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Program Profile: Common Sense Parenting (CSP) Plus

Evidence Rating: No Effects - One study No Effects - One study

Date: This profile was posted on July 10, 2018

Program Summary

A parent training program designed to develop healthy parenting practices to improve child emotional regulation skills and high school preparedness among low-income eighth graders and their families during high school transition. This program is rated no effects. The study found no statistically significant differences in parenting practices (positive parenting, inconsistent discipline, poor supervision, and rationales for parental decisions) between program participants and the control group.

This program’s rating is based on evidence that includes at least one high-quality randomized controlled trial.

Program Description

Program Goals
Common Sense Parenting (CSP) Plus is a parent training program designed to help parents promote child self-control through the development of child emotion regulation skills. The program teaches parents to model and teach their children coping and problem-solving strategies and anger management techniques. CSP Plus concentrates on facilitating the transition to high school by teaching parents and adolescents how to set goals, and by directly teaching youths skills for avoiding negative peers and activities (e.g., drug use) and for solving problems during the high school years.

Target Population
CSP Plus specifically targets low-income families of eighth grade students attending poor-performing middle schools that feed into high schools with elevated dropout rates.

Program Theory
CSP Plus is based on theories that emphasize the role of poor parenting in the development of child problem outcomes. It is theoretically grounded in the Teaching Family Model (TFM) [Wolf et al. 1976], adapted from a group home treatment program, that focuses on individualized treatment (tailored to the strengths and needs of each child and family). TFM uses parental figures to teach children appropriate behavior and to correct child problem behaviors. It also draws from social learning principles (Bandura 1977) and social interaction theory (Patterson, Reid, and Dishion 1992), which suggest that children learn from their social environments by observing and imitating the behaviors of parents and others, and through the interactions between a developing child and an adult. The theories underlying CSP Plus further emphasize the role that child self-control plays in the promotion of positive behaviors and the prevention of problem behaviors.

Program Components
The CSP Plus program is an 8-week program consisting of eight 2-hour sessions, drawing six sessions from the standard CSP program model and two additional sessions drawn from an established curriculum known as Stepping Up to High School (Brown et al. 2005).

The standard CSP program is a parent-only, 6-week, 2-hour group-sessions series, in which parents learn and practice skills that promote positive behavior and teach alternatives to problem behaviors. The sessions are structured according to six fundamental learning activities or components: 1) instruction in new parenting skills related to discipline and praise, 2) rationales for decisions and consequences, 3) coping, 4) problem solving, 5) anger management and discussion of short videos demonstrating these skills, and 6) guided skills practice. Session 1 is an introduction to the program. Sessions 2 through 6 are the instruction portion of the program. All sessions also include reviews, summaries, and assignment of homework activities.

The CSP Plus portion of the program adds two additional sessions, one before and one after the standard CSP sessions. Adolescents are asked to attend each of these two sessions with their parents. The CSP Plus sessions concentrate on goal-setting for parents and teens in relation to the transition to high school and guided skills practice in family communication and decision making regarding the opportunities and responsibilities involved in this transition. CSP Plus includes skill-building components related to parental monitoring and supervision, discipline, and the provision of praise. The program also includes training for parents in providing rationales to children to reinforce the reasons for making positive choices.

Key Personnel
CSP Plus sessions are facilitated by certified workshop leaders, with experience working with teens. Workshop leaders attend a 3-day CSP training that provides the background knowledge and practical application necessary to deliver the CSP curriculum. They also receive individual supervision and participate in three additional group meetings for ongoing training and support.

Additional Information
This program is modeled on the original CSP program, which can be found here: The primary difference is the addition of two sessions, before and after the standard CSP sessions.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Inconsistent Discipline
Mason and colleagues (2014) found no statistically significant differences in measures of inconsistent discipline in families receiving Common Sense Parenting (CPS) Plus, when compared with families receiving the minimal contact control condition.

Poor Supervision
There were no statistically significant differences in measures of poor supervision in families receiving CPS Plus, when compared with families receiving the minimal contact control condition.

There were no statistically significant differences in measures of rationales for parental decisions and consequences in families receiving CPS Plus, when compared with families receiving the minimal contact control condition.

Positive Parenting
There were no statistically significant differences in measures of positive parenting in families receiving CPS Plus, when compared with families receiving the minimal contact control condition.

Child Emotion Regulation
There were no statistically significant differences in measures of child emotion regulation in families receiving CPS Plus, when compared with families receiving the minimal contact control condition.

High School Preparedness
There were no statistically significant differences in measures of high school preparedness in families receiving CPS Plus, when compared with families receiving the minimal contact control condition.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Using a large-scale experimental test, Mason and colleagues (2014) compared families in the standard Common Sense Parenting (CSP) program, the CSP Plus program, and a minimal contact comparison group on measures of parenting.

Participants for the study were drawn from parents and eighth grade students who attended one of the five middle schools in Tacoma, Wash. Study information was presented during core classes, where the student also received permission slips for the students to take home to their parents. A total of 658 families expressed interest in the project and returned a signed form agreeing to release their contact information. This information was then used to assign identification numbers (in order of receipt) and blocked by school and adolescent gender. Within each block, families were sequentially assigned to one of the three experimental groups: standard CSP program, the CSP Plus program, and a minimal contact control group (they were mailed general newsletters). Families learned of their experimental group assignments after consenting to and completing the pretest interview. Of the 658 families, 321 families consented and enrolled in the project, 294 did not consent, and 43 were deemed ineligible.

Of 321 enrolled families (accumulated over the course of two cohorts (2010–11 and 2011–12), 108 were assigned to the control condition, 118 to the standard CSP program, and 95 to CSP Plus. Forty-eight percent of parents were white, 26 percent black, 9 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian, 4 percent Pacific Islander, 2 percent Native American, and 7 percent mixed or other. The parent sample was 83 percent female, with 73 percent being biological mothers to the student, 14 percent biological fathers, and 13 percent stepparent, grandparent, or some other guardian. The average age for parents was 40 years old. Forty-two percent of the households in the sample had an annual income less than $24,000, and 59 percent received food stamps. The average age for students was 13 years old, and 53 percent were female. There were no statistically significant differences among the three experimental groups.

The evaluation looked at four measures of parenting: 1) positive parenting, 2) inconsistent discipline, 3) poor supervision, and 4) rationales for parental decisions. The first three measures were subscales drawn from the short-form Alabama Parenting Questionnaire (Shelton, Frick, and Wootton 1996), and the fourth was based on a two-item measure of a parent’s use of rationales for parental decisions and consequences. Child emotional regulation skills were measured using a subscale from the Competence Scale—Parent (Webster–Stratton 1998) and high school preparedness was measured based on parent reports.

Data were collected for pretest interviews and in-home interviews and self-administered surveys. Analyses included primary intent-to-treat intervention analyses through structural equation modeling and Chi-square difference tests. For both cohorts, enrollment and pretest interviews began in November/December and were completed by April. Posttest interviews began in May/June and were completed by September. No subgroup analysis was conducted.
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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Mason, W. Alex, Charles B. Fleming, Jay L. Ringle, Ronald W. Thompson, Kevin P. Haggerty, and James J. Snyder. 2014. “Reducing Risks for Problem Behaviors During the High School Transition: Proximal Outcomes in the Common Sense Parenting Trial.” Journal of Child and Family Studies 24(9):2568–78.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Bandura, Albert. 1977. “Self-Efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change.” Psychological Review 84:191–215.

Brown, Eric C., Richard F. Catalano, Charles B. Fleming, Kevin P. Haggerty, and Robert D. Abbott. 2005. “Adolescent Substance Use Outcomes in the Raising Healthy Children Project: A Two-Part Latent Growth Curve Analysis.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 73:699–710.

Patterson, Gerald R., John B. Reid, and Thomas James Dishion. 1992. A Social Interactional Approach, Vol. 4: Antisocial Boys. Eugene, Ore.: Castalia Publishing.

Shelton, Karen K., Paul J. Frick, and Jane Wootton. 1996. “Assessment of Parenting Practices in Families of Elementary School-Age Children.” Journal of Clinical Child Psychology 25(3):317–29.

Webster–Stratton, Carolyn. 1998. “Preventing Conduct Problems in Head Start Children: Strengthening Parenting Competencies.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 66(5):715.

Wolf, Montrose M., Elery L. Phillips, Dean L. Fixsen, Curtis J. Braukmann, Kathryn A. Kirigin, Alan G. Willner, and Jean Schumaker. 1976. “Achievement Place: The Teaching-Family Model.” Child Care Quarterly 5(2):92–103.

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Program Snapshot

Age: 13 - 14, 33 - 48

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, American Indians/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White, Other

Geography: Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting

Program Type: Parent Training

Targeted Population: Families

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide