Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Parenting Now!: Make Parenting a Pleasure

Make Parenting a Pleasure (MPAP) is a comprehensive research-based curriculum designed to strengthen parenting skills and provide support to highly stressed parents of infants and children up to 8 years of age. Since 1993, the program has brought new parents together as groups to share and normalize their experiences, learn about typical early childhood development and parenting strategies, develop a support network, and learn about other community resources available to them. Parent-to-parent interactions during MPAP groups help normalize each parent’s own experiences, build confidence and competence, reduce isolation, and increase knowledge of child development and strategies to support their children’s growth.

The effects of parenting and the early family environment on a young child’s social and emotional development provide the foundation for behaviors in adolescence and adulthood. MPAP emphasizes the strengthening of protective factors to help parents gain the tools to manage their own stress and life challenges and to develop the skills they need to nurture the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of their children. The program builds family strength and resilience and promotes positive parent-child relationships to improve parental functioning and child cognitive and socio-emotional skills, as well as prevent child abuse, trauma, and future substance abuse.

Parents meet for two hours each week for 12 weeks in small groups facilitated by trained professional parenting educators. The groups are highly interactive, incorporating discussion and experiential activities. MPAP is used in numerous settings, including: parenting education programs, alcohol and drug recovery programs, child abuse prevention programs, schools, low-income housing projects, public health programs, hospitals, domestic violence programs, community colleges, extension programs, Head Start programs, and programs for incarcerated parents.

With funding from SAMHSA’s FY2014 Subcontracts to Build Evaluation Capacity for Evidence-Based Interventions, Parenting Now! will enhance the evaluation of MPAP to fill significant gaps in current practices by conducting a clinical trial of the efficacy of the curriculum. This will build Parenting Now!’s capacity to document outcomes and implementation fidelity of the curriculum, leading to publication of the evaluation results in peer-reviewed journals that can then be submitted to a federal registry to obtain an “evidence-based” designation. Specific activities include:

  • Randomizing parents into treatment and control groups
  • Conducting a pre-test survey at baseline
  • Conducting a post-test survey at the completion of the intervention
  • Performing data analysis
  • Writing articles for publication


Lynne Swartz
Executive Director
Parenting Now!
86 Centennial Loop
Eugene, OR 97401
Phone: (541) 484-5316

Mika Singer
Managing Director
Parenting Now!
86 Centennial Loop
Eugene, OR 97401
Phone: (541) 349-7783