A record $2.9 million grant will help Rush University College of Nursing faculty to reach out to parents struggling with their children's behavior problems. The grant from the National Institutes of Health will be used to study ways of increasing participation in the Chicago Parent Program (CPP), a successful parenting skills program developed by faculty of the Rush College of Nursing. It is the largest grant in the College of Nursing's history.
The CPP equips parents of two-to-four year-old children with preventive parenting and positive child discipline strategies to help avoid and decrease child misbehavior. These techniques include focusing more attention on desirable behavior while de-emphasizing behavior problems, and using diversions to prevent children from getting into trouble. The 12-week program is offered through day care centers serving low-income African-American and Latino communities in Chicago.
"When you've got a challenging, highly active child, it becomes very difficult for a parent to understand how to set limits on their kids and promote good behavior," said principal study investigator Deborah Gross, DNSc, RN, associate dean for research and scholarship in the College of Nursing at Rush University. "We've already seen that the program empowers parents to reduce problem behaviors in their children. Now we're going to try to make it more accessible so that even more parents and children can benefit from it."
The program uses videotapes of actual parents in real-life situations to teach participants how to respond to such common situations as children throwing tantrums in public, demanding attention when the parent is busy with a household task, or resisting going to bed at night or getting up in the morning.
"It's much easier to learn when you see parents like you making the same mistakes you do," said Gross.