Public concerns over youth violence have led to questions about how professionals can help parents whose children are at risk for becoming violent. In this highly readable volume, Timothy Cavell meets these questions head on. His innovative model of parent therapy, Responsive Parent Therapy, is designed for families with aggressive school-age children. This model expands upon and updates current parent-training programs that target primarily preschool children.

Responsive Parent Therapy assumes that the socialization of aggressive children requires sustained participation in a particular kind of parent-child relationship—one characterized by emotional acceptance, behavioral containment, and prosocial guidance and modeling. The chief task for practitioners is to help parents find the combination of acceptance, containment, and prosocial guidance that is most realistic given the parent, the child, and the social context for child rearing.

This book outlines the strategies for doing that kind of therapeutic work. Parenting domains that serve important support functions—parenting goals, family structure, and parental self care—are also addressed. Equipped with this comprehensive model of parent therapy, practitioners can better respond to the challenges inherent in assisting struggling parents and their aggressive children.

Table of Contents



  1. First Things to Know (and Learn) About Aggressive Children and Their Parents
  2. Parent Training for Families With Aggressive Children: A Tale of Two Models
  3. A Framework for Intervening: Responsive Parent Therapy
  4. Therapeutic Alliance and Parenting Goals
  5. Acceptance
  6. Containment
  7. Prosocial Values
  8. Family Structure
  9. Parental Self-Care
  10. School-Based Parent Intervention



Author Index

Subject Index

About the Author