This paper reviews parenting programmes and their effectiveness with families of young children and highlights additional resources for primary care practitioners. Typically, 30% of GP consultations concern child behaviour problems and established behaviour problems can have lasting effects on children’s life chances. These problems can be identified in infancy and toddlerhood.Parenting is a key risk factor in their development and maintenance, yet is also amenable to change. In this paper we consider six parenting programmes that are widely evaluated and/or available in the U.K. and their evidence base . These include two NICE recommended parenting programmes ( Incredible Years and Triple P), which offer tiered and flexible parenting programmes; predominantly for parents of school-age children. We also review Parent– Infant Psychotherapy, which is typically for parents of younger children. Fourth is Family Nurse Partnership, an intensive programme to support young, first-time mothers. Finally we consider, video feedback programmes which use video to focus in detail on parents’ interactions with their children, including Video Feedback to Promote Positive Parenting and Video Interactive Guidance. These interventions demonstrate the range of approaches which are being used to intervene early in children’s lives to try to prevent the development of enduring behavioural problems.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the origins of many mental health problems lie in childhood. Family factors, including the quality of care that parents provide for their children, can make a huge difference to children’s early life pathways, for better or for worse. Understanding how best to intervene to support parents is a key challenge. In this article, we critically review the most widely used parenting programmes for parents of young children. It is imperative that we judge these early interventions to high standards so that we are offering children the best start in life.