Active Parenting 4th Edition

About This Program

Target Population: Parents and caregivers of children ages 5 to 12

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 5 – 12

Program Overview

Active Parenting 4th Edition is a video-based parenting education program targeting parents of children from early childhood through early teens who want to improve their parenting skills and their child’s behavior. It is based on the application of Adlerian parenting theory, which includes mutual respect among family members, nonviolent discipline, problem solving, communication skills training, family enrichment, and encouragement.

Active Parenting 4th Edition is conducted in one 2-hour class per week for 6 weeks. The program features a video (either on two DVDs or embedded in a PowerPoint presentation) that contains vignettes of a variety of typical family situations depicted by professional actors. Each scene provides an example of how an autocratic or permissive parenting technique fails to handle a situation and then models the alternative authoritative (or "active") skills. The Leader's Guide aids the leader, a professional facilitator, in organizing the sessions. The guide contains session organizers, questions and answers to help parents process the video, instructions for all group activities, brief explanations to be made by the leader, and home activity assignments. The Parent's Guide and Parent’s Workbooks contain all the information covered in Active Parenting 4th Edition, giving parents their first exposure to the information and skills they will be learning. It also includes additional reading material, practice activities, and homework assignments that provide information and opportunities to practice using the skills.

Program Goals

The goals of Active Parenting 4th Edition are:

  • Teach parents a comprehensive model of parenting that will better enable their children to survive and thrive in a modern democratic society
  • Decrease the amount of parent-child relationship problems
  • Improve child behavior
  • Improve child welfare

Essential Components

The essential components of Active Parenting 4th Edition include:

  • Uses a multimodal, video-based delivery system:
    • Brief video vignettes with new concepts and both ineffective and positive parenting skills for each topic
    • A structured Leader’s Guide with a detailed structure for all aspects of the training
    • Experiential activities reinforce key concepts and skills
    • Leader facilitated group discussion guided by the Leader’s Guide
    • Extensive Power Point slides (which some leaders prefer to put on charts or board as they go)
    • Home assignments followed by next session feedback enhance learning
    • A comprehensive Parent’s Guide containing all content, exercises, home assignments, and class activities
  • Organized around strength development in children:
    • Focuses on developing and enhancing five key qualities in children while at the same time teaching skills for improving everyday living in the family:
      • Courage
      • Responsibility
      • Cooperation
      • Mutual respect
      • Self-esteem
    • Designed to be easy to lead:
      • Components of the program facilitate the leading of group sessions
      • Leader training available through live workshops and online, but not required
    • Designed to be flexible in that it can be delivered any of the following ways:
      • Group Sessions
      • Home visitation
      • Self-directed online delivery to parents
      • Media-based delivery or review (television or Internet)

Program Delivery

Parent/Caregiver Services

Active Parenting 4th Edition directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Parent of a child with any of a wide range of problematic behaviors, thoughts, or traits including oppositional behavior, poor self-esteem, and a lack of general life skills; parent with poor parenting skills, lack of education on parenting skills for more challenging children, or problems in the family
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: This is a parenting education program designed to improve child functioning through change in the parent’s knowledge, attitudes, and parenting skills.

Recommended Intensity:

Weekly 2-hour group session

Recommended Duration:

Six weeks

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Agency
  • Hospital
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • School


Active Parenting 4th Edition includes a homework component:

Each session concludes with homework assignments designed to aid parents in applying new information and skills with their children at home. These assignments are supported in the Parent’s Guide and Parent’s Workbook and then followed up the next session by the leader using questions from the Leader’s Guide. Languages


Active Parenting 4th Edition has materials available in languages other than English:

Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Swedish

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:

Groups are usually led by a single leader with either a mental health or education background. In addition, a comfortable room that will seat 10-20 parents in chairs; a TV and DVD player or computer; and either a means of projecting a PowerPoint presentation and/or a whiteboard or flipchart.

Education and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

This is left up to the providing organization, but most leaders have a degree in mental health, education, or a related field.

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:

Over 50 one-day Leader Training Workshops and Webinars (LTWs) are offered each year. Online LTWs (OLTWs) are available at any time online. A Training of Trainers (TOT) Workshop is offered each summer for leaders desiring to offer LTWs in their own communities. Onsite training is available by request.

Number of days/hours:

LTW: 7 hours; OLTW: 30 hours (includes reading); TOT: Three days. (CEUs are available through NBCC for all workshops.)

Additional Resources:

There currently are additional qualified resources for training:

Participants successfully completing a Training of Trainers are authorized to conduct LTWs.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Mullis, F. (1999) Active Parenting: An evaluation of two Adlerian parent education programs. Journal of Individual Psychology, 55, 225-232.

Type of Study: Pretest-posttest
Number of Participants: Active Parenting Today groups: 287 parents; Active Parenting of Teens: 98 parents.


  • Age — Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — Active Parenting Today group: 85% White, 9% African Americans, and 1.5% Other; Active Parenting of Teens group: 77% White, 20% African American, 1.5% Hispanic, and 1.5% Native American
  • Gender — 71% Female and 29% Male
  • Status — Participants were parents who registered for parent education classes focusing on either young children or on teens.

Location/Institution: United States (multiple locations throughout)

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study assessed the effects of Active Parenting Today (now called Active Parenting 4th Edition) and Active Parenting of Teens on children’s and teens’ behavior as perceived by their parents. Measures used were the About My Child questionnaire and the About My Teen questionnaire. Results indicated that both programs resulted in a significant change in parental perceptions of behavior, according to the questionnaire administered.. Limitations include the lack of a control group, possible parental bias, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Not specified.

Fashimpar, G. (2000). Problems of parenting: Solutions of science. Journal of Family Social Work, 5(2), 67-80.

Type of Study: Nonequivalent control group design
Number of Participants: Training group=37; Comparison group=27


  • Age — Approximately 33 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — “Mostly Caucasian”
  • Gender — 75% Female
  • Status — Participants were parents who registered for parent education classes focusing on either young children or on teens. Voluntary subjects were recruited through employee assistance programs, social service agencies, self-help groups, a rural daycare center, a church, private social work practices, and a university. Involuntary subjects were recruited from child protective service units in several communities.

Location/Institution: Not specified

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study included a treatment group and a wait-list comparison group to assess the effects of the Active Parenting Discussion Program (now called Active Parenting 4th Edition). Measures utilized include the Index of Parental Attitudes (IPA) and the Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory (AAPI). The Active Parenting group improved in their attitudes toward physical punishment of children and had an improvement in clinically severe parent-child relationship problems. However, statistical comparisons between the intervention and control groups were not reported. Limitations include the lack of randomization of sample and group assignment and lack of ethnic diversity.

Length of postintervention follow-up: Not specified.

Additional References

CLAS (Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services) Review. (2001). Padres Activos de Hoy. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. CLAS #CL03985.

Popkin, M. (1991). Active Parenting: A video-based program in M. Fine (Ed.), The second handbook of parent education (pp. 77-98). San Diego: Academic Press.

Contact Information

Michael Popkin, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: Active Parenting Publishers
Phone: (800) 825-0060
Fax: (770) 429-0334

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: December 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: February 2013