In the fall of 1984 and spring of 1985, families that were enrolled in Head Start programs in a seven-county area in Wisconsin participated in a program designed to increase their parenting and nurturing capabilities and reduce the risk for child maltreatment. The Nurturing Parenting Program for Parents and Children Birth to Five Years was implemented by Head Start staff for both parents and their children birth to five years of age enrolled in home-based and center-based programs. To assess the effectiveness of the program to increase the nurturing capabilities of both parents and children, a total of 260 adults were pretested in home-based and center-based programs. Sixty-six percent (N = 171) participated in the posttest assessment. Following participation in the program, parents demonstrated a significant increase in their ability to be empathically aware of their children's needs. Parents also expressed a significant decrease in their beliefs regarding the value of corporal punishment as a means of punishing behavior, and in reversing parent-child role responsibilities. In addition, parents showed a significant increase regarding appropriate expectations they have toward the capabilities of their children. Test results further indicate parents made significant increases in their knowledge of appropriate alternatives to corporal punishment. On a four-point scale (4 = Strongly Agree), parents expressed favorable perceptions about the program's positive impact on their role as parents, and favorable perceptions about the program's positive impact on their children's social, emotional, and cognitive growth and development. Finally, an overwhelming number of parents (97%) indicated they would recommend participation in the Nurturing Parenting Program to other parents. 6 tables and 2 references. (Author abstract modified)
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