Parenting Skill-Building Programs

The importance of educating parents to be as effective as possible in raising children has been recognized in the United States since at least 1815, when the first parent group meetings were reported. These and other early efforts allowed groups of parents to gain emotional and social support from each other and to learn about child development.

In the early 1970's, a new approach to educating and training parents emerged - the creation and use of carefully constructed parenting skill-building programs.

These programs are designed to improve parental effectiveness by providing a clear parenting philosophy and a set of positive parenting skills and strategies that can be used immediately to address a variety of child-rearing challenges and problems.

Research has shown that these programs
  • Increase parental confidence
  • Reduce parental stress and anxiety
  • Improve parenting skills
  • Reduce or eliminate spanking and hitting
  • Improve parent-child relations
  • Reduce child behavior problems
  • Improve child cooperation
  • Improve child self-esteem
  • Improve child adjustment
  • Improve child academic performance
  • Strengthen families

The vast majority of programs are taught by professional instructors who have received specialized training in how best to teach them (See Training for Professionals).

The programs are taught in different communities as:
  • Multiple-session parenting classes that meet once or twice a week for several weeks, where all of the program’s parenting skills are presented,
  • One-Day Seminars where many of the skills are presented,
  • One-Session Meetings, such as Lunch-And-Learn meetings in work settings, where one or two skills are taught, or where a specific topic is covered.

Parents who participate in these classes, seminars or meetings receive handbooks or guidebooks to help them learn and to use for future reference (See Parenting Handbooks).

A variety of excellent parenting skill-building programs now exist, which you can bring to your community.

Below you will find a list of many of the better known and widely used programs.

Some were created by the Center for the Improvement of Child Caring (CICC), and all were carefully reviewed by Dr. Alvy and the other professional staff of CICC to ensure that what is taught in the programs is consistent with what the research on child-parent relations indicates is best for raising healthy and confident children and youth.

Some of the programs have been designed for use by all parents. Others have been designed for use with parents whose children are at the same stage of development, such as for parents of infants and toddlers, or parents of elementary school age children, teenagers, etc.

Other programs focus on one specific parenting challenge, such as dealing with sibling rivalry or finding alternatives to spanking and yelling.

Click on the programs that you would like to learn more about. In addition to descriptions of the programs, you will also learn how you can bring them to your organization or community. Information on ordering the program’s handbooks and instructor materials is also provided.

So click away and enjoy the largest and finest selection of programs to promote parent effectiveness and child development!

CICC’s Trio of National Model Programs
  • Confident Parenting
  • Effective Black Parenting
  • Los Niños Bien Educados
The Systematic Training for Effective Parenting Programs (STEP)
  • Early Childhood STEP
  • STEP for Parents of Elementary School Children
The Active Parenting Video-Based Programs
  • 1,2,3,4 Parents! Program for Parents of Infants and Toddlers
  • Active Parenting Now – For Parents of Children 5-12
  • Active Parenting of Teens
  • Active Parenting Today for Jewish Families
The Nurturing Programs
  • Prenatal Program
  • Parents and Their Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers (also in Spanish)
  • The ABC’s for Parents – Children 4 - 5 years (Assuring Better Children)
  • Crianza con Cariño para Padres y Niños (Spanish version of the program for Parents and Their Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers)
  • Parents and Children, 5 - 11 years
  • Crianza con Cariño para Padres y Hijos (Spanish version of the program for Parents and Their Children, 5 - 11 years)
  • Parents and Adolescents
  • Teenage Parents and Their Families
  • Nurturing Skills for Parents
  • Program Evaluation Tool
School Readiness and Parent Involvement Programs
  • School Success from the Start School Readiness Program
  • Parents on Board – Building Academic Success Through Parent Involvement

Shaking, Hitting, Spanking: What To Do Instead

Yelling, Threatening, Putting Down: What To Do Instead

Siblings Without Rivalry

Parenting in a TV Age

Understanding and Managing Child Defiance

The Southeast Asian Parenting Program

Self-Esteem: A Family Affair

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen

Platica de Auto-Estima

Stop & Think Program for Parents


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