The evidence-base is weak for parenting education interventions that can be delivered at a broad or universal scale. My colleagues and I identified two such interventions that have promising evidence behind them. We are now in the midst of conducting a community-based randomized controlled trial (RCT) to investigate their efficacy in improving parent and child behavior and other outcomes relevant to children’s well-being. The two interventions are Play Nicely and Triple P-L2 (Level 2 only).
Play Nicely is a 30 minute, computer-based education module that can be made available universally in any clinic or primary care setting that serves parents. The intervention was created by pediatrician Dr. Seth Scholer at Vanderbilt University. The program uses narrated modules to enhance parenting skills and promote effective parenting responses to aggressive behavior in young children. The module presents a hypothetical situation of one child harming another, then detailed recommendations for how to prevent this behavior. The viewer is presented with 20 different ways to respond to the situation and can select and review as many as they like. After selecting one, the parent receives feedback about whether that discipline option is considered “Great,” “Good option after others have been tried,” or “There are better options.” Pilot studies have shown Play Nicely to be promising for improving attitudes and intentions linked with positive parenting, increasing self-efficacy in responding to aggressive child behavior, and reducing support for use of CP.
Triple P-L2, as implemented in this study, consists of a brief, 30 minute, one-on-one consultation with a licensed professional (M.S.W. or equivalent) who has undergone “Primary Care Triple P” training with Triple P America (Turner, Sanders, & Markie-Dadds, 1999). After the consult, the parent receives a positive parenting booklet and tip sheets (all produced by Triple P America at the sixth grade reading level) that provide information on the management of common emotional and behavioral problems in children. Prior RCTs of Triple P-L2, with group versus one-on-one administration, showed promising effects on parent and child behavior outcomes.
The evidence to date for both of these interventions is promising but not strong enough to justify full-scale implementation and dissemination to broad or universal populations of parents. Our study was designed to fill this gap by providing a rigorous test of both of these interventions in order to contribute to a much needed evidence-base for scalable positive parenting education.