Parenting Wisely is a set of interactive, computer-based training programs for parents of children ages 3-18 years. Based on social learning, cognitive behavioral, and family systems theories, the programs aim to increase parental communication and disciplinary skills. The original Parenting Wisely program, American Teens, is designed for parents whose preteens and teens are at risk for or are exhibiting behavior problems such as substance abuse, delinquency, and school dropout. Parents use this self-instructional program on an agency's personal computer or laptop, either on site or at home, using the CD-ROM or online format. During each of nine sessions, users view a video enactment of a typical family struggle and then choose from a list of solutions representing different levels of effectiveness, each of which is portrayed and critiqued through interactive questions and answers. Each session ends with a quiz. All nine sessions can be completed in 2 to 3 hours. Parents also receive workbooks containing program content and exercises to promote skill building and practice.
Adaptations of the original Parenting Wisely program have been created for various groups of youth. One of these adaptations, Young Children, targets children ages 3-9 years. Although the studies reviewed in this summary primarily evaluated the original version of Parenting Wisely, the Young Children version was also evaluated, as were adaptations created to be implemented with groups of parents.