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Make Parenting A Pleasure


Minalee Saks, Executive Director
86 Centennial Loop
Eugene, OR 97401

(541) 484-5316           Fax: (541) 484-1449

Parent Training Speciality
0-8 years Target
Promising Rating

Make Parenting a Pleasure (MPAP) is a universal group-based parenting education and support program for parents with children 0-6 years of age. It was created in 1983 as a grassroots prevention program to address the stress, isolation, and lack of adequate parenting information so many parents experience. By the end of 1999 MPAP will be used in more than 300 sites in 30 states, Canada, Australia, an Army base in Germany, and in Romania. The program is grounded in best practice principles of the Family Resource Coalition of America, adult learning principles, and the findings of research. It remains an approach that is particularly attractive to parents because of its down-to-earth quality.

The specific content of MPAP was developed in areas parents identified as most important to them including dealing with stress, anger, social isolation, understanding normal child development, gaining positive discipline skills, communication skills, and wanting to develop feelings of competence in parenting. MPAP addresses the factors linked to child abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. Social isolation, poor parenting skills, low self-esteem, unrealistic expectations, and lack of support are risk factors this program impacts.

MPAP was designed for a wide spectrum of socioeconomic, educational, cultural, ethnic, religious and geographic conditions. The common denominator was parenting young children experiencing stress. All materials for parents were written at the 4th grade reading level. The curriculum and all training stress the importance of adapting the curriculum to the needs of the group in terms of pace, language, and style. The MPAP curriculum is composed of 13 written content modules, each which contains enough information for multiple sessions, and 10 short integrated videos. Programs can be offered as a 13 session series, or as a program of up to one year in length with weekly sessions. Each session is approximately 2 hours in length. The curriculum content addresses the following parenting skills and issues: getting started, nurturing, understanding stress, stress and anger management, managing anger and modeling alternatives, the dance of communication, listening skills, verbal communication, child development, discipline, and closure.

MPAP is a group-based curriculum offered at local schools, YMCA's, health departments, community centers, hospitals, churches, low income housing projects, parenting centers, doctors offices, WIC offices, day care centers, etc. Participants in the parenting groups number 15-20. Although the program has been successfully used with one parent educator or group leader per group, two group leaders per group is recommended.

There have been two empirically designed evaluations done on the Make Parenting a Pleasure Program; one when the program was produced in 1996 and the other in 1999. In the 1999 project 74 of the 168 self-referred or professionally referred parents completed pre and post test measures. Criteria for inclusion in the study were: 1) parents reported low income, 2) stress, and 3) have at least one child under the age of seven. Participants were randomly assigned to either one of six wait list control groups or one of six 12-week MPAP classes.

While initial results of the MANOVA indicated the MPAP had little effect on the parents receiving the treatment, when compared to the wait-list control groups, the two post-hoc findings indicated that MPAP treatment group parents had significantly better post-test scores on discipline when compared to the wait-list controls. MPAP group parents who reported having extreme difficulty in managing their child due to their disciplinary practices also scored significantly better after MPAP when compared to equally stressed wait-list controls.

The 1996 evaluation included 52 parents that were either in one of two 12-week MPAP (n = 29) classes or in a wait-list control group (n = 23). The study examined the effect of the MPAP on: A) Parent Emotions; B) Parent Attitudes and Expectations; C) Parenting Skills; and D) Social Support. Parents completed a battery of questionnaires one week prior to the beginning of the program and again one week following the completion of the program. The results indicated there was a significant time x condition interaction effect for the total parent stressors score, the spouse scale, problems with family scale, abuse scale, stress scale, rigidity scale, unhappiness scale, and parent-parent communication scale. Effects and trends were in the hypothesized directions, except for the unhappiness scale.


Implementation Costs:

Staffing can be as small as one parent educator or group/class leader, but a team approach works well. A background in or knowledge of child development, parenting issues, and child abuse issues and indicators is recommended. The Make Parenting A Pleasure curriculum is sold as a complete set that includes 13 facilitator written modules on content areas, a guide for facilitators, a general appendix booklet, parent handout booklets, certificates for parents, and ten short videos that are integrated into the topic areas. The complete set of materials can be shared among a number of staff or programs and used for many years. The cost is $895 per set, with a reduced rate for multiple purchases. The materials are copyrighted and cannot be photocopied, with the exception of the parent handouts and activity sheets, which may be copied. Other expenses may include newsprint, inexpensive prizes for incentives, markers, etc. Good quality child care, nutritious snacks or light meals for children and parents are an integral part of our program. Transportation issues depend upon the families and location of the program.

Training Costs:

The length of the training workshop is two days. The maximum number of participants that can be trained in one workshop is 25. No minimum number is required. More participants can be trained with additional trainers. Two trainers per 25 participants are necessary to facilitate the training workshop. The exact fees for the training can be discussed with the program developer. Travel costs, which include airfare, hotel, ground transportation and per diem are separate from training costs. Printed training materials are provided, with some use of videos and overheads. Training is highly interactive, and is based upon the materials in the Make Parenting A Pleasure curriculum. Follow up training and or consultation is not required, but can be made available upon request.


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