ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents
About This Program
Target Population: Parents of children and adolescents, aged 9 to 14 years old
For parents/caregivers of children ages: 9 – 14
ABCD is a 4- to 6-week psychoeducational group-based parenting program. The program is founded in social learning principles and acceptance-based strategies. ABCD focuses on building stronger relationships between parents and their adolescent child by educating parents on the developmental stage of adolescence and associated challenges of this period in life. The program also tackles issues commonly faced by parents when parenting adolescents and aims to promote enhanced parental acceptance of their adolescent child.
ABCD emphasizes the importance of collaborative decision-making and problem-solving between parent and adolescent. Parents are also taught strategies around effective monitoring of their adolescent child and how to deal with inappropriate and risky behaviors (e.g., drug use). Finally, parents are informed on the importance of self-care and personal well-being.
Group delivery was chosen as a way to normalize common issues and challenges faced by parents. Within the group format, parents are provided with a forum to discuss and share ideas and experiences around parenting adolescents, which in turn can counteract feelings of isolation. In addition to group discussion and content learning, group-based activities and in-home exercises promote real-life skill development that is supplemented by brief instructions and constructive feedback.
The goals of ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents are:
- Maximize adolescent children’s wellbeing and resilience by strengthening family relationships and cohesion
- Build stronger connections between parent and adolescent
- Develop effective communication between parent and adolescent
- Encourage acceptance amongst parents toward their adolescent child
- Help parents develop problem-solving skills, with a particular focus on dealing with interpersonal conflicts
- Promote the use of effective and fair limit-setting (e.g., boundaries, rules)
- Promote effective and appropriate monitoring and supervision of adolescent
- Help parents develop approaches and practices of self-care (e.g., recreation)
The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents.
The essential components of ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents include:
- Core content:
- Help participants better understand challenges associated with the childhood-adulthood transition
- Help participants identity core parenting goals and establish action plans to reach goals
- Help participants develop an appreciation of the importance of connection as a means to develop stronger parent-child relationships and bolster skills around effective problem-solving
- Help participants develop effective communication skills
- Help participants understand the benefit of involving their adolescent child in problem-solving and decision-making
- Help participants effectively use strategies to set rules and boundaries around their own and their adolescent child’s behavior
- Help participants develop appropriate skills and approaches to dealing with parent-child conflict
- Help parents develop strategies around dealing with adolescent risk-taking
- Encourage parental self-care
- ABCD is culturally and linguistically sensitive:
- Collaborative facilitator-parent nature of ABCD encourages facilitators to understand the values, beliefs, perspectives, and aspirations of the parent
- Program content related to parent experiences, which can help overcome barriers around understanding unfamiliar information, issues, or activities
- Exploring cultural perspectives of parents to help tailor program delivery that is more culturally appropriate
- During all sessions, the following are emphasized:
- Group discussions between program participants and program facilitators (e.g., around program content, personal experiences)
- Various exercises to help participants better understand and practice strategies, skills, or techniques taught throughout sessions
- Joint collaborative approach between facilitator and participant with respect to all aspects of the program
- Role of Facilitators:
- Provide encouragement, constructive feedback, and praise to participants
- Build collaborative relationships with participants, and help develop meaningful tailored goals for participants to reach
- Encourage participants to complete group-based exercise and in-home activities as a means to better realize identified goals
- Avoid advice-giving, and focus more around providing ideas and options
- Are nonjudgmental, understanding, and optimistic
- Use active listening and aim to understand the participant’s point of view
- Help participants to manage setbacks
- Groups of 8-12 parents, in 150-minute sessions
- 4 weekly sessions
- Can be adjusted to 6 weekly sessions (120 minutes each) which allows for longer consideration of content material or issues and more time for participants to practice skills or strategies under the facilitator’s supervision.
- An ABCD-plus version is also available (over 6 sessions), and is designed as a preventative program for families presenting with early warning signs (e.g., high amounts of conflict or adolescent risky behaviors) with a focus around managing conflict and restoring damaged relationships. Most families would need to complete the ABCD program before commencing the plus version. However, it must be noted that the ABCD-plus version is not described further in this application (aside for the description above). Also, studies included in this application pertain to the ABCD program only.
ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:
- Parents, where the family has yet to experience difficulties and the parent or adolescent has no learning or development problems; the parent or adolescent has no mental illness; the adolescent has no medical condition; or adolescent is not engaged with specialist services (e.g., psychological or psychiatric treatment)
2 program delivery options: 4 sessions, once per week, with a duration of 150 minutes per session; or 6 sessions, once per week, with a duration of 120 minutes per session
4 or 6 weeks
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents includes a homework component:
The following is based on the 4-session delivery version, with homework tasks assigned at the end of sessions 1 to 3.
- Session 1 homework task: Start a home diary and monitor problems or issues between parent and adolescent throughout the week
- Session 2 homework task: Choose several goals around addressing problems between parent and adolescent, identify actions (e.g., use active listening) to help reach goals and monitor progress toward reaching goals
- Session 3 homework task: Choose an issue between parent and adolescent, then have a problem-solving discussion by using approaches and skills developed during session 3
ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents has materials available in languages other than English:
Arabic, Macedonian, Spanish, Turkish, 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:
- Ideally, sessions can be held at community agencies (e.g., neighborhood house, library, school, community center)
- Copies of parent handouts
- Overhead projector and screen or blank white wall
- Whiteboard (or butcher’s paper) and markers
- Name tags and pens
- Large enough room/space for approximately 15 chairs
- Chairs (enough for number of participants) and tables
Materials and resources needed at the venue are:
Manuals and Training
Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications
No specific qualifications are necessary. However, it is recommended that potential providers have an educational background and/or experience in human services or mental health (e.g., undergraduate or Masters of Human Services, Social Work, Psychology, Mental Health).
It is recommended that facilitators are knowledgeable and trained in group processes prior to program training and delivery.
There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.
There is training available for this program.
For training, contact the Parenting Research Centre (details above). Trainers can travel to specific agencies or organizations around the world to deliver training.
Number of days/hours:
2-day workshop training; approximately 8 hours per day
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
Burke, K., Brennan, L., & Cann, W. (2012). Promoting protective factors for young adolescents: ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents Program randomized controlled trial. Journal of Adolescence, 35(5), 1315-1328. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.05.002
Type of Study:
Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 180
- Age — Not specified
- Race/Ethnicity — 70% Australian
- Gender — 160 Female and 20 Male
- Status — Participants were recruited via newspaper and other forms of advertisement.
Location/Institution: North and West Metropolitan Region of Melbourne, Australia.
(To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This study tested the efficacy of a ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents program (ABCD) for promoting positive parenting practices, parent-adolescent relationships, and parent well-being; and reducing adolescent problem behavior. Participants were randomly allocated to ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents program or waitlist control group. Measures utilized include the Family Demographic Survey, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), the Issues Checklist, the Stress Index for Parents of Adolescents (SIPA), Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS 21), the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire, the Authoritative Parenting Questionnaire - Parent report form, the Monitoring/Supervision Scale (MSS), and the Consumer Satisfaction Scale (CSS). Results indicate that participation in the ABCD program resulting in significant improvements to levels of stress reported by parents in the intervention group. However participation in the ABCD program did not lead to improvements in parenting practices. No significant changes in parenting practices, level of involvement, positive parenting or consistency with discipline, were revealed from preassessment to postassessment. Additionally, following completion of the ABCD program intervention, parents described significant improvements in their adolescent’s prosocial behavior when compared to the control group participants. Limitations include reliance on self-report measures, generalizability to non-English speaking families and to families with lower levels of income and/or education, and parent-adolescent relationship was not measured.
Length of postintervention follow-up: None.
No reference materials are currently available for ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents.
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: September 2017
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: August 2020
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: March 2018