Mental health

Parent skills training for management of emotional and behavioural disorders in children

Question 5: What is the effectiveness of parent skills training for the treatment of emotional and behavioural disorders in children?

Management of child and adolescent mental disorders

  • Population: children aged 0-7
  • Interventions: parent skills training programmes
  • Comparison:
    • no-treatment control group
    • control that received an "alternate treatment"
  • Outcomes:
    • reduction in internalizing behaviours (e.g., anxiety, depression)
    • reduction in externalizing behaviours (e.g., noncompliance, aggressive or hyperactive behaviour)
    • functioning of child in school (e.g., school grades, literacy, cognitive development)
    • family functioning, as measured by the overall weighted effect of parenting measures, child measures, and parent-child interaction
    • improvement in physical health
    • improved participation and human rights
    • user and family satisfaction.


Parent skills training should be considered for the treatment of emotional and behavioural disorders in children aged 0-7 years. Such programmes include positive parent–child interactions and emotional communication, the importance of time out and parenting consistency, to discourage harsh punishments and require parents to practice new skills with their children during parent training sessions. The content should be culture sensitive but should not allow violation of children's basic human rights according to internationally endorsed principles.
Strength of recommendation: STANDARD

Evidence profile