Active Parenting of Teens

About This Program

Target Population: Parents and caregivers of preteens and teens ages 10 to 17 with a wide range of problems including oppositional behavior, poor self-esteem, lack of general life skills

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 10 – 17

Program Overview

Active Parenting of Teens is a video-based parenting education program targeting parents of preteens and teens ages 10-17 who want to improve their parenting skills and their preteens’/teens’ behavior. It is based on the application of Adlerian parenting theory, which includes mutual respect among family members, non-violent discipline, problem solving, communication skills training, family enrichment, problem solving, and encouragement.

Active Parenting of Teens is conducted in one 2-hour class per week for 6 weeks. The program features a video that contains vignettes of a variety of typical family situations involving pre-teens and teens 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 Active Parenting of Teens 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 Active Parenting of Teens Parent's Guide contains all the information covered in Active Parenting of Teens, 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 of Teens are:

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

Essential Components

The essential components of Active Parenting of Teens include:

  • Uses a true multimodal, video-based delivery system:
    • Showing brief video vignettes involving pre-teens and teens that present new concepts and model both ineffective and positive parenting skills for each topic
    • Using the Active Parenting of Teens Leader’s Guide which provides a detailed structure for all aspects of the training
    • Providing experiential activities that reinforce key concepts and skill
    • Promoting leader-facilitated group discussion by following the Active Parenting of Teens Leader’s Guide
    • Providing extensive PowerPoint slides (which some leaders prefer to put on charts or board as they go)
    • Assigning homework to practice skills at home followed by discussing how it went at the next session thereby enhancing learning
    • Providing a comprehensive Active Parenting of Teens Parent’s Guide containing all content, exercises, home assignments, and class activities
  • Is organized around strength development in teens:
    • Focusing on developing and enhancing five key qualities in teenagers:
      • Courage
      • Responsibility
      • Cooperation
      • Mutual respect
      • Self-esteem
    • Focusing on teaching skills for improving everyday living in the family, school, and community
    • Focusing on the prevention of drugs, reckless sexuality, and violence; teen brain development; and the use of communication and problem solving skills
  • Is easy to lead:
    • Using the components of the program which facilitate the leading of group sessions
    • Providing leader training through live workshops and online, but is not required
  • Is flexible:
    • Attending group sessions
    • Having a leader come work with the client in the home (Home visitation)
    • Participating in online self-directed modules for parents
    • Watching videos on a television or a computer for either initial learning or review

Program Delivery

Parent/Caregiver Services

Active Parenting of Teens directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • For parents of teens and preteens who have a wide range of problems including oppositional behavior, poor self-esteem, lack of general life skills; for parents with poor parenting skills, lack of education for dealing with challenging teens, or family problems

Recommended Intensity:

1 group session per week for two hours each

Recommended Duration:

Six weeks

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Hospital
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Group or Residential Care
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)


Active Parenting of Teens includes a homework component:

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


Active Parenting of Teens has materials available in languages other than English:

Arabic, 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; 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 (LTW) are offered each year throughout the US and Canada. Two training of trainers workshops are offered each year in the US. Training is also available onsite upon request.

Number of days/hours:

LTW: 7 hours; Training of Trainers (TOT): 3 days (CEUs are available.)

Additional Resources:

There currently are additional qualified resources for training:

Participants successfully completing a TOT 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: One group pretest-posttest
Number of Participants: 42 (Active Parenting Today group); and 15 groups for Active Parenting of Teens with groups ranging in size from 5 to 20 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 in the groups for teens
  • 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: Canada

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study assessed the effects of Active Parenting Today (now called Active Parenting Now) 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. Analysis indicated that both programs resulted in a significant change in parental perceptions of behavior, according to the questionnaire administered. The results suggested that parents viewed their children’s or teens’ behavior as being more responsible for helpful after the program. Limitations include the lack of a control group and possible parental bias.

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. San Diego: Academic Press.

Contact Information

Michael H. Popkin, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: Active Parenting Publishers
Phone: (678) 738-0462
Fax: (770) 429-0334

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: December 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: January 2013

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: January 2013