Children with difficulties, parenting training and action research


  • Richard W. Barker Northumbria University
  • Sue Miller Northumbria University
  • Maurice Place Northumbria University
  • Joanna Reynolds Northumbria University


parent training, behaviour difficulties


This article describes an action research project which compares two forms of intervention with families with children who were seen to have 'medium range' behavioural difficulties. The implications of this research for the delivery of parenting training programmes, and for services to families in general, are discussed. The research took place in an industrial urban area in the North of England. A programme of parenting training was compared with a social skills and self-esteem programme for the young people within the target families. Both interventions were effective; however, the parenting intervention was more effective. Areas of particular improvement were parents' perceptions of more considerate and helpful behaviour in their children, and lower levels of hyperactivity, a reduction in levels of parental depression, and an increase in children's sense of self-esteem and self-confidence.

Author Biographies

Richard W. Barker, Northumbria University

Professor of Child Welfare, School of Health, Community and Education Studies, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, UK.

Sue Miller, Northumbria University

Senior Lecturer, Northumbria University, UK.

Maurice Place, Northumbria University

Professor of Child & Family Psychiatry, Northumbria University and Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Hartlepool Child Psychiatry Service, UK.

Joanna Reynolds, Northumbria University

Research Associate, Northumbria University, UK.