Opvoeden & Zo

Target group:

Opvoeden & Zo has been developed for parents with a low standard of education with children aged between 4-12 years old and who have limited parenting skills. Parents with a higher level of education are not excluded


The aim of Opvoeden & Zo is to increase the parent’s own parenting skills. Parents are taught skills that will help them influence their child’s behaviour in a positive, non-damaging manner. The ultimate aim of Opvoeden & Zo is to prevent emotional and behavioural problems in the child where possible.

Intervention Structure:

Opvoeden & Zo is a course designed to teach parents basic parenting skills in order to build a positive relationship with the child, to encourage desirable behaviour and to regulate undesirable behaviour. The first five sessions of the course each focus on a specific parenting skill. They are as follows: giving attention & praise, saying no, punishment, ignoring and time out. The final session provides a closing summary. The course is a combination of knowledge transfer, instruction using film clips, group discussions and practical exercises. After instruction about the content and application of the skills, an important feature of the next part of the course is practising those skills and getting feedback. In addition to this, parents are given homework exercises to complete in order to help them build on the knowledge they have acquired and to practice skills in the home environment.


The first five sessions all have a similar structure. Firstly, the course leader will discuss the previous homework exercise and go over the previous session with parents. When going over the session about setting boundaries, there is an emphasis on the fact that parents should not do this too often: “It’s better to compliment your child for good behaviour”. After the review, parents will then practice whichever skill is the subject of the session under the guidance of the course leader in one or more interactive ways. As well as these interactive ways of working, parents will always work on the respective skills using a short film and individual scenarios on DVD, in which there is a particular focus on the rules for applying this skill: when and how do you do this? The scenes have been filmed with real families. Each scenario comprises two parts, one with a less effective (yet recognizable) response from a parent in a given situation and one that shows how the parent could react in a different, more effective way. Each scenario is followed by a discussion with parents. At the end of the session, parents are given a homework exercise to complete. These tasks help to encourage parents to practice the skills within their own environment and to note down their experiences. As well as this, the homework exercises require parents to give an example of why and how parents can pay their children attention or give a compliment.

At the end of each session, the parents are given a folder featuring information about the respective skill, with a summary and guidelines for applying that skill, and a statement about the importance of paying attention and giving praise.

The final session is comprised of the usual discussion of the homework exercise, review and summary of the skill in a video clip, two working forms reiterating the effective application of the parenting skill in question and the importance of positive behavioural influence. The course is concluded with two final exercises, an evaluation, the final folder (about the difference between being strict/ clear and about good enough parenting) and any agreements made regarding a future review session.

Throughout the course, the emphasis is on effectively paying attention and giving praise and on constructively and sensitively setting boundaries when it comes to undesirable behaviour. Setting boundaries has a specific structure, starting with being able to set and use a certain number of rules; being able to impose mild punishment (= negative consequences) if rules are not adhered to; focused ignoring of innocent forms of attention seeking behaviour and, finally, removing a children from a situation in which they can no longer cope, by giving them a time out. Effective use in this sense means; using timely rules which have been learned for each skill, so that the parent’s efforts have the desired effect.

Costs related:

The cost of the intervention for the acting institution has not been set by the developer and varies per institution/provider.

  • Cost of materials:
  • Script (flip book and Dutch DVD) € 169.00
  • Script € 149.00
  • DVD (Dutch, Turkish, Moroccan Arabic, Berber, Papiamento or sign language and subtitling € 29.95)
  • Pack of translated parenting information and translated DVD € 49.95

Staffing costs: Implementation by a course leader – costs a minimum of 24 hours.

In practice, when considering the target group in mind, participants can only be expected to make a very small contribution.

Further information:

Opvoeden & Zo is explicitly available to various groups of migrant parents. In order to render it identifiable, the parenting information, including all of the illustrations and outline for the exercises and the DVD scenarios, play out in families from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds. It is also translated into Turkish, Moroccan-Arabic, Berber and Papiamento.

Contra-indications are:

  • The parent has their own experience with serious parenting problems.
  • The parent has serious psychological problems.
  • The child/children has/have serious behavioural or emotional problems.

If there is any question of contra-indications, an alternative offer will be made to the parents as soon as possible.

Resources available:

An extensive description and contact details are included in the database of the Nederlands Jeugdinstituut (Dutch Youth Institute)

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