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LENGTH OF TIME RECOMMENDED FOR PARENTING EDUCATION TO HAVE IMPACT


Dana McDermott, Ph.D. (2002)
School for New Learning, DePaul University
dmcderm2@depaul.edu


This is taken from a draft of a publication in preparation by D. McDermott entitled "Parenting education from k-12: Theoretical and empirical background and support." Portions of this material were prepared with support from New York State toward implementation of the parenting education requirement for high school graduation. It will be useful for many projects that call for theoretical framework and resources. This document may be duplicated for educational or advocacy purposes with acknowledgement of authorship

References are listed at www.preparetomorrowsparents.org/references.html

From Reppucci (1997) “In addition, Powell argued for the implementation of programs with sustained contacts (i.e., at least 3 months) in order to achieve the most pervasive and sustained effects on family functioning. This recommendation calls into question the effectiveness of short parent education classes that are not accompanied by long-term follow-up or other contacts.” (p. 34) See Powell, D. (1989) Families and early childhood programs. Washington, D.C.: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

From Tomison (1998) “Overall, the committee concluded that it was unrealistic to expect a short-term parent skills program in isolation to create lasting change (Chalk & King 1998).” (pp. 22-23) According to Chalk and King, “ The intensity of the social support services required may be greater than initially estimated in order to address the fundamental sources of conflict, stress and violence that occur repeatedly over time in the family environment, especially in disadvantaged communities. Focusing as they do on single incidents and short periods of support, the interventions in this area may be inadequate to deal with problems that are pervasive, multiple and chronic.” (p. 102).

From Luster and Youatt (1989) “…the results of this study suggest that pre-parenthood education is one service that shows considerable promise as a way of helping adolescents prepare for the parenting role. However, given what we know about intervention programs generally, we would hope that pre-parenthood education would be viewed as part of a series of services for parents and parent-to-be rather than a one time ‘inoculation’ against poor parenting practices. It seems highly unlikely that a one- semester course in high school can provide all the information and support that young people need in order to provide optimal care for the next generation of children, but it seems to provide a push in the right direction.” (p. 13).

From Brown (1998) “One reason that relatively small gains for both children and parents have been found in some two- generation programs is that program delivery is not intense enough to bring about the desired change within the allotted time (Ramey & Ramey, 1998). The beliefs that drive parenting practices change slowly—if indeed parents want to change (Thomas, 1996). Program planners face the dilemma of providing the level of intensity that is necessary to reach the goals, knowing that hard to reach parents often are not willing or able to make that commitment. Many factors influence participation, enthusiasm and compliance.” (p. 10).

From Parke et al. (1980) produced a videotape of fathers feeding, changing and playing with their infant children as a means of enhancing fathers’ skills. The results suggested fathers who viewed the tapes were more knowledgeable and affectionate and displayed increased care-giving behaviors. Thus, things may be different for males than females in that males are more open to influence in an area for which they do not feel expert.

From Thomas (1996) Critics have claimed, for example, that simply providing parents with information about children’s development and teaching parenting as a collection of skills is not likely to affect deeper, critical parenting perspectives (Bromwich, 1981).

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