Nov 09, 2009


The STAR Parenting
Program teaches at-risk parents an acronym to use and strategies to improve
parenting practices. The parents were randomly assigned to either the treatment
group or a wait-list control group. This program was found to impact parent
discipline practices, parent-child interaction, parent anger-aggression, and
child behavioral and emotional problems.


Low-income, at-riskparents of children who are 1 to 5
years old

The program is
based on cognitive-behavioral theory. It is divided into four segments, one for
each part of the acronym, STAR. The first part encourages the parent to first stop and then think about how their child’s behavior may be affecting
their own thoughts and feelings. In the second segment, the parent is encouraged
to think of what their expectations are for their child and to ask if
they are reasonable expectations based on the child’s developmental stage. The
third and fourth segment covers how the parent should respond to or
sanction the child’s behavior. The third segment is when parents share the ways
they nurture their child and teach family values and culture, for example,
through telling stories, playing games, or cooking meals. The third segment
mainly focuses on reinforcing children’s positive behavior with rewards and
positive attention. The fourth segment involves how to sanction children’s
negative behavior. Techniques suggested are redirection/distraction, natural
consequences, time-out, ignoring, and setting limits.

The program is
implemented through 10 weekly, 1.5-hour sessions of small groups, no more than 4
parents at a time. Parents receive 4 1-hour audio tapes and workbooks to
reinforce what is discussed in the group.

Group facilitators
had experience working with low-income families ranging from 3 to 20 years. To
prepare for the program, facilitators met once a week for 2-hour sessions,
totaling 20 hours of program training. They also received a guidebook to aid in
the implementation of the program.


Nicholson, B., Anderson, M., Fox, R., & Brenner, V. (2002). One family at a
time: A prevention program for at-risk parents. Journal of Counseling and
Development, 80
(3), 362-371.

Parents reporting frequent use of verbal or physical punishment.Twenty-six parents of children ranging from 1 year to 5 years of age
participated in the evaluation. The parents came from a large, urban, Midwestern
city. Most participants were mothers and three of those mothers participated
with the child’s father. The caregivers were about 30 years of age on average
and most were African American (54 percent). Most parents were single (62
percent) and had an average of nearly 3 children. Most of the families made less
than $20,000 a year (53 percent).

Parents were randomly assigned to the STAR treatment group or a control group.Parents reported parenting behaviors, parenting stress, anger-related
feelings, and child behaviors. An interviewer also recorded observations on the
parent-child relationship, such as behaviors observed and functioning.

Results: The
treatment group experienced significant reductions in ineffective parenting
practices, parent-child dysfunctional interactions, parent anger-aggression
behaviors, child behavioral and emotional problems, and child problem behaviors.
These improvements occurred while the control group saw no significant changes
in these measures.

There were no
significant impacts for nurturing parenting, parent expectations, parent
distress, child temperament/”difficult child,” and the intensity and frequency
of child externalizing problems.



Nicholson, B., Anderson, M., Fox, R., & Brenner, V. (2002). One family at a
time: A prevention program for at-risk parents. Journal of Counseling and
Development, 80
(3), 362-371.


Early Childhood
(0-5), Community-based, Infants (0-12 months), Toddlers(12-36 months), Children
(3-11), Externalizing Problems, Parent or Family Component, Urban, High-Risk,
Child Maltreatment, Parent-Management Skills, White or Caucasian, Black or
African American, Hispanic or Latino, Co-ed.

information last updated on November 9, 2009