The Art and Science of
Parent Education
Barbara LeBlanc, LCSW
Debbie Regan, RNC, IBCLC
Session I
Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (2009)
Lara Robinson, PhD, MPH
Jennifer Kaminski, PhD
CDC Child Development Studies Team
Parent Training Programs:
Insight for Practitioners
A publication of the National Center for
Injury Prevention and Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, GA
Purpose of the CDC Study
 Is
all parent training the same?
 Research
and analysis of evaluations
of existing programs for effectiveness
 Guide
practitioners in making
evidence-based program decisions
What was Evaluated?
 Peer-reviewed
articles published from
1990 – 2002 evaluating training programs
for parents of children ages 0 – 7
 Meta-analysis
of 77 program evaluations
Parent Education
Who?
What?
Where?
Who are Parent Educators?
 Social
workers
 Child care providers
 Teachers
 Doctors
 Nurses
 Clergy
 Others ?
Competencies for
Parent Educators
 Knowledge of:
 Child and lifespan development
 Dynamics of family relations
 Guidance and nurturing
 Health and safety
 Diversity and family systems
 Professional practice and methods of adult
learning
 Community relationships
 Assessment and evaluation
LAPEN Parent Educator Core
Competencies 2010
Sense of Humor
What do Parent Educators do?
 Teach
 Facilitate
 Continue
to learn
Professional Growth of
Parent Educators
Join LAPEN
Network
NPEN Listserve
Track professional development
Seek & explore latest research
Where is Parent Education
Happening?
 Schools
 Child
 Social
care centers
service agencies
 Healthcare
 Faith-based
facilities
institutions
 Other
???
Session II
Content and Delivery of
Parent Education
that Works!
How?
What?
Why?
How do Parent Educators Teach?




Utilize evidenced-based research
Avoid using personal anecdotal
information
Qualify information you give as either
“my opinion/experience” vs. research
Encourage parents to recognize what they
are doing right = empowerment
What do Parent Educators Teach?
(CDC Study, Content Components)








Child development
Positive interactions with child
Responsiveness, sensitivity and nurturing
Emotional communication
Disciplinary communication
Discipline and behavior management
Promoting children’s social skills
Promoting children’s cognitive skills
What do
Parent Educators Use?
(CDC Study, Delivery Components)
 Curriculum
or Manual
 Modeling
 Homework
 Rehearsal,
Role Playing, or Practice
 Separate Child Instruction
 Ancillary Services
What Skills do
Parent Educators Use?

Resist giving immediate advice, answers &
solutions
• Guide parents to explore options

Resist being the expert on EVERYTHING!

Resist citing research on EVERYTHING!

Allow parents to find their own comfort
zone
Parent Educator
Facilitation Skills
●Creating an open and supportive climate
●Know when to be supportive or when to
refer out
●Introduce appropriate information for
discussion
●Encourage participation
●Help create a feeling of group trust
●Summarize major points
●Encourage parents with praise
●Encourage parent to parent relationships
Why do Parents Join Groups or
Take Classes?
 Feeling
overwhelmed or inadequate
 Needs help sorting out contradictory
information
 Individual child rearing concerns
 Place to sort out feelings
 Seeking ways to transmit their values
and morals
 Mandatory
Adult Learning Principles





Adults are motivated to learn as they develop
needs and interests generated by real life
tasks or problems
Learning is life or work centered
Experience is the richest resource for adult
learning
Adults have a deep need to be self-directing
Individual differences increase with age and
experience
What Parent Groups Offer
 Isolation
seeks socialization
 Helps parents create a new normal
 Spin off friendships / playgroups
 Observes others’ parenting skills
 Builds confidence as a parent
How to Evaluate a Program
Two Outcomes Examined
(CDC Study)
Outcome 1: Acquiring Parenting Skills
and Behaviors
Outcome 2: Decreases in Children’s
Externalizing Behaviors
Outcome 1: Acquiring Parenting
Skills and Behaviors
Components Associated with Larger Effects on
Parenting Behaviors & Skills Outcomes
I. Teach parents emotional communication skills
II. Teach parents positive parent-child interaction
skills
III. Require parents to practice with their child
during program sessions
I. Teach parents emotional
communication skills
5 Stages of Emotional Communication
1. Emotional awareness
2.
Connecting during emotional moments
3.
Listening with empathy
4.
Naming emotions
5.
Finding good solutions
TALARIS RESEARCH
INSTITUTE, John Gottman, Ph.D
Emotion Coaching
Video
TALARIS RESEARCH INSTITUTE, John Gottman, Ph.D
II. Teach parents positive parentchild interaction skills
 Non-disciplinary

interactions
Play
 Using
skills that promote positive
parent-child interactions



Enthusiasm
Following interests
Age appropriate recreation
 Provide

positive attention
Connecting / Reconnecting
III. Require parents to practice with
their child during program
sessions
 Role-playing
with the
parent trainer or a peer
 Practice
parent
skills with own child
Outcome 2: Decreases in
Children’s Externalizing Behaviors
Components Associated with Larger Effects on
Children’s Externalizing Behaviors
I. Teach parents the correct use of time out
II. Teach parents to respond consistently to their
child
III. Teach parents to interact positively with their
child
IV. Require parents to practice with their child
during program sessions
I. Teach parents the correct use
of time out
 One
minute/year of age
 Set timer
 Location
 3 years and up
 Over use
 Lesson learned?
 Alternatives?
www.vanderbilt.edu/csefel/scripte
dstories/tuckerturtle.ppt
II. Teach parents to respond
consistently to their child
 Parents
agree on discipline
 Plan ahead for persistent problems
 Say it one time – then act
 ACT*



Acknowledge behavior/feelings
Communicate the rule
Target acceptable behavior (redirect)
*1 2 3 4 Parents, Michael Popkin,
Ph.D
III. Teach parents positive
parent-child interaction skills
 Non-disciplinary

interactions
Play
 Using
skills that promote positive
parent-child interactions



Enthusiasm
Following interests
Age appropriate recreation
 Provide

positive attention
Connecting / Reconnecting
Positive Parent-Child
Interactions
Learning Happens Video
Zero to Three, National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families
IV. Require parents to practice with
their child during program
sessions
 Role-play
 Practice
with the parent trainer or a peer
parent skills with own child
BUSY BABIES
VIDEO
Lunch
&
Networking
Evaluate Your Program

What components in my program are
effective?

What components in my program are
ineffective?

How could additional effective components
be added to my existing program?

How could ineffective components be
eliminated from my existing program?
Session III
Theory to Practice:
Parenting Education that
Makes a Difference
Commonly Used Components in
Parent Education






Tailoring parenting classes to appropriate
ages and stages
 “One size does not fit all”
Video examples of parent/child interactions
Homework
Teaching child development
Teaching problem-solving
Focus on cognitive / academic development
If Parents do not attend or
endorse the need to learn and
use new strategies, even the
most effective
parenting program
WILL NOT WORK!
Motivation for Parents to
Continue to Attend
We know what to teach.
We know how to teach.
BUT…
How do we keep them coming back?
Marketing Strategies
 Media
 Healthcare
facilities
 Pediatrician / Obstetrician offices
 Social service agencies
 Legal system
 Library
 Community fairs
 Schools
 Retail outlets
CDC Study Results say…
“…decades of research show that active
learning approaches are superior to
passive approaches. Therefore parent
education programs that seek to
presumably change behavior but do not
use an active skills acquisition mechanism
were not included in the meta-analysis”
So…
Classroom instruction alone
doesn’t work
Active learning approaches must
be incorporated
The Parenting Center
at
Children’s Hospital
 Program
model
 Support & funding
 Staff
 Utilization
 Classes/activities/programs
 30 Years and Counting!
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TheArtandScienceinprogress - Louisiana Parenting Education