Parent training programmes for conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)

Strong evidence – there is lots of high-quality evidence that some young people between ages of 5-11 find this treatment option helpful.

Parent training programmes aim to change how your parents or carers respond to your behaviour difficulties. Attending a parent training programme does not mean that your parents or carers have caused your problems, but specific help with parenting can teach your parents how to support you better. Two common parent training group programmes include the Incredible Years programme and the Positive Parenting Programme (sometimes called Triple P).

Parent training will often be available at your local Family Hub (also known as Children’s Centres or Child and Family Centres). Parent training groups usually involve around 10-12 parents or carers meeting together with one or two therapists. The groups are usually weekly, with sessions up to 2 hours over about 10 weeks. Ideally whoever usually looks after you will attend (even if that’s more than one person), to help make sure everyone understands how best to support you. Although attending a group can sound daunting, parents and carers tend to find that meeting others in a similar situation can make them feel less alone as they can share experiences and learn together.

If your parents or carers are not able to take part in a group programme, they might be offered individual parent training. This will practice the same skills in the same way as the group programme, but usually runs over 8-10 sessions, each between an hour and 90 minutes long. If your parents or carers are offered individual parent training sessions then they are likely to be offered either Parent Child Interaction Therapy or a programme called Helping the Non-compliant Child. In some of these individual and group training programmes only your parents will be involved, but some programmes could also involve you.

Although there are some differences between these programmes, they all aim to help your parents or carers to:

  • Improve the relationship between them and you
  • Spend enjoyable time with you. For younger children this is called ‘child-led positive play’ and encourages parents or carers to play with you to help build positive experiences.
  • Notice and reward you when you do positive things
  • Use a small number of clear rules and instructions and have calm consequences for breaking these rules
  • Re-organise parts of your daily routine to avoid problems

Some programmes might also help your parents or carers with other difficulties (e.g. mental health conditions) which can affect their parenting. These programmes are also often adapted for your age, any other specific difficulties you might have (such as ADHD or a learning disability) and if you are fostered or adopted.

Treatments outlined on these webpages may not be available in every local area. It’s important that you discuss with your GP or mental health professional the treatment options available to you. You can also search for services near you on our Youth Wellbeing Directory and find out more about referral processes here.

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