This section features practices that have demonstrated their effectiveness through rigorous research. These practices have been reviewed by a team of experts and summarized in a way that is easy to understand.
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School-Comet (COMmunication METhod; Skol-Komet in Swedish) for teachers is a standardized behaviour management training programme to help manage individual students with externalizing behaviours and general classroom behaviour management (Forster & Karlberg, 2005). School-Comet is based on the principles of behaviour management strategies (BM), including functional behavioural assessment (FBA) which is a set of procedures developed to ascertain the reasons behind problem behaviours. School-Comet is designed for teachers of elementary school levels whose students display negative behaviours.
The Parents Plus Early Years Programme (PPEY) is a 12-week parenting course for parents of 1 to 6 year old children, especially designed for parents to learn to manage their child’s behavioural problems or mild developmental disabilities. The course consists of seven, two-hour group meetings with 8-12 parents and 1-2 facilitators, and five individual sessions with parents, child and a therapist.
Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is an evidence-based treatment based on recognition of risk and protective factors involved in the development of conduct problems by children and teenagers. It was founded in the 1970s by James F. Alexander and other researchers at the University of Utah, U.S. FFT is a relatively inexpensive three-phased approach drawing on a multisystemic perspective, starting with engagement and motivation phase aimed at enhancing the perception that change is possible, followed by behaviour change phase improving communication within family and parent behaviour, and concluding by generalisation phase, in which the family learns to utilise the new skills in other situations. The effectiveness of FFT is fairly well established in the U.S. where the treatment led to reduction in typical recidivism rates by 20-30 percent compared to control groups.
The Parents Plus Children’s Programme (PPCP) is an 8-week course for parents of 6 to 11 year old children with behavioural problems. The course consists of eight, two-hour group meetings with a group of parents and 2 facilitators. The group meetings consist of watching a set of videos of parent-child interactions, discussions, practice exercises, role-plays, homework and hand-outs.
The Parents Plus – Parenting when Separated Programme (PP-PWS) aims to help separated and divorced parents solve co-parenting problems, better communicate with their co-parent and children, and develop techniques to manage the stress and emotional impact of separation on parents and children. The programme targets separated parents in Ireland, including both mothers and fathers and both custodial and noncustodial parents.
The programme consists of 6 weekly group sessions, with groups of between 6 and 12 parents. During each 2-hour session, mental health professionals facilitate discussions about the effects of separation on children and families. The facilitators provide practical, evidence-based information about the effects of separation, help participants develop parenting and co-parenting skills, and encourage improvement of personal coping. The six sessions cover the following topics: (1) the impact of separation on parents and children; (2) how to develop a business relationship with one’s co-parent; (3) positive parenting strategies for helping children of different ages cope with separation; (4) how to manage children’s contact with the live-away parent; (5) how to remain calm during conflicts; and (6) how to cope with separation in the long term.
The PP-PWS programme was piloted at 3 sites with a total of 33 parents before the evaluation published in 2015. The pilot study demonstrated that the programme was satisfactory to parents and led to statistically significant improvements in meeting goals on the Client Goals Scales (CGS, Coughlin et al., 2009).
Parents Plus provides programme materials (a facilitator’s manual, an accompanying book with background readings, and parent booklets) and conducts facilitator trainings in Dublin, Ireland. The programme facilitator’s manual contains key psychoeducational points and a description of exercises for each session. The PP-PWS parent booklet also covers key points from each session.
PP-PWS is part of a suite of programs designed by Parents Plus, a registered charity in Dublin, Ireland. Since 1998, Parents Plus has been developing parenting and mental health courses grounded in developmental psychology. To design the PP-PWS programme, the programme authors conducted focus groups with separated parents, reviewed research on the effects of divorce on children and adults, and consulted curricula from effective psychoeducational skills-training programs and material from other Parents Plus programmes.