Active Parenting parent education programs have existed since 1983 with the publication The Original Active Parenting Discourse Program (Popkin 1983). This revolutionary program was the first to use video-based delivery systems in the field of parent education. In a six-session format, it was two hours long and targeted parents aged 2–17 years old. Popkin (1984) published field test evidence that showed significant improvements in both the behaviour of children and parents. The study involved 274 parents. 97% of them reported positive changes to their behaviour and 84% reported positive changes to their children’s behavior. 97% also indicated that they would recommend it to their friends. All 35 leaders of the group indicated that they would recommend it to their colleagues. The program was adopted by thousands of leaders over the next ten year because of its multi-modal delivery method that uses video technology.
Parenting created a new version of its program for teenager parents in 1990. It was called Parenting of Teens (Popkin 1990). The original program was renamed Active Parenting Today three years later (Popkin 1993). In 1998,Parenting of Teens (Popkin 1998) was revised. Alternative versions of Parenting of Teens were available. This was known as Families in Action (Popkin & Hendrickson 2000). Parenting Today was republished in its third edition, and renamed Parenting Now. (Popkin 2003). To determine which components of Active Parenting were the most effective and which needed to be changed, a large national survey was conducted. The revised editions also included new information.
Active Parenting Today (n=287) and Parenting of Teens (n=988) were evaluated in a national independent study. The results showed that parents actually perceived their children’s behavior as more positive after they had completed the program. Two child behavior questionnaires were used to measure this (reliability ratings for teens and children respectively,.78 and 0.87). These results were published in the peer reviewed Journal of Individual Psychology (Mullis) 1999.
Another positive result of this study was that there weren’t significant differences in the educational or income levels of parents. An earlier Baltimore County Schools study also showed that Parenting is effective for a wide range of parents (Brown 1988). According to the researcher, the Active Parenting Discussion Program was capable of attracting and retaining Title I parents to the program in the same way as other parents.