• parent education;
  • parent–child relationship;
  • parenting;
  • problem-solving


Background:  The ability of children to solve problems is an important influence on the social-cognitive development of children. Parents and children who use problem-solving strategies display more positive parent-child relationships. It follows that parents will be more effective in promoting the children's development and healthy parent-child relationships if they are skilled in problem-solving strategies and encourage their children to use these strategies.

Aim:  The aim of the present study was to evaluate the short-term efficacy of a problem-solving skills program for Iranian parents (the ‘Raising a Thinking Child’ program) on the parent-child relationship.

Materials and method:  Sixty-four mothers of 4–8 year-old children participated voluntarily in 12 2-hour weekly workshops over a three month period. Parents were taught a procedure for problem-solving and provided with the opportunity to consider how the procedure could be applied in response to challenging behaviors of their children. The problem-solving strategies were taught as an alternative to ineffective approaches such as punishing and reprimanding.

Results:  Results indicated that teaching problem-solving skills to parents had a positive influence on a number of dimensions of parenting as measured by the Parent Child Relationship Inventory.

Conclusion:  Parents who attended the program felt more supported, more involved with their children and better able to balance limit setting and child autonomy.