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A parenting programme does not affect behavioural problems in toddlers

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How effective is a parenting programme in preventing behavioural problems in childhood?


Consecutive mothers (n = 733) of 6–7-month-old infants attending routine health visits.


40 primary care nursing centres, Melbourne, Australia; recruitment 2004.


Parenting programme of teaching, video, role play and written information focused upon key parental risk factors for childhood behavioural problems: harsh parenting, unreasonable expectations and lack of nurturing. Three sessions were conducted at 8, 12 and 15 months. The first involved literature on child development and ways to promote language development; the second, ways to develop a close, sensitive relationship with the toddler and promote desirable behaviour; and the third covered management of unwanted behaviour. The programme was delivered by a trained nurse and co-facilitator. Control group was usual maternal and child health care.


Maternal report of externalising behavioural problems on the 99-item validated child behaviour checklist. Other outcomes: parenting styles on the parent behaviour checklist; child’s temperament using …

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  • Competing interests: None.

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