Tuning in to Kids (TIK)

Scientific Rating:
2
Supported by Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
Medium
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Tuning in to Kids (TIK) has been rated by the CEBC in the areas of: Disruptive Behavior Treatment (Child & Adolescent) and Parent Training Programs that Address Behavior Problems in Children and Adolescents.

Target Population: Parents and caregivers of children with disruptive behavior between 18 months and 18 years of age; can be used with parents and caregivers of children without disruptive behavior between 18 months and 18 years of age as a preventive or early intervention

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 1 – 18

Brief Description

Tuning in to Kids (TIK) is a parenting program that focuses on emotions and is designed to assist parents to establish better relationships with their children. The program teaches parents simple emotion coaching skills - that is how to recognize, understand, and manage their own and their children’s emotions. When their children are emotional, parents: notice the emotion, name it, show empathy and then wait for the emotion to subside (often by comforting the child) before trying to talk about the situation leading to the emotional experience and or what to do about it. The program aims to prevent problems developing in children, promote emotional competence in parents and children, and when present, reduce and treat problems with children’s emotional and behavioral functioning. Delivery options range from a 6-session program with the general community through to a 10-session program for clinical/high need participants.

Program Goals:

The goals of Tuning in to Kids (TIK) are:

  • Teach parents skills in emotion coaching which are expect to:
    • Improve children’s emotional, social, and behavioral functioning
  • Specific changes expected in parents include:
    • Increased parent emotion coaching (i.e., viewing emotions as an opportunity for closeness and teaching children about their emotions)
    • Decreased parent emotion dismissing (i.e., where parents avoid, minimize, or criticize children’s emotional expression)
    • Increased parent emotion awareness and regulation
    • Improved parent-child connection
    • Increased emotional competence in children (skills in understanding and regulating emotions)
    • Decreased emotional and behavioral difficulties in children

Essential Components

The essential components of Tuning in to Kids (TIK) include:

  • Parents develop stronger relationships with their children by learning how to:
    • Become more emotionally responsive
    • Connect with children when their children are emotional and to use this as an opportunity to teach emotional awareness, understanding and regulation rather than as a time to withhold attention or punish
    • Reflect on the influences of their family of origin on their parenting
    • Understand the impact of emotionally dismissive versus emotion coaching parenting styles
    • Manage strong emotions such as sadness, anxiety, and anger in themselves and their children
    • Solve problems and negotiate limits around children’s behavior
    • Consider their own well-being and take care of themselves in order to better undertake the important role of parenting
  • TIK is delivered in a group format with a recommended size of up to 6 for higher need/clinical participants and up to 14 for a community group

Parent/Caregiver Services

Tuning in to Kids (TIK) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • All parents can benefit from program participation. In addition parents may benefit where they avoid, dismiss, or react with harsh criticism and punishment to children’s expression of their emotions. Parents of a child with emotional or behavioral difficulties (such as anxiety or disruptive behavior problems) are likely to benefit. Parents/carers of children who have experienced complex trauma may also benefit from the extended version of the program.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Agency
  • Hospital
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • School

Homework

Tuning in to Kids (TIK) includes a homework component:

Each week exercises are recommended, however, these are optional. All parents are encouraged to try out the skills taught in the group at home and to bring back examples for discussion and further role play.

Languages

Tuning in to Kids (TIK) has materials available in languages other than English:

Arabic, Cantonese, Somali, Vietnamese

For information on which materials are available in these languages, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

A room with chairs for 6-14 participants, a DVD player and TV, white board and (ideally) 2 facilitators.

Minimum Provider Qualifications

Bachelor’s level or Master’s level degree in a discipline such as psychology, social work, occupational therapy, psychiatry, nursing, speech-language therapy, teaching, or medicine.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Training is provided either in Melbourne onsite at the University of Melbourne or in the location requested by those requiring training. We have a training team who travel to deliver the Tuning in to Kids workshops.

Number of days/hours:

2 days for a total of 14 hours.

Implementation Information

Since Tuning in to Kids (TIK) is rated on the Scientific Rating Scale, information was requested from the program representative on available pre-implementation assessments, implementation tools, and/or fidelity measures.

Show implementation information...

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are no pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Tuning in to Kids (TIK).

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of Tuning in to Kids (TIK) as listed below:

Contact the Training Manager for supervision in setting up and implementing a Tuning in to Kids program. Support is offered via phone, Skype, or email. Please contact Ann Harley, MA, who is the Training Manager, at email: aeharley@unimelb.edu.au, phone: (613) 9371- 0210, and fax: (613) 9371- 0250. Information also available on www.tuningintokids.org.au.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for Tuning in to Kids (TIK) as listed below:

Fidelity checklists are provided in the Tuning in to Kids manual and are completed after each session.

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are no implementation guides or manuals for Tuning in to Kids (TIK).

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Tuning in to Kids (TIK).

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program is rated a "2 - Supported by Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The program must have at least one rigorous randomized controlled trial with a sustained effect of at least 6 months. The article(s) below that reports outcomes from an RCT showing a sustained effect of at least 6 months has an asterisk (*) at the beginning of its entry. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

Show relevant research...

Havighurst, S. S., Harley, A. E., & Prior, M. R. (2004). Building preschool children’s emotional competence: A parenting program. Early Education and Development, 15(4), 423-448.

Type of Study: Interrupted time series
Number of Participants: 43 Caregivers and 47 Children

Population:

  • Age — Children: 48-71 months (4 yrs.-5 yrs. 11 mos.), Caregivers: Mean=35 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Children: 24 Female and 23 Male, Caregivers: 43 Female and 7 Male
  • Status — Participants were parents of 4–5 year-old children recruited from three locations across the Melbourne metropolitan region in lower to middle class areas.

Location/Institution: Melbourne, Australia

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluated a six-session parenting program [now called Tuning in to Kids] that was delivered in preschool centers to parents with a four- or five-year old child. Measures utilized include Coping with Children’s Negative Emotions Scale (CCNES), the Child Rearing Questionnaire (CRQ), Parenting Sense of Competence Scale, Abbreviated Dyadic Adjustment Scale (ADAS), the General Health Questionnaire - 28 (GHQ), the Emotion Regulation Checklist (ERC), the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory 6 (ECBI), and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)  Results indicated that the parents reported that they were more encouraging of their children’s emotional expression, used emotion-focused approaches more frequently in interactions with their children, and were less critical and dismissive of their children’s emotional expression. Their children showed less emotional negativity and had significant reductions in difficult behaviors, especially those who had behavior problems prior to their parents’ participation in the program. Limitations include lack of control group and small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months.

Havighurst, S. S., Wilson, K. R., Harley, A. E., & Prior, M. R. (2009). Tuning in to Kids: An emotion-focused parenting program - initial findings from a community trial. Journal of Community Psychology, 37(8), 1008-1023.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 218

Population:

  • Age — Mean=36 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 209 Female and 9 Male
  • Status — Participants were parents from preschools (n=61) in culturally and linguistically diverse lower- to middle-class socioeconomic regions.

Location/Institution: Melbourne, Australia

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluated a group parenting program, Tuning in to Kids, which teaches emotion coaching skills to parents of preschool children. Preschools were randomized into intervention and waitlist control conditions. Measures utilized include Maternal Emotional Style Questionnaire (MESQ), Parent Emotional Style Questionnaire (PESQ), Difficulties in Emotional Regulation Scale (DERS), General Health Questionnaire–28 (GHQ), and the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory 6 (ECBI). Results showed parents in the Tuning in to Kids schools reported significant increases in emotion coaching and significant reductions in emotion dismissing with their children. Child behavior was also reported to improve. Of those with clinical levels of behavior difficulties, more than half were no longer at clinical level post program. Limitations include concerns about participant basis due to reliance on parent reports of change and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

*Havighurst, S. S., Wilson, K. R., Harley, A. E., Prior, M. R., & Kehoe, C. (2010). Tuning into Kids: Improving emotion socialization practices in parents of preschool children – findings from a community trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(12), 1342-1350.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 216

Population:

  • Age — Mean=36 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were parents from preschools (n=61) in culturally and linguistically diverse lower- to middle-class socioeconomic regions.

Location/Institution: Melbourne, Australia

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluated an effectiveness trial of the Tuning in to Kids (TIK) parenting program. Preschools were randomized into intervention and waitlist control conditions. Measures utilized include the Difficulties in Emotional Regulation Scale (DERS), the Maternal Emotional Style Questionnaire (MESQ), Parent Emotional Style Questionnaire (PESQ), the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test – Third Edition (PPVT-III), the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory 6 (ECBI), and the teacher report on the Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory. An observation of parenting on a parent-child story telling task and an assessment of the child’s emotion knowledge were also used. Results indicated parents in the TIK condition reported significant improvements in their own emotion awareness and regulation, increases in emotion coaching, and decreases in emotionally dismissive beliefs and behaviors. There were increases in parents’ observed use of emotion labels and discussion of causes and consequences of emotions with their children. Child emotional knowledge improved and reductions in child behavior problems were reported by parents and teachers. Six months after the program, parents in the TIK condition showed improvements on targeted aspects of parenting, and their children had better emotional knowledge and fewer behavior problems. Limitations include the self-report nature of the emotion coaching measures and possible expectancy bias on the parent report measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 months.

Wilson, K. R., Havighurst, S. S., & Harley, A. E. (2012). Tuning in to Kids: An effectiveness trial of a parenting program targeting emotion socialization of preschoolers. Journal of Family Psychology, 26(1), 56-65.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: Parents: 128

Population:

  • Age — Children: 4.0-5.11 years, Parents: Approximately 36 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Children: 52% Male, Parents: 118 Females and 10 Males
  • Status — Participants were parents of 4–5 year-old children attending preschools in the targeted area.

Location/Institution: Knox, Australia

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study reports on an effectiveness trial of the Tuning in to Kids (TIK) parenting program to improve emotion socialization practices in parents of preschool children. Parents were randomly assigned to TIK or a wait list control group. Measures utilized include the Maternal Emotional Style Questionnaire (MESQ), Coping with Children’s Negative Emotions Scale (CCNES), the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire (APQ), the Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation, and the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory 6 (ECBI)  At follow-up, compared to the control group, TIK parents were significantly less emotionally dismissive in their beliefs, less dismissive and more coaching in their practices in response to children’s negative emotions, and more positively involved. Although there were improvements in both conditions over time for parent-reported child behavior and teacher-reported social competence, compared to the waitlist group, TIK parents reported a significantly greater reduction in number of behavior problems. Limitations include possible expectancy bias on the self-report measures, lack of assessment immediately post-intervention, small sample size and generalizable to lower socioeconomic status or more culturally diverse populations.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 7-months after baseline (unclear how long after the end of the intervention).

*Havighurst, S. S., Wilson, K. R., Harley, A. E., Kehoe, C., Efron, D & Prior, M. R. (2013). Tuning in to Kids: Reducing young children’s behavior problems using an emotion coaching parenting program. Child Psychiatry & Human Development,44(2), 247-264.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: Children: 54, Caregivers: Not specified

Population:

  • Age — Children: 4 to 5.11 years, Caregivers: Mean=35 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Children: 78% Male, Caregivers: 100% Female
  • Status — Participants were parents of 4- and 5-year old children who presented with externalizing behavior difficulties to a child behavior clinic.

Location/Institution: Behavior Clinic of the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and the Western Sunshine Hospital in Melbourne, Australia

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluated a 6-session group parenting program, Tuning into Kids (TIK), as treatment for young children (aged 4.0–5.11 years) with behavior problems. Parents, recruited via a child behavior clinic, were randomized into intervention (TIK) or waitlist (clinical treatment as usual). Measures utilized include Maternal Emotional Style Questionnaire (MESQ), Parent Emotional Style Questionnaire (PESQ), Difficulties in Emotional Regulation Scale (DERS), the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test—Third Edition (PPVT III), Emotion Skills Task, the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory 6 (ECBI), and the Sutter-Eyberg Student Behavior Inventory. Results indicate parents in both conditions reported less emotional dismissiveness and reduced child behavior problems. In the TIK group, parents reported greater empathy and had improved observed emotion coaching skills; their children had greater emotion knowledge and reduced teacher-reported behavior problems. Limitations include small sample size, missing data, and treatment as usual was not regulated.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 months.

Duncombe, M. E., Havighurst, S. S., Kehoe, C. E., Holland, K. A., Frankling, E. J., & Stargatt, R. (2014). Comparing an emotion-and a behavior-focused parenting program as part of a multsystemic intervention for child conduct problems. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/15374416.2014.963855

Type of Study: Cluster randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 320

Population:

  • Age — Children: 4-9 years, Parents: Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — 91.9% Caucasian, 1.9% Middle Eastern 1.5% Asian, and 4.7% Other
  • Gender — Children: 74% Male, Parents: 93% Female
  • Status — Participants were parents of children who presented with emerging conduct problems.

Location/Institution: Northern Melbourne and Bendigo, Australia

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This paper evaluates the effectiveness of Tuning into Kids (TIK), as a treatment for children with emerging conduct problems. A repeated measures cluster randomized group design methodology was employed with three conditions (TIK, Triple P - Positive Parenting Program - Level 4 (Level 4 Triple P), and waitlist control). Measures utilized include the Conduct Problems Risk Screen (CPRS), Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory (ECBI), Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and the Home Interview With Child (HIWC). Results indicated that TIK was effective compared to a control group and that, TIK and Level 4 Triple P, produced similar change across three different outcome measures (including parent report, teacher report, and child assessment), and were equally effective in reducing child conduct problems. Limitations include results may have limited generalizability due to ethnicity, high attrition rate, and reliability on self-reported measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 months.

Havighurst, S. S., Duncombe, M. E., Frankling, E. J., Holland, K. A., Kehoe, C. E., & Stargatt, R. (2015). An emotion-focused early intervention for children with emerging conduct problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 43(4), 749-760.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: Children: 204, Caregivers: 204

Population:

  • Age — Children: 5-8 years, Caregivers: Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Children: 74% Male, Caregivers: 94% Female, 6% Male
  • Status — Participants were parents of children who presented with emerging conduct problems.

Location/Institution: Victoria, Australia

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This paper evaluates the effectiveness of Tuning into Kids (TIK), as a treatment for children with emerging conduct problems. Schools in lower socioeconomic areas were randomized into intervention or wait-list control. Measures include the Conduct Problems Risk Screen (CPRS), Maternal Emotional Style Questionnaire (MESQ), Self-Expressiveness in the Family Questionnaire, Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory 6 (ECBI), Kusche Affective Inventory – Revised (KAI-R), Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and the Social Competence Rating Scale (SCRC). Results indicated intervention parents but not control parents, became less emotionally dismissive and increased in empathy, and children showed better emotion understanding and behavior compared to control children. Limitations include generalizability to other ethnic populations, high attrition rate, and reliability on self-reported measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 10 months.

References

Havighurst, S. S., & Harley, A. (2007). Tuning in to Kids: Emotionally Intelligent Parenting Program Manual. Melbourne: University of Melbourne.

Havighurst, S. S., Harley, A. E., Kehoe, C., & Pizarro, E. (2012). Tuning in to Teens: Emotionally intelligent parenting. Program manual. Melbourne: The University of Melbourne.

Parker, R. (2007). Tuning in to Kids: Emotionally intelligent parenting - Program spotlight. Family Relationships Quarterly, 12, 15-17. Retrieved from http://www.aifs.gov.au/afrc/pubs/newsletter/n12pdf/n12.pdf

Contact Information

Name: Sophie Havighurst, PhD
Title: Principal Researcher
Agency/Affiliation: Tuning in to Kids, Mindful, University of Melbourne
Website: www.tuningintokids.org.au
Email:

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: September 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2017

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: July 2013