Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Parenting UR Teen

Evidence level:
Evidence of effectiveness:
? - 0 + ++
? - 0 + ++
Enduring impact:
? - 0 +


'Parenting UR Teen' is a group-based parenting programme that aims to enhance family relationships, parental wellbeing and teen social functioning by promoting authoritative parenting style. The programme built on previous research findings suggesting that authoritative parenting practices, such as use of firm control and rational discipline, are associated with a number of positive outcomes: for example, better school performance, less delinquent behavior and enhanced emotional and social competence. The programme was delivered in eight weeks and incorporated weekly sessions on various topics including: parenting styles, teen development, self-esteem, conflict, problem solving. Evidence on the effectiveness of the 'Parenting UR Teen’ programme comes from one randomised controlled study that was run in Northern Ireland with 145 parents from a wide range of economic backgrounds. The evaluation results indicate that the programme is beneficial for parents in terms of improved overall well-being and that it also had positive impact on their child’s behavior and their family functioning as a whole.

Practice Category

  • Supporting Parenting and Assisting with Childcare

Recommendation pillar

  • Enhance family support and the quality of alternative care settings
  • Put in place mechanisms that promote children’s participation in decision making that affect their lives

Countries that have implemented practice

  • United Kingdom

Age groups

  • Middle Childhood (age 6 to 12)
  • Teenagers (age 13 to 19)

Target groups

  • Parents

Years in operation

  • 2010 - 2012

Scope of practice

  • Regional level

Type of organisation implementing practice

  • Other Private Organisation

The practice has been developed and implemented by Parenting Northern Ireland (Parenting NI), an organisation in Northern Ireland promoting positive parenting by offering support and training to parents. The study has been evaluated by the Institute of Child Care Research (ICCR) at Queen’s University Belfast.

Rationale of practice

There is a large body of evidence suggesting that adolescence can be particularly challenging period for young people as they undergo significant physiological, psychological and social change (Christie and Viner, 2005; Coleman, 2011). During these years, parents remain an important influence in many aspects of an adolescent’s life. The programme builds on previous research suggesting that parenting styles can affect youth’s well-being, social skills, academic performance and the degree of problem behaviour. The best-adjusted children often have parents with authoritative styles (Arnett, 2010; Asmussen et al., 2007). Authoritative parents carefully define limits, but also know the importance of open communication and provide support (Steinberg et al., 2006). There are number of positive outcomes linked to authoritative parenting including better school performance, enhanced social and emotional competence and physical health and wellbeing of adolescent children (Bradley et al., 2011; Chu et al., 2012). The main aim of the evaluation of the programme was to assess the impact of authoritarian parenting style through offering two hour long sessions over a period of eight weeks to parents of adolescent children.

Mode of delivery

  • Group sessions

The 'Parenting UR Teen' programme is a group based intervention. Group sessions include presentations delivered by programme facilitators, group discussions, and role-playing.

Delivery dosage

  • Frequency: Weekly
  • Duration: More than 1 hour sessions

The programme consists of eight weekly two hour-long sessions. The sessions explore a range of topics related to parenting young people, including teen development, self-esteem, rules, family conflict, or problem solving. More information about the programme as well as details of the sessions can be found on the 'Parenting UR Teen' manual, which was developed by Parenting NI. However, the manual cannot be accessed online.

Location of practice

  • Other

Parent attended the programme at convenient locations. However, the exact location where the programme was delivered is not specified in the study. The programme was implemented in Northern Ireland across three locations: Belfast, Enniskillen and Strabane.

Evidence of effectiveness

Evidence on the effectiveness of the ‘Parenting UR Teen’ programme comes from one randomised controlled study that was run in Northern Ireland. The study was targeted at parents with adolescent children and was running between 2011 and 2012 in fourteen different locations. In total 145 parents with wide range of economic backgrounds participated in the programme. Parents were assigned to the experimental group (n=91) or the waitlist control group (n=67). The goal of the evaluation was to assess programme impacts on the well-being of parents, teens and family. Progress in parental and child’s well-being was assessed with a variety of tests including the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) (Goldberg et al., 1978), the Parent Adolescent Relationship Questionnaire (PARQ) (Robin et al., 2011), the Stress Index for Parents of Adolescents (SIPA) (Sheras et al., 1998) and the Stattin and Kerr Parental Monitoring (Stattin and Kerr, 2000) measures. On average, the programme had positive impact on parental mental health, as well as on reducing parental stress and feelings of guilt. Similarly, participants in the experimental group reported positive family changes by improved communication, and problem solving within the family. Additionally, children of parents in the experimental group were less likely to engage in bad behaviour or demonstrate bad mood. However, the programme did not impact school performance or social outcomes as measured through levels of social isolation or communication between teens and parents.


  • Practice has not been evaluated in multiple populations 

Practice Materials

  • Practice materials available but not accessible online

There are programme manuals but these are not available online. There is no available information about how these can be accessed.

Cost information

  • Implementation cost information is not available

Enduring impact

  • No follow-ups have been conducted 

Evaluation details

Evaluation 1 

Reference: Higgins, K., Macdonald, G., McLaughlin, K., O’Hara, L., McCann, M., & Moriarty, J. (2012). Parenting UR Teen. A Randomised Trial of Implementation and Effectiveness. End of Study Report (June 2012). Belfast: Institute of Child Care Research, Queen's University Belfast.

The study used a randomised between subjects design to identify the effect of 'Parenting UR Teen' on parents, adolescents and the whole family. The eight-week long programme was targeting parents of adolescent children with high level of needs in fourteen different locations across Norther Ireland. In total 145 parents participated in the study, where 83 were assigned to the experimental group while 62 to the waiting control group. Those allocated in the wait-list control group received the programme eight weeks later than those in the experimental group. Overall, parents in both groups were similar before the start of the programme, indicating that allocation prior to randomisation was balanced. Parents and their teen children completed a variety of baseline measures (including the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), the Parent Adolescent Relationship Questionnaire (PARQ), the Stress Index for Parents of Adolescents (SIPA) and the Stattin and Kerr Parental Monitoring measures) before the start of the programme (see note below). 

Scores at baseline as well as the demographic characteristics of the participants indicate that there were no statistical differences between participants assigned to the treatment and control arm. However, the level of drop-out in the the wait-list control group was significantly higher than in the experimental condition, which could be an indication that the two groups are not perfectly comparable.

The primary outcome analysis was on an intention-to-treat basis. This means that the analysis included all parents, regardless of their adherence to the programme. This approach compared changes in the outcome means for the treatment and the waiting-control group, and subjects were analysed according to their randomised group allocation. Change score regression models were applied to assess the difference in programme impact between the experimental and wait-list control group.

The impact on parental, family and teen outcomes is described and tabulated below.  The tables below show the change in mean scores for the experimental and the wait list control group between Time 1 and Time 2 (T1-T2). Therefore, a positive change means a reduction in value, while a negative number indicates increase between Time 1 and Time 2.  For the GHQ, PARQ and SIPA a positive change indicates an improvement in behaviour, while in the Stattin and Kerr a positive change means a reduction. The last column of the table shows if there was a significant difference between the two groups.

Parental outcomes

Parents in the experimental group reported improvements in mental health, reduced parental stress, and had less feelings of social alienation or feelings of guilt in comparison to parents allocated to the control condition.   

At the same time there was no indication that parenting skills were improved at the end of the study. Similarly, there was no indication that parents in the experimental group experienced positive change in terms of measures of parental control, parental monitoring or in communication with children about their daily activities.

Summary of results: Outcome change score for parental outcome measures



Control group

Mean (Std. Dev)

Experimental group Mean (Std. Dev)


T test for group difference

Parental Well-being


-0.1 (2.67)

2.6 (4.48)


SIPA Social Alienation

-0.4 (3.64)

1.5 (4.61)


SIPA Incompetence/Guilt

0.6 (3.73)

3.5 (5.89)


SIPA Parent Domain

0.6 (11.3)

9.9 (22.0)


Total Stress Score

0.5 (8.78)

6.5 (14.75)






Significant difference at 0.05*, 0.01** and 0.001*** levels


Family outcomes

At the end of the study, the participating families reported lower stress levels.  Similarly, there was a significant positive change in communication, problem solving and cohesion within the family for the experimental group. Furthermore, parents allocated to the experimental group had more realistic expectations for their children. Namely, they did not expect children to behave flawlessly or interpret their behaviour as malicious. 

Summary of Results: Outcome change scores for family outcome measures


Control group

Mean (Std. Dev)

Experimental group Mean (Std. Dev)


T test for group difference

Reduced distress and conflict

Global Distress

-0.4 (3.64)

1.5 (4.61)


School Conflict

0.6 (3.73)

3.5 (5.89)


Eating Conflict

0.6 (11.3)

9.9 (22.0)


Adolescent-Parent relationship



SIPA Stress Index

0.8 (9.02)

5.1 (8.64)


Increased communication and problem solving


2.1 (7.95)

9.1 (9.92)


Problem Solving

2.9 (6.92)

7.4 (9.90)



0.8 (7.68)

3.7 (8.04)


Reduced maladaptive beliefs

Malicious intent

0.7 (6.22)

5.7 (7.28)



-0.4 (6.30)

3.0 (8.90)



-1.0 (7.38)

1.9 (8.36)



-0.2 (4.63)

-4.1 (5.98)


Significant difference at 0.05*, 0.01** and 0.001*** levels

NoteHigher scores for most of the PARQ measures indicate poorer outcomes (Robin et al., 2011). Similarly, in the GHQ higher scores are indicative for mental problems (Goldberg, 1978). For the IPA, scores over the 85th percentile are indication for problems (Sheras et al., 1998). The only exception is the Stattin and Kerr measure where a positive change indicates a reduction in the negative behaviour (Stattin and Kerr, 2000). 

Teenager outcomes

Indirectly, teenagers benefited from the programme. Children of parents allocated to the experimental arm were less moody, and were engaging less often in delinquent behaviour.

Summary of Results: Outcome change scores for teenager outcome measures


Control group

Mean (Std. Dev)

Experimental group Mean (Std. Dev)


T test for group difference

Enhanced teen social functioning




Moodiness/Emotional Liability

-0.8 (5.689)

4.9 (6.75)



0.4 (4.81)

2.2 (4.74)


Adolescent Domain Total Score

0.5 (8.78)

10.7 (20.47)


Significant difference at 0.05*, 0.01** and 0.001*** levels

Issues to consider

Attrition: The proportion of participants who were lost at follow-up was higher in the waiting-list control. However, there were no significant differences in the proportion lost from the analysis across the different rounds of the programme or across the different locations indicating that dropping-out was not selective. It is likely that interest in the programme was more difficult to retain for the waiting-control groups because there was a period of no contact between programme enrolment and programme engagement.

Tests to measure outcomes: The zero or negative effect of the programme on some constructs could be to some extent explained by the poor choice of measures.

Documentation: There is a lack of information in the evaluation about the programme materials and procedures. Other than that included in the evaluation, no information or resources about the programme have been made publicly available e.g. parent training resources, manuals etc. This limits the potential for this intervention to be implemented in other contexts.

Implementation: There were some disparities between the study protocol and programme delivery. For example the eligibility criteria were modified after the study was running for eight weeks.

Available resources



Arnett, J. (2010) Oh, Grow Up! Generational Grumbling and the New Life Stage of Emerging Adulthood – Commentary on Trzesniewski and Donnellan. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5, 1: 89-92.Christie, D, and Viner, R. (2005) ABC of Adolescence: Adolescent development. British Medical Journal, 330:301.

Asmussen, K., Corlyon, J., Hauari, H. and La Placa, V. (2007) Supporting Parents of Teenagers. Policy Research Bureau, Department of Education and Skills, Research Report, RR830.

Bradley, R., McRitchie, S., Houts, R., Nader, P., O’Brien, M. and the NICHD Early Child Care Research Network ( 2011) Parenting and the decline of physical activity from age 9 to 15. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 8:33, doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-33.

Christie, D, and Viner, R. (2005) ABC of Adolescence: Adolescent development. British Medical Journal, 330:301.

Chu, JTW., Farragia, SP., Sanders, MR. and Ralph, A. (2012) Towards a public health approach to parenting programmes for parents of adolescents. Journal of Public Health 34, (Supp 1), 141-147.

Coleman, J. (2011) The nature of adolescence. 4th Edition. London: Routledge.

Damhuis, Carmen MP, et al. "Effects of individualized word retrieval in kindergarten vocabulary intervention." School Effectiveness and School Improvement 27.3 (2016): 441-454.

Goldberg D. (1978) Manual of the GHQ. NFER: Windsor.

Marulis, L. M., & Neuman, S. B. (2010). The effects of vocabulary intervention on young children’s word learning: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 80, 300–335. doi:10.3102/0034654310377087

Robin, A., Koepke, T., Moye, A. and Gerhardstein, R. (2009) Parent Adolescent Relationship Questionnaire –PARQ. Professional Manual, PAR.

Roediger, H. L., III, & Butler, A. C. (2011). The critical role of retrieval practice in long-term retention. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 15, 20–27. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2010.09.003

Sheras, P.L., Konold, T. R. and Abidin, R. R. (1998) SIPA, stress index for parents of adolescents: professional manual. Odessa, FL: PAR.

Stattin, H. and Kerr, M. (2000) Parental Monitoring: A Reinterpretation. Child Development, 71, 4:1072-1085.

Steinberg, L., Blatt-Eisengart, I. and Cauffman, E. (2006) Patterns of Competence and Adjustment Among Adolescents from Authoritative, Authoritarian, Indulgent, and Neglectful Homes: A Replication in a Sample of Serious Juvenile Offenders. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 16, 1: 47-58.

Last updated

June 2019

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