Abstract Assessing urban Native American (NA) parenting remains a challenge for public health nurses. This study explored the effectiveness of using the NCATS and HOME instruments with urban NA mothers and their children. Scores for 63 sets of mothers and their children age 3 months to 3 years on the home observation for measurement of the environment (HOME) and nursing child assessment teaching scale (NCATS) instruments were compared with norms for those instruments. Scores were lower than the norms on the play and involvement subscales of the HOME, and higher than the norms on the total parent, clarity of cues, response to parent, and total child subscales of the NCATS. Analysis of responses to specific items indicated that these mothers were unlikely to structure and intervene in children's activities and likely to use nonverbal parenting techniques. Findings supported the usefulness of these instruments with NA parents when accompanied by discussion of findings with them, and nurse awareness of common family structures and traditional values.