Parenting Matters: Helping Parents With Young Children

2014-07-23 21:50:59 | BioPortfolio


Sleep and discipline problems are the most common problems for parents of young children (ages 2 to 5 years old) and are the two concerns with the strongest relations to future child behavior problems. The Parenting Matters program combines treatment booklets and telephone support to help parents deal with sleep or discipline problems. Parents with concerns and who are interested in the study are identified during a visit to their family physician. We, the investigators at the University of Western Ontario, expect that parents receiving treatment booklets, along with usual care by their family physician, will have greater reductions in their child's sleep or discipline problems, improved parenting practices, and greater reductions in child behaviour problems after receiving the Parenting Matters intervention, compared to parents receiving usual medical care.


About 1 in 5 young children (ages 2 to 5 years) has a significant psychosocial problem, but over 80% do not receive treatment. Without treatment, up to half of these children will have problems into childhood and adolescence. New methods of treating and preventing children's psychosocial problems are needed.

Sleep and discipline problems (or child non-compliance) are the most common problems for parents of young children, and are the two concerns with the strongest relations to future child behavior problems. Further, parenting practices have consistently been linked to the development of psychosocial problems. The Parenting Matters program combines treatment booklets and telephone support to help parents with sleep or discipline problems among young children.


- Test the efficacy of the Parenting Matters program interventions for sleeping and bedtime behaviors (Trial 1), and discipline (Trial 2) in reducing problem-specific outcomes.

- Test the effects of the Parenting Matters program interventions for parents who are concerned about both their children's sleep and discipline (Trial 3) in reducing problem-specific outcomes related to sleep (Group 1) and discipline problems (Group 2) will be tested.

- Test the efficacy of the Parenting Matters program in improving parenting practices.

- Test the efficacy of the Parenting Matters program in reducing child behaviour problems in general.

- Examine predictors of treatment success.


All parents of 2 to 5 year-olds seen in a family practice for a routine appointment are asked to complete a psychosocial concerns checklist. Parents who have concerns regarding their child's sleep (Trial 1), how to discipline their child (Trial 2), or concerns about both their child's sleep and discipline (Trial 3), and meet the other study criteria, are invited to take part in the study. Mailed baseline assessment packages assess children's behavior, parenting practices and potential predictors of treatment success.

Parents are randomized to usual care, or the Parenting Matters program along with usual care. The Parenting Matters program includes treatment booklets addressing either sleep or discipline problems, and telephone coach support (3 calls over 6 weeks).

Primary outcomes are parents' ratings of their children's sleep or discipline problems measured at post-treatment (7 weeks after baseline). Parents repeat assessment packages at 3- and 6-month follow-ups.

Goals & Relevance:

This research addresses the need for new ways of providing early interventions for young children that:

- reach the largest number of individuals in need;

- are cost effective; and

- time efficient.

By addressing the most common issues facing parents of young children, it engages parents in areas of direct relevance to them. The program focuses on parenting practices thereby building family strengths that may have a lasting impact on child development. Collaboration with family physicians builds on the ongoing positive relationships between parents and family physicians and provides a mechanism to reach a significant proportion of young children.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Sleep Problems


Self-help treatment booklet and telephone support, Usual care by a family physician


University of Western Ontario
N6C 5A2




University of Western Ontario, Canada

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-23T21:50:59-0400

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