Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Emmett Burkeen, DeWayne Mitchell, Eugene Harryman

Degree Program

Department of Counseling and Student Affairs

Degree Type

Education Specialist


This study attempted to develop and evaluate the content, format and effectiveness of a parent training course which emphasized democratic child rearing methods. The course was conducted by a school counselor in an elementary school. The content was a combination of Dreikur's child-raising techniques and Gordon's communication skills embodied into a commercial program called Systematic Training for Effective Parenting. The format for each of the nine suggested group sessions began with a leader-introduced topic, followed by large and small group discussions, simulated role play, use of worksheets, handouts, audio-visuals, and homework assignments. Objective evidence of program effectiveness was determined by using the F Scale to measure participants' response to the training. The research design utilized two control groups and one experimental group. Ten null hypotheses were designed to test attitudinal changes on the differences between pretest and posttest means, trend differences between experimental and control groups, and significance of posttest means after correction for pretest effects.

The findings were somewhat inconsistent. Attitudes for parents in the experimental group did change in the desired direction. This change registered .07 on the Attitudes Toward the Freedom of Children scale and .17 for the F Scale, approaching the established .05 level of confidence. On both scales, the experimental group showed a decrease in scores, while the control groups showed an increase. This decrease was interpreted to mean less need for authority and control of children, while an increase denoted greater need. These tendencies were analyzed statistically and proved significant for the F Scale but not for the Attitudes Toward the Freedom of Children scale. Parents' subjective responses concerning the training were very favorable.

Concluding recommendations suggested several benefits gained from attending a parent training course for democratic child rearing practices. Parents did show less need for authority and control over children and they did report positive feelings about their participation. The need for additional research in parent education was noted, and it was further suggested that parent training in the school setting be continued. The enthusiastic parent participation in this particular group suggested a possibility for improved home-school relations.


Education | Educational Psychology | Student Counseling and Personnel Services