Subjects were 110 children between the ages of 1 and 7 of mixed gender and race whose parents were either currently attending an ongoing Active Parenting Today class or were in an ongoing parent support group for parents who had already completed an Active Parenting Today class. Children remained in a nursery setting while their parents attended either the class or the post-class support group. The children were observed during these 2- hour sessions and rated as positive or negative in fourteen behavior categories. Negative behaviors included items such as hitting, biting, shoving, arguing and whining; positive behaviors included such items as using words to express feelings, sharing, cleaning up, taking turns and assertiveness.
Results of a two-way ANOVA indicated a significant difference between the overall frequencies of positive and negative behaviors in the two groups, F (1,111)=271.4, p<. 01. Children whose parents had completed the Active Parenting Today class had a lesser occurrence of negative behaviors than the children whose parents had not completed the class. Of the 142 recorded behaviors in the Active Parenting Today graduates support group, 8% were rated as negative and 92% as positive. In contrast, the 301 observed behaviors of the children whose parents had not yet completed a class were rated 84% negative and 16% positive. The author discusses the implications for parent education in light of these quite staggering effects.