Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Home Economics

First Advisor

Edna Page Anderson


The concluding statement of the 1970 White House Conference on Children and Youth was "America's families are in trouble, trouble so deep and pervasive as to threaten the future of the nation". The family is still a concern, as evidenced by the strong affirmation of the need for increased family life education by the 1980 White House Conference on Families. A large majority of national delegates adopted recommendations in support of "comprehensive family life education for children, youth, and adults. 11 Among the courses endorsed by the 1980 White House Conference were Parenting Education and Child Care Skills. Two questions might be voiced when the need or importance of education for parenthood is considered: Will parenting knowledge, attitudes, and skills taught to young people during their adolescence help prepare them for or possibly prevent problem situations they might face as parents? Will parenting instruction help to reduce teenage pregnancies along with preparing teens for parenthood? These questions both merit study and consideration, but due to the steadily increasingly incidence of teenage pregnancy and parenting, the latter question has become a more immediate concern for many. With the increased recognition of parenting problems, community education for parents has become more commonplace. Hospitals, community education programs, and public school counseling services are among the agencies entering into various programs designed to improve skills in existing parents. The large number of teenage parents in America today has led to increased interest in parent education as an option for adolescents. Courses aimed at the parent to be are often incorporated into high school home economics or social science programs. The percentage taking these courses which are usually electives, is small and typically female. The result is that only a few are exposed to knowing what children are like and what to expect from them. If the parent education-child development-child management approach improves the health of families and children with problems, it may be considered reasonable to reduce the incidence of these problems through such a preventive strategy. The question this research addresses is whether or not parenthood education effects teenagers' attitudes, knowledge, and skills toward parenting. The purpose of this study wi1 be to eva1uate the effects of a formal course in parenting skills on students at the senior high level. Three questions will be addressed: (1) Does enrollment in a parenting course affect students' attitudes toward parenting, knowledge of parenting, and perception of personal parenting skills? (2) Does the length of parenting study influence learning outcomes? (3) If changes do occur, are they related to the sex of students?

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Parenting -- Study and teaching



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University