KIPS TIPS June 2012: Using KIPS Parenting Assessment in Parenting Groups

Thanks to your support, Voices From the Field is a recurring feature of KIPS TIPS.  We hope you enjoy learning about the work of others and will consider sharing your experience with the KIPS Community.  Also, please join us at the KIPSter Connection, the KIPS user email discussion group, to explore using KIPS in more depth.


KIPS Parenting Assessment Feedback to Moms in Parenting Groups  

Debbie Curley, Program DirectorFamily Resource CentersUniversity of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Santa Cruz County

Jennifer ArgyrosLead Facilitator and Site CoordinatorRio Rico Family Resource Center


Our Parenting Groups.  The Family Resource Centers in Nogales and Rio Rico, Arizona  offer a 14-week parenting series. The series are offered two times per week, for small groups of parents and their 1 to 2-year-old children. Our two Facilitators at each site use the Partners in Parenting Education©(PIPE)curriculum to guide the threaded topics that weave through the sessions, such as Shared Positive Emotions, Regulation, and Autonomy. After the topic of the day is introduced and modeled, the moms then practice the parent-child interaction skills with their children.

Parents' Reactions to the Groups.  Parents often do not realize how much children learn through play.  By teaching  developmental milestones, it helps parents have more realistic expectations of their children. At the end, we ask parents to give gold stars to their favorite topics and reflect on what they are doing differently with their children. Here are a couple of examples:

"I didn't realize the importance of play; now I play

with my child every day."


"I've always done things for my child; now I let him

do things for himself."

Assessing Parent-Child Interaction in Groups.  To assess parenting at each session, two of the six parent-child pairs step out of the group for videotaping. We rotate the videotaping, so that each parent-child pair is videotaped five times during the series. At first the moms and babies seem distracted by the camera, but they soon adapt and play as usual. As Facilitators, we don't give feedback during the series, so it won't interfere with the evaluation being conducted by the University of Arizona.

Why Use KIPS with a Parenting Group?  We chose KIPS so we could provide specific feedback on parent-child interaction at the end of the series.  KIPS gives us the vocabulary and confidence we need to talk with our parents about their parenting skills. After the series, we offer 1-to-1 appointments to the parents to reflect on their parenting strengths and needs individually. In our first series, six of eight moms who completed the program took us up on the offer.

Using the KIPS item groupings of Supporting Confidence, Building Relationships and Promoting Learning to guide our conversations,  parents felt validated.  One Mom said, "You don't get feedback for being a mom -- there's no one to tell you you're doing well or that you could make improvements in some particular areas." We were able to give detailed explanations of how to build on the skills parents already had. We could give them examples of what they already did well and how they could do other things better. We tried to frame everything in a positive context. As a Facilitator, it helps to have a KIPS-PIPE Crosswalk, so in order to develop that skill we can go to specific lessons in the PIPE curriculum.

For the future we're seeking grant funds to expand the program to three Family Resource Centers. We're thinking about shortening the series to 10 weeks so more parents will complete it. Based on parents' appreciation of the individual appointments, we also may build in feedback halfway through the series to see if that gives added value to the program.

How do YOU give feedback on parenting skills to families in your groups? Share your experience in the KIPSter Connection by emailing If you wish to join the KIPSter Connection, write Phil at  Tell us how to make the listserv more useful for you!

We are often asked about how to provide feedback to families after conducting a parenting assessment. We are in the process of producing a How To Give Feedback workshop. If you have examples of providing feedback to families you'd like to share, or questions you would like addressed in the workshop, please send them to Phil ( The workshop will be presented at the Parents As Teachers Conference in St. Louis (Nov 7-9) and the Zero to Three National Training Institute in Los Angeles (Nov 29-Dec 1). If you are attending either conference, please plan to attend and share your experience.



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Marilee Comfort & Phil Gordon


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