The Parent Project's Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior

About This Program

Target Population: Parents of what are collectively referred to as "strong-willed," or out-of-control adolescents and older children (11-17 years old), including children diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, and most children diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. The program has also been used with adult children still living in the home.

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 11 – 17

Program Overview

The Parent Project's Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior is a behaviorally based psychoeducational program for parents of acting out adolescents and older children which is presented only by trained Certified Parent Project Facilitators. Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior requires parents to attend a minimum of twenty hours of activity-based, highly structured classroom instruction, and six hours of support group involvement. Groups operate under the UCLA Self-Help Support Group Model, and may continue to meet indefinitely. Thus, Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior is not only a parent-training module, but also contains a subsequent ongoing support group component. The program follows the 216-page curriculum, A Parents' Guide to Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior. This program can serve as a stand-alone intervention for less severe issues, or concurrent with more traditional service delivery systems such as individual/family counseling, psychiatric treatment, inpatient, or residential care.

Program Goals

The goals of The Parent Project's Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior are:

  • Reduce family conflict including arguing and violence
  • Improve school attendance and performance
  • Reduce/prevent alcohol and other drug use
  • Reduce teen sexual acting out
  • Terminate poor peer associations (up to and including frank gang involvement)
  • Achieve appropriate parental response to teen runaway behavior
  • Achieve appropriate parental response to teen suicidal threats/attempts
  • Increase sense of parental efficacy (locus of control)
  • Improve family structure to be consistent with age-appropriate, developmental needs of children/adolescents, including age and developmentally appropriate rewards/consequences
  • Increase family bonding

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for The Parent Project's Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior.

Essential Components

The essential elements of The Parent Project's Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior include:

  • Teaching parents to move towards an authoritative parenting style with the goal of achieving a child-specific level of parent intervention and supervision
  • Each family in attendance using and completing parent workbook, A Parents' Guide to Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior by each family in attendance
  • Using activity-based learning components (e.g., visuals, videos, PowerPoint, Overhead/Elmo) with the parents
  • Using and completing learning activities in cooperative learning format with the parents
  • Instruction by a Certified Parent Project Facilitator (one who has completed the forty-hour training and received certification)
  • Parents attending a minimum 21 hours of classroom instruction with a class size of 12 to 20 parents and 6 hours of a support group after classroom instruction is finished
  • Parents attending a support group that adheres to the UCLA Self-Help Support Group Model

Program Delivery

Parent/Caregiver Services

The Parent Project's Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Children with the following issues: Arguing, violence, dropping out of school, truancy, gang involvement and other poor peer relations, destruction of property, defiance, alcohol and other drug abuse, sexual acting out, runaway threats and behavior, and suicidal threats and attempts.
  • Parental inconsistency and passivity
  • Inappropriate consequences, both rewards and consequences (e.g., too long- term, inadequate, overly harsh, etc.)
  • Overly permissive, autocratic, and neglectful parenting
  • Parental deficits of expression of love & affection
  • Deficits in family structure and cohesiveness (e.g., sense of family, family bonding) 
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Parents and additional caregivers (grandparents, other kinship caregivers, foster parents, and separated/divorced parents) may attend with parents, or at another Parent Project program offering to ensure consistency of parenting across environments.

Recommended Intensity:

Three-hour weekly classes for units 1-6, two-hour support group sessions for units 7-16

Recommended Duration:

Minimum 10 weeks (16 weeks recommended) with parents having opportunity to continue to attend self-help support groups indefinitely. Self-help support groups are leaderless with Facilitator support contact if needed, and are free of charge.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Daily Living Setting
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)


The Parent Project's Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior includes a homework component:

Weekly homework assignments are required with follow-up each succeeding week.


The Parent Project's Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior has materials available in languages other than English:

Hmong, Spanish

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 classroom of sufficient size for the number of attendees
  • Overhead projector or Elmo
  • Computer with LCD projector (preferable but not necessary)
  • Projection screen (or blank wall)
  • Tables suitable to seat 4 – 6 persons
  • Comfortable chairs
  • Minimum of one Certified Parent Project Facilitator
  • Additional helpers as needed
  • One Parent Project workbook for each family in attendance.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

There is no minimum education requirement to train to be a facilitator. Presenters of Parent Project program must have completed the 40-hour Parent Project Facilitator Training and received certification to present The Parent Project and to purchase parent workbooks.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Parent Project Facilitator training weeks are provided three to four times per year at our home training facility in Southern California, and regionally and on-site for larger agencies, by contract.

Number of days/hours:

Five days, forty hours, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM, with one hour lunch (provided, on-site).

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Stolz, H. E., Vargas, L., Hunter, S. B., Clifford, L. M., Gaedt, H. A., & Garcia., C. (2010). Evaluating parent project: A multi-site inquiry. Family Science Review, 15(1), 1-12.

Type of Study: One group pre-test post-test study
Number of Participants: Parents: 127, Adolescents: 71


  • Age — Parents: Mean=42.1 years, Adolescents: Mean=14.1 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Parents: 57% European-American/White, 20% Latino, and 10% African-American; Adolescents: Not Specified
  • Gender — Parents: 76% Female, Adolescents: 44% Female
  • Status — Participants were parents of at-risk or out-of-control adolescents.

Location/Institution: 13 program workshop sites in California, Pennsylvania, Florida, Idaho, Ohio and Alabama

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This study reports on a mixed-method evaluation of The Parent Project, a parent education program for parents of at-risk adolescents. Parents attending The Parent Project workshops were invited to participate in the surveys. Measures utilized include the Child Report of Parent Behavior Inventory and the Child Behavior Checklist – Youth Self-Report. Results comparing preworkshop data with week 8 data suggested significant increases in parent-reported parental support, parental behavioral control, and youth achievement, and significant decreases in youth antisocial behavior. Youth reported significant increases in maternal and paternal support and maternal behavioral control, and significant decreases in antisocial behaviors. Limitations include lack of randomization of participants, lack of control group, and lack of follow-up.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: None.

Doumas, D. M., King, M., Stallworth, P. P., & Lundquist, A. (2015). Evaluation of a parent-based intervention for at-risk adolescents. Journal of Addictions and Offender Counseling, 36, 66-80.

Type of Study: Pretest/Posttest
Number of Participants: 84


  • Age — 30-62 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 89.7% Caucasian, 7.7% Hispanic, 1.3% American Indian, and 1.3% African American
  • Gender — 62.3% Female and 37.7% Male
  • Status — Participants were parents of at-risk or out of control adolescents.

Location/Institution: Northwestern region of the United States

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This study evaluated the effectiveness of The Parent Project, among parents of at-risk youth in the areas of general child management, family involvement, negative parent–child affective quality, substance use rules communication, and parental self-efficacy (PSE) in the ability to affect adolescent substance use. Measures utilized include the General Child Management Scale, Family Involvement Scale, Negative Parent–Child Affective Quality Scale, and the Substance Use Rules Communication Scale. Results indicated improvements in child management, family involvement, parent-child affective quality, substance use rules communication, and PSE at a 10-week follow-up. Limitations include lack of randomization of participants, generalizability due to ethnicity, and length of follow-up.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: 10 weeks.

Additional References

Chibnall, S. H., & Abbruzzese, K. (2004). A community approach to reducing risk factors. The Journal of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 10(1), 30-31. Retrieved from

Contact Information

Ralph Fry
Title: President
Agency/Affiliation: Parent Project, Inc.
Phone: (800) 372-8886
Fax: (702) 293-6276

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: December 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2020

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: September 2012