series of studies over a period of years that showed consistent impact.

Sixteen major parent education programs were selected because they were of interest to Colorado State University Extension agents and state specialists. They were evaluated in this article by the first author on the following three criteria: 1. How ready to use are the program materials for Extension Agents and other parent educators?; 2. To what degree is the program evidence based?; and 3. What quality empirical evidence is available on the program's effectiveness? Each program was rated on each criterion using a zero to five scale as described above, with clear distinctions between each number rating on a Likert-type scale. Table 1 provides our ratings on each of the three criteria. In our review, we ruled out self-help books about parent education, because generally they are not in a format that is readily usable in a series of weekly group meetings.

Table 1.
Summary of Parenting Programs, Dosage, and Ratings for Use Readiness, Science Base, and Empirical Effectiveness

Parenting Program Name (Target Audience) Ready to Use Recommended Dosage Science Based Empirical Effectiveness TotalScore
STAR Parenting (Parents of children ages 1 to 5 years) 5 10 one-hour sessions 4 4 13
Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14 (Court-referred youth, low income families, faith-based groups, Native American families, Asian families, Latino and Spanish speaking families, families with mental health problems) 3 7 two-hour sessions 5 5 13
Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (Early Childhood STEP for parents of children 0 to 6 years; STEP for parents of children 6 to 12 years; STEP Teen for parents of teenagers; STEP Spanish for parents of children 6 to 12 years) 5 9 one- two-hour weekly sessions 3 5 13
Triple P-Positive Parenting Program (Clinically depressed parents, maltreating parents, blended families, martially discordant parents, highly distressed parents, parents of children with disabilities, multiple languages and ethnicities) 3 4 two-hour group sessions plus 4 15-30 minute individual telephone calls 5 5 13
Intentional Harmony (Individuals who are employed and balancing work and personal life) 4 6 one- two-hour weekly sessions 5 3 12
Make Parenting a Pleasure (Parents of children 0 to 6 years) 5 13+ two-hour weekly class sessions, followed by a weekly peer support program 4 3 12
Nurturing Parenting Programs (Prenatal parents; parents of children ages 0 to 5 years, parents of children 5 to 11 years; parents of adolescents; teenage parents; maltreating parents; Spanish-speaking parents) 4 12-26 two- three-hour weekly sessions 4 4 12
Active Parenting Today (Early Childhood for parents of children 0 to 4 years; Active Parenting Now for parents of children 5 to 12 years; Active Parenting of Teens; divorcing families, blended families) 3 6 two-hour weekly sessions 5 3 11
Common Sense Parenting (Parents of children ages 6 to 16 years; parents of children with ADHD; Spanish speaking parents) 2 8 two-hour weekly sessions 5 4 11
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen (Parents of children and teens) 4 6-8 one- two-hour weekly sessions 0 2 6
Love and Logic (Curriculum available for parents of children all ages from birth on; Spanish speaking parents) 5 6-8 one- two-hour weekly sessions 4 2 11
Parent Effectiveness Training (Parents of children all ages) 4 8 two- three-hour weekly sessions 3 3 10
Parents as Teachers (Prenatal parents through parents of children entering kindergarten; maltreating parents) 2 Parents as Teachers home-visiting services are offered from pregnancy until kindergarten entry 5 4 11
Partners in Parenting (Parents of children all ages) 4 6 one- two-hour weekly sessions 2 1 7
RETHINK Parenting and Anger Management (Parents of children ages 6 to 18 years; ) 2 6 two-hour weekly sessions 5 3 10
Second Time Around: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (Grandparents who are raising grandchildren; professionals interested in responding to the needs of grandparents raising grandchildren) 5 8-16 one- two-hour sessions 3 2 10

Parenting Program Summaries and Critiques

Top Programs

"Top Programs" consisted of four programs with available curriculum activities for implementation (as defined by a total score of 13 on being ready to use, evidence-based, and empirically effective): 1. STAR Parenting; 2. Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14; 3. Systematic Training for Effective Parenting; and 4. Triple P-Positive Parenting Program.

STAR Parenting

The STAR parenting program, developed by Fox and Fox (1992), attempts to help parents of young children respond instead of react to challenging behavior. The STAR acronym for parents is as follows: S-stop themselves from immediately reacting, T- think about their feelings to regain emotional control, A- ask themselves if their expectations are reasonable for their children, and R-respond in a developmentally appropriate and thoughtful manner. The STAR Parenting curriculum is grounded in developmental and cognitive-behavioral theories and also draws upon principles of authoritative parenting (Baumrind, 1966) as well as the research-based idea that parents and children influence one another in a reciprocal manner (Fox & Nicholson, 2003).

The STAR program shows positive outcome data, with most studies utilizing a single group pre-test-post-test design, but several evaluation studies used an experimental design (see Fox, Fox, & Anderson, 1991; Nicholson, Anderson, Fox, & Brenner, 2002). Positive outcomes from experimental research included a reduction in harsh verbal and corporal punishment as well as a decrease in parental stress, anger, and aggression (Nicholson et al., 2002). Non-experimental designs reveal positive outcomes such as parents reporting lowered expectations of their children, an increased use of non-violent positive discipline styles, and decreases in parents' emotional reactions to their children's misbehavior (Fox et al., 1991).

Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14 (SFP 10-14)

SFP 10-14 combines parents and their children in a family skills-building curriculum that aims to prevent adolescent substance abuse, strengthen parenting skills, and build family strengths. The program was designed to foster: a healthy future orientation within youth; an increased appreciation of youth for their parents/caregivers; and gains in valuable skills for coping with stress and peer pressure (Bode, Webb, & Molgaard, 2006). SFP 10-14 is based on the biopsychosocial model (DeMarsh & Kumpfer, 1986) and empirical research on risk and protective factors within families (Spoth, Redmond, & Shin, 2001). The resiliency model (Richardson, Neiger, Jensen, & Kumpfer, 1990) and the social ecology model of adolescent substance use (Kumpfer & Turner, 1990) heavily influenced the development of SFP 10-14.

Evaluation research on SFP 10-14 has been published over a number of years, finding significant positive programmatic effects while utilizing randomized controls, longitudinal assessment, and large sample sizes (see Foxcroft, 2003; Spoth et al., 2001). The quality of empirical evidence backing SFP 10-14 represents one of the most noteworthy aspects of the program. In a randomized control study, Spoth et al. (2001) studied the effects of SFP 10-14 and another family drug prevention program, Preparing for the Drug Free Years Program (PDFY), on adolescent substance use. Those in the intervention groups reported less current substance use and a delay in substance use initiation and were maintained in the four-year follow-up. No significant differences were shown between PDFY and SFP 10-14 groups, but there were more significant differences between the SFP 10-14 and control groups than between the PDFY and control groups (Spoth et al., 2001).

Results of a large meta-analysis (Foxcroft, 2003) sponsored by the World Health Organization reported, "Over the longer term, the results of this systematic review point to the potential value of the Strengthening Families Program as an effective intervention for the primary prevention of alcohol misuse" (p. 407). Out of 56 studies included in the analysis, SFP 10-14 was the only program that showed a possibility of long-term effectiveness, but more evaluation in different settings is needed (Foxcroft, 2003). Publications on SFP 10-14 have been numerous since 1998 and research is continuing. (See for a bibliography.)

Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP)

In the STEP program, parents are asked to identify the goal of their children's misbehavior and respond in a way that encourages more positive behaviors and future interactions (Brock, Oertwein, & Coufal, 1993). Brock et al. outline two assumptions central to the STEP program: children's emotions that trigger misbehavior are often based on faulty interpretations of experiences and events, and as parents change their behaviors to allow their children to have more accurate interpretations, the child's behaviors will subsequently change as well. STEP programs are based on Adlerian psychology and the work of Dreikurs and Soltz (1964). The goals of misbehavior and cognitive-behavioral strategies provide a base for STEP.

STEP represents a well-researched program with positive support (see Adams, 2001; Hills & Knowles, 1987; Noller & Taylor, 1989). A review of 51 studies on STEP from American Guidance Service revealed generally positive results. The studies utilized controls or alternate treatment groups, a pre-test-post-test design, and used objective measures. STEP was shown to positively enhance parent child interaction, parental attitudes, child behaviors, and parental perceptions of child behavior (American Guidance Service, 1991, as cited in Brock et al., 1993). A more recent study by Adams (2001) found that parents who completed the STEP program reported healthier family functioning than a control group whose children were given general mental health services covering the concepts of problem solving, communication, affective responsiveness, and behavior control. Several studies utilized control or alternate treatment groups and random assignment. (See for a bibliography).

Triple P-Positive Parenting Program

The Triple P-Positive Parenting Program aims to assist parents in promoting their children's social and emotional development and reducing behavioral problems (Sanders, Turner, & Markie-Dadds, 2002). The three goals of Triple P are: 1. to improve parents' knowledge, skills, confidence, resourcefulness, and coping skills; 2. to encourage a nurturing, safe, non-violent, and low conflict environment for children; and 3. to promote children's development in social, emotional, language, intellectual and behavioral areas through positive parenting (Sanders, Cann, & Markie-Dadds, 2003). Triple P represents one of the few strongly evidence-based parent education programs. Triple P has a theoretical basis in Behavioral Family Intervention, which has strong empirical support as a parenting and family support strategy (Turner & Sanders, 2006). Triple P also draws on theoretical perspectives such as social learning models, social information processing models, the ecological context of human development, and population health perspectives (Sanders et al., 2003). The creators of Triple P utilized research in family behavior therapy, applied behavior analysis, developmental research on parenting, and developmental psychopathology when designing the program (Sanders et al., 2003).

Triple P includes a strong evaluation component. A series of studies over a number of years have shown a consistent impact on parenting, anger management, and child development. Studies frequently utilize randomized experimental designs using pre-test-post-test control group design and are published in peer-reviewed journals (see DeGraaf, Speetjens, Smit, deWolff, & Tavecchio, 2008; Nicholson & Sanders, 1999; Sanders, Markie-Dadds, & Tully, 2000; Stallman & Ralph, 2007; Turner, Richards, & Sanders, 2007). Studies published on Triple P demonstrate its effectiveness with young children (see Sanders et al., 2000), adolescents (see Stallman & Ralph, 2007), step families (see Nicholson & Sanders, 1999), as well as indigenous populations (see Turner et al., 2007).

Promising Programs

"Promising Programs" (as defined by a total score of 12) had some evaluation research but need more current applied program evaluation research results published in refereed journals and/or they need more curriculum activities to be ready for a busy parent educator to use. Promising programs included Intentional Harmony, Make Parenting a Pleasure, and Nurturing Parenting Programs.

Intentional Harmony

The Intentional Harmony program aims to help adults manage and balance the competing demands of work and family life. The curriculum is organized into the following five domains: work and the individual; work and partner; work and children; work stress; and work and extended family and friends (Intentional Harmony, 2006). Intentional harmony is based on empirical research and theoretical perspectives of family theory. Multidisciplinary research in the area of work-life stress offers a sound platform for Intentional Harmony's program design. References are numerous throughout the program, citing well-known researchers in the field of work-life balance. Each intervention domain (attention to roles, behavioral conflict and spillover, parenting practices, overload and time conflicts, organizational skills, physical strain, and emotional strain) is soundly supported by theory and research (Wiley, Branscomb, & Wang, 2007).

Wiley et al. (2007) evaluated the Intentional Harmony program using a pre-test-post-test nonequivalent comparison group design. The intervention group consisted of participants in the Intentional Harmony program, while the control consisted of past participants in family life programming who were not currently enrolled in any family life program and had never received a work-life management program. Results indicated that participants felt their jobs interfered with their parenting less at time two and less often than usual. In addition, participants showed statistically significant improvements compared to the control group in the outcomes of behavioral conflict and spillover, parenting practices, overload and time conflicts, organizational skills, physical strain, and emotional strain (Wiley et al., 2007).

Make Parenting a Pleasure (MPAP)

MPAP was developed to empower individual parents experiencing stress, low income, isolation, and a lack of parenting information and social support. MPAP was designed to reduce parental stress and increase parenting skills, social support, and parents' sense of competence, all of which have been validated with empirical data as increasing successful parenting and decreasing risk factors related to child abuse and neglect (Bamba, 2000). MPAP caters to parents with children up to seven years old in an effort to prevent child abuse and neglect. Objectives of MPAP include learning the importance of parental self-care, practical stress management and communication skills, child development, positive discipline strategies, and how to build a support network (Saks, Hyman, Reilly, & Rusch, 2006). Saks (1999) reported that MPAP is grounded in the best practices principles of the Family Resource Coalition of America, adult learning principles, and research findings.

Two well-designed studies offer some positive effects, but also inconsistent and unexpected negative results (see Bamba, 2000; Saks et al., 2006). Bamba (2000) evaluated MPAP using a randomized wait-list control study. Initial analyses revealed no statistically significant differences between the pre- and post-tests of the treatment and control groups. However, post-hoc analyses revealed the MPAP treatment groups exhibited better post-test scores on discipline and self esteem. Further post-hoc analyses indicated that the control groups of adolescent parents reported a reduction of their children's problematic behavior. Another unpublished outcome study of 52 participants either assigned to an MPAP treatment group or a wait-list control resulted in significant reductions in parental stress, child abuse potential, and parental rigidity. Unexpected results indicated an increase in unhappiness in the treatment group.

Nurturing Parenting Programs

The Nurturing Parenting Program emphasizes the following seven principles from which to build warm and caring environments for children: feelings of attachment, empathy, nurturing oneself, gentle touch, discipline, expressing feelings, expectations, and self-worth (Bavolek, 2007). Nurturing Parenting Programs were designed on the basis of the prevention of empirically validated parental risk factors for abuse and neglect. The program's design also utilizes the following building blocks of parenting: bonding and attachment, empathy, self-awareness, touch, discipline, unconditional love and respect, and developmental knowledge. Many of these constructs are based on relevant theoretical perspectives or empirical research (Bavolek, 1995). Nurturing Parenting Programs are backed by extensive research that utilizes large sample sizes, but primarily single group, pre-test-post-test designs (see Slavik-Cowen, 2001; Weikert, Keene, & Bavolek, 2007). Empirical validation of Nurturing Parenting Programs could be improved through randomization to comparison groups as well as publishing research reports in peer-reviewed scientific literature. (See for a bibliography.)

Additional Programs

"Additional Programs" may be popular or useful with a given audience, but they lack theoretical focus, program evaluation, readiness for use, and/or evidence-base. Many programs scored rather low on the criteria of being evidence-based and empirically validated. Some of the programs are operating in a limited region or have been created recently, which could account for the scarcity of published studies on their effectiveness. Some evidence-based and empirically validated programs are included in this category because they would be difficult for a busy Extension professional to implement. (A more comprehensive review of the additional parent education programs entitled, Additional Parent Education Programs Review, is available by contacting the authors.)

Active Parenting Today

Active Parenting programs are based on strong theoretical perspectives (Brock et al., 1993) that undergird activities and materials. A great deal of research has been done over a long period of time, but primarily utilizes single group, pre-test-post-test designs (Fashimpar, 2000; Mullis, 1999; Popkin, 1989). Materials for program implementation are easily purchased, but educators must attend a scheduled training session.

Common Sense Parenting (CSP)

CSP programs are grounded in social learning principles and have years of empirical, well-designed research with positive results (Thompson, Grow, Ruma, Daly, & Burke, 1993; Thompson, Ruma, Schuchmann, & Burke, 1996). CSP materials can be expensive to purchase, and substantial training is required for program implementation.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

The book upon which the program is based, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, references no empirical evidence or theoretical perspectives. Very limited research is available and utilizes single group pre-test-post-test designs (Fetsch & Gebeke, 1995). The program would be easily implemented by a parent educator.

Love and Logic

Fay (2007) discusses social and cognitive learning theories as well as basic conditioning principles as the grounding theories of Love and Logic. Love and Logic has been evaluated internally, in unpublished outcome studies (Fay, 2007). The program would be easily implemented by a parent educator.

Parent Effectiveness Training (PET)

PET's grounding communication methods have been validated empirically as effective ways of communicating and resolving conflicts (Gordon, 2000). A great deal of research over a long period of time has been done on PET, but primarily utilizes single group, pre-test-post-test designs (Cedar & Levant, 1990; Hills & Knowles, 1987; Therrien, 1979). Program materials are not easily accessible, and parent educators are required to attend a scheduled training.

Parents as Teachers (PAT)

PAT addresses several research-based school readiness dimensions and draws heavily on research in the area of literacy development and emergent literacy (Parents as Teachers National Center, 2002). Research on PAT has been done over a long period of time, with some studies utilizing randomized control designs (Owen & Mulvihill, 1994; Pfannenstiel & Seltzer, 1989; Shaklee, Hardin, Clinton, Demarest, & Bixby, 2003; Wagner & Clayton, 1999). PAT represents a comprehensive parenting program that includes personal visits; group meetings; periodic developmental, health, vision, and hearing screening; as well as community collaboration.

Partners in Parenting (PIP)

The PIP parent education program manual does not contain any references to research or relevant theoretical perspectives. The curriculum provides the necessary materials for implementation, and training is required for parent educators (Colorado Family Education Resources and Training, 2007). Some informal, internal evaluation research has been conducted on PIP but has not been published.

RETHINK Parenting and Anger Management

RETHINK was developed using empirical research on child abuse prevention (Institute for Mental Health Initiatives, 1991). The manuals for RETHINK contain numerous citations to previous research studies in support of the program's design. Evaluation research on RETHINK is in the beginning stages and offers suggestive evidence of positive outcomes but utilizes single group pre-test-post-test designs (Fetsch & Schultz, 2012; Fetsch, Schultz, & Wahler, 1999; Fetsch, Yang, & Pettit, 2008). The program materials are readily available, but substantial materials preparation is required, and training is recommended.

Second Time Around: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Second Time Around: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren draws on relevant empirical research and theoretical perspectives to support the program design, and references to guiding research and theory are made in the facilitator's guide (Fetsch & Lester, 2004). Evaluation research remains in the beginning stages (Vacha-Haase, Ness, Dannison, & Smith, 2000). The program can be easily purchased and implemented by a parent educator.


When we look at the major parenting programs through the lens of Extension's mission, they fall into three groups as seen in Table 1. "Top Programs" all rank pretty well in terms of being ready to use, evidence-based, and empirically validated. "Promising Programs" show promise, but need more current applied program evaluation research results published in refereed journals. "Additional Programs" are popular or useful with a given audience but may be difficult to implement or lack theoretical focus, evaluation, readiness for use, and/or evidence-based evaluation. Further research is needed to continue to critique additional parenting programs. Other researchers are encouraged to include an "audience" criterion: kinship caregivers, parents of young children, parents of older children, etc.

Programs vary widely in the value of the information presented as well as evaluation evidence for the effectiveness of implementation in making important changes for parents and their children. Parent education programs, especially those created by Extension faculty with limited resources, can tend to be less evidence-based, and if they are evidence-based, they tend to be more expensive—especially those that serve specialized audiences like court mandated and kinship caregivers like grandparents. Nevertheless, such programs can still be useful to Extension educators, CFLE's, and other parent educators.

Additional noteworthy tools exist to help educators choose and implement an evidence-based and empirically validated parent education program. First, Reide (2009) at Michigan State University Extension conducted a study that resulted in a database of over 70 parenting curriculums being utilized by land-grant universities across the U.S. Reide conducted an extensive and exhaustive review of parenting programs offered by Extension professionals and evaluated programs according to the following criteria: research based, evidence based, normed group, distinct type of target group program is aimed for, philosophical orientation, cultural sensitivity, and age. A literature review of each curriculum revealed the list of over 70 programs that were included in the database due to their research or evidence based nature in addition to being a culturally defined curricula (see

A second tool that proves useful to educators is the RAND Promising Practices Network (PPN; RAND Corporation, 2011). PPN aims to identify "programs that work" to improve the lives of children and families by evaluating programs based on their effectiveness according to scientifically rigorous studies. The evidence criteria utilized by the PPN scientists include the following: type of outcomes affected, effect size, statistical significance, presence of comparison groups, sample size, and the availability of program evaluation documentation. PPN provides overviews of programs which have been identified as either "proven" or "promising." (See

Finally, educators may call upon the National Extension Parent Education Model (NEPEM; Smith, Cudaback, Goddard, & Myers-Walls, 1994) to help choose, implement, and evaluate parenting education curricula. The original model identified the following six categories of priority parenting practices that should be taught to parents: care for self, understand, guide, nurture, motivate, and advocate (Smith et al., 1994). The National Extension Parenting Education Framework (NEPEF; DeBord et al., 2002) expanded on the original NEPEM's priority parenting practices by adding six process dimensions of priority practices and skills that parent educators should be taught. The dimensions include grow, frame, develop, embrace, educate, and build (DeBord et al., 2002). NEPEF authors stated the value of the framework saying:

The NEPEF should not be considered an 'end all, be all' document of essential knowledge or practice. Rather, it should be viewed as an attempt to get those professionals who identify themselves as parenting educators to explore the body of knowledge and the repertoire of skills that are necessary to be effective in their work (DeBord et al., 2002, pp. 4-5).

Extension agents, CFLE's, and parent educators who conduct parent education in non-formal educational settings in diverse areas such as prisons, faith-based organizations, or court/policy mandated education have a responsibility to provide programs that are useful and effective. Programs grounded in research and evaluated with empirical studies best fulfill that role. Both facilitators and parents looking for programming may use the information presented in this review to be more informed and critical consumers of parent education programs. Of course, ongoing program evaluation with different groups is essential. But at least now we can begin with programs that we are confident have a solid research base and are demonstrated to be effective.


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Appendix: Locating Parent Education Curricula

Active Parenting Today

Leader Training Workshops are offered by Active Parenting for those wishing to provide the program in their own communities and to become certified Active Parenting leaders. The training includes seven hours of instruction and includes discounts towards Active Parenting program materials. Training sessions are held throughout the country for $139 a person or can be held for groups in a preferred location (price varies). An Active Parenting Now Video Library (set of 6) for parenting children ages 5-12 is available for $349. Parents' guides are available for $10.95 to $14.95 depending on the quantity purchased and a program kit (includes two DVDs, one leader's guide, one parent's guide, one parent completion certificate, and promotional materials) can be purchased for $399. A vast amount of resources for all of the Active Parenting programs are available from

Common Sense Parenting

Common Sense Parenting (CSP) program materials can be purchased from for more information.) A complete kit of materials was not available for purchase. The facilitator would need to organize curriculum materials to supplement the book and videotapes. A facilitator training provides information on organizing, implementing, and promoting the workshops.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

A complete How to Talk So Kids Will Listen Video Workshop Kit is available to order from for $239.95. The kit includes the following: a chairperson's guide (which includes a participant's workbook), a teen supplement, six 30-minute VHS tapes, evaluation form, sample certificate of completion, and promotional materials (poster, sample press release, 25 invitational brochures). Extra books for participants are also available from the same source for $11.45 per copy when you purchase 10 or more. The workshop kit contains most of the necessary materials to facilitate the program, but parent manuals will need preparation and additional books may need to be purchased. One of the strengths of the How to Talk so Kids Will Listen is its adaptability. Some extra organization or preparation may be needed to create a specialized program for participants. No facilitator training is needed.

Intentional Harmony

The Intentional Harmony curriculum may be purchased and used without additional training. The curriculum may be purchased for $399 from and includes one paper copy of all materials and a CD-Rom with electronic copies and PowerPoint presentations. Workbooks are available from the same source for $7 to $10 depending on the quantity being ordered. A facilitator training session to become a certified Intentional Harmony instructor is recommended and costs $150 if the curriculum is purchased in addition.

Love and Logic

Love and Logic parenting programs can be used by individual parents, caregivers, and teachers. The programs can also be used in a group setting and require no training for facilitators. A price list of program materials is located at Manuals, DVDs, and instructional tools can be purchased separately or as a total program. The entire Step by Step Curriculum for Teaching Love and Logic to Parents with Children of All Ages can be purchased for $730.

Make Parenting a Pleasure

The complete Make Parenting a Pleasure (MPAP) curriculum is available for $899 from The complete curriculum includes the following: the facilitator guide (overview of the curriculum and tips for starting an MPAP program), 13 individual modules (goals, agenda, materials list, preparation guide, session content, and materials for tailoring sessions to specific group needs), 10 DVDs that highlight segments of the curriculum and allow for discussion of real life situations, 15 parent booklets (handouts, activity sheets, module information), and evaluation materials. The MPAP complete curriculum allows one to facilitate this program in their own community without additional training, although training is offered through Parenting Now, a division of the Birth to Three organization. Spanish versions of MPAP can be ordered. Two-day MPAP facilitator trainings are available from Parenting Now in Eugene, Oregon for $250 a person. MPAP instructors can provide a two-day training for up to 25 participants at other community locations for $3,800, which includes trainer fees, resource notebooks for each participant, certificates of completion, and associated training costs. For registration information or details on hosting an MPAP training, contact Parenting Now at 866-310-4601.

Nurturing Parenting Programs

Facilitator trainings are offered throughout the country, and can be hosted by an interested organization. The trainings are generally held over 2-4 days and cost $250-$280 a person. A price list of program materials is located at Manuals, DVDs, and instructional tools can be purchased separately or as a total program. For example, the entire Infant, Toddler, and Preschooler Program can be purchased for $1,746.85 or materials can be ordered separately (Examples: implementation manual, $30.00; parent handbook, $15.00; instructional DVDs, $385.00; and much more).

Parent Effectiveness Training

The Family Effectiveness Training Program, which caters to all family members, offers parents a self-led training in Parent Effectiveness Training. The self-led training is available for one or two parent families. The program includes an Adult Resource Book, DVD, Study Guide and Audio CD and is available from or by phone at 800-628-1197.

Parents as Teachers

Parents as Teachers (PAT) represents a comprehensive parenting program that includes personal visits; group meetings; periodic developmental, health, vision and hearing screening; as well as community collaboration. Individuals interested in learning more about creating a program in their community can contact the program implementation coordinator at 1-866-PAT4YOU. Individuals may also become parent educators within programs already in place. One may locate programs using the "Find a Program" function on the PAT website,, but complete curricula are not available.

Partners in Parenting

In order to facilitate a Partners in Parenting parent education program, one must attend a training-of-the trainers through the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. PIP staff travel to different Colorado communities to provide training in PIP Parent Education Curriculum. The training is usually offered over one or two days and provides the necessary skills and information to hold a Partners in Parenting program. The training session includes: prevention principles, parenting theories and research, personal development and self-esteem, resilience and developmental assets, discipline, communication, problem solving and decision making, peer pressure refusal skills, risks and protective factors, and facts about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (Colorado Family Education Resources and Training, 2007). The curriculum is available to order from Christine Cerbana, Project Director at the Colorado Family Education Resources and Training, at 970-491-2101 or Estimated cost of the curriculum and training combined is $50.

RETHINK Parenting and Anger Management

A RETHINK videotape, parent's manual, and program guide are recommended to facilitate a RETHINK parenting workshop. Training by RETHINK originators at the Institute for Mental Health Initiatives may be helpful for program facilitators. A program guide, five parent manuals, and the videotape cost $195.00. (See for example RETHINK handouts and overheads adapted for child care providers). Materials can be purchased by mail from: The Institute for Mental Health Initiatives (IMHI); RETHINK Anger Management for Parents; Research Press; 2612 N. Mattis Ave.; P.O. Box 9177; Champaign, IL 61822. Materials may also be purchased by phone (1-800-519-2707) or Internet (

Second Time Around: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Second Time Around: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren does not offer any facilitator training. The curriculum comes with a comprehensive leader guide and almost everything needed to facilitate a group. Some research may be needed to identify community resources available to the grandparents or to secure a guest speaker. The program can be purchased for $75 from: Family and Consumer Sciences; Western Michigan University; Kalamazoo MI 49008. Contact Linda Dannison by email at or by phone at (269) 387-3704 for more information on ordering.

STAR Parenting

Parenting Young Children: A Facilitator's Guide can be purchased and used to facilitate the parenting program and no extra training is needed. The guide comes complete with a video, detailing the STAR method, and all the necessary handouts and assessments used to facilitate the program. Copies can be made from the manual and no extra materials are needed. The facilitators guide can be purchased from for $57.95.

Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14

A sample budget provided by SFP 10-14 estimates the startup cost of implementing a program for ten families at $6,124, which includes facilitator training outside the state of Iowa ($5,000), all program materials, as well as promotional materials. SFP 10-14 was developed at the Institute for Social and Behavioral Research Center at Iowa State University and distribution is handled by Iowa State University Cooperative Extension. Pricing and ordering information can be obtained from

Systematic Training for Effective Parenting

A Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) curriculum kit can be purchased from for $345. The kit includes the Leader's Resource Guide (session guides, handouts, activities, parent survey, and certificate of participation), two videocassettes highlighting positive parenting skills and also tips on how to lead a STEP group, the Parent's Handbook, and workshop announcements. Additional Parent Handbooks can be purchased for $16.99 from the same source.

Triple P-Positive Parenting Program

Triple P offers trainings to organizations or practitioners with up to 20 participants. A total of five levels of training are offered; however, the Enhanced Triple P Professional Course (Level 5) level would be most appropriate for parent educators. Trainings are offered to interested organizations in two parts: Part one lasts two to five full days and part two is one full day. The cost of trainings is variable and pricing information can be obtained by emailing Triple-P ( and include: the Facilitator's Manual for Group Triple P, which has detailed session guidelines with examples of verbatim scripts, a package of overhead transparencies for each group session, and Every Parent's Group Workbook which includes practical information on positive parenting strategies as well as activities and between-session tasks. The Every Parent's Survival Guide Video will also be needed for the group classes.