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The Solihull Approach (Understanding Your Child's Behaviour)

Evidence rating
2
Cost rating
1
Reviews: Foundations for Life, July 2016; November 2019

The Solihull Approach Parenting Group (also known as Understanding Your Child’s Behaviour) is a universal parenting intervention for any parent with a child between the ages of 0 and 18.

Parents attend 10 weekly two-hour sessions for groups of 12 parents. Parents identify personal goals and the strategies that will help meet them, and reflect on their child’s behaviour and their relationship with their child. 

The Solihull Approach emphasises containment, reciprocity and behaviour management. The programme begins with a home visit, where parents are expected to identify personal goals. Parents then monitor their progress in relation to the goals originally identified at the first home visit. Parents can be signposted into more intensive programmes if it is felt that their needs are not being met.

EIF Programme Assessment

Evidence rating
2

The Solihull Approach (Understanding Your Child's Behaviour) has preliminary evidence of improving a child outcome, but we cannot be confident that the programme caused the improvement.

What does the evidence rating mean?

Level 2 indicates that the programme has evidence of improving a child outcome from a study involving at least 20 participants, representing 60% of the sample, using validated instruments. 

This programme does not receive a rating of 3 as its best evidence is not from a rigorously conducted RCT or QED evaluation.

Cost rating
1

A rating of 1 indicates that a programme has a low cost to set up and deliver, compared with other interventions reviewed by EIF. This is equivalent to an estimated unit cost of less than £100.

Child outcomes

According to the best available evidence for this programme's impact, it can achieve the following positive outcomes for children:

Preventing crime, violence and antisocial behaviour

Improved child behaviour - based on study 1

Improved prosocial behaviour - based on study 2

Reduced conduct problems - based on study 2

This programme also has evidence of supporting positive outcomes for couples, parents or families that may be relevant to a commissioning decision. Please see About the evidence for more detail.

The Solihull Approach (Understanding Your Child's Behaviour)

Key programme characteristics

Who is it for?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to the following age-groups:

  • Infants
  • Toddlers
  • Preschool

How is it delivered?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to implementation through these delivery models:

  • Group

Where is it delivered?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to its implementation in these settings:

  • Children's centre or early-years setting
  • Primary school
  • Out-patient health setting

The programme may also be delivered in these settings:

  • Home
  • Secondary school
  • Sixth-form or FE college
  • Community centre
  • In-patient health setting

How is it targeted?

The best available evidence for this programme relates to its implementation as:

  • Universal

Where has it been implemented?

Barbados, England, Ghana, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Portugal, Scotland, United Kingdom, United States, Wales

UK provision

This programme has been implemented in the UK.

UK evaluation

This programme’s best evidence includes evaluation conducted in the UK.

Spotlight sets

EIF does not currently include this programme within any Spotlight set.

The Solihull Approach (Understanding Your Child's Behaviour)

About the programme

What happens during delivery?

How is it delivered?
  • The Solihull Approach is delivered by two practitioners, one with QCF-6 level qualifications, and the other with QCF-3 qualifications. 
  • The intervention is delivered to groups of up to 12 families (though other delivery formats are available).
  • The Solihull Approach is delivered over 10 sessions, of two hours’ duration each.
What happens during the intervention?
  • The Solihull Approach emphasises containment, reciprocity and behaviour management.
  • The programme begins with a home visit, where parents are expected to identify personal goals.
  • Once parents identify personal goals and the strategies that will help meet them, they reflect on their child’s behaviour and their relationship with their child.
  • Parents then monitor their progress in relation to the goals originally identified at the first home visit.
  • Parents can be signposted into more intensive programmes if it is felt that their needs are not being met.

What are the implementation requirements?

Who can deliver it?
  • The first practitioner who delivers this programme is a Child and family practitioner (from health visitor to Children's Centre family worker) with a Recommended QCF 6 level qualification.
  • The second practitioner who delivers this programme is a Child and family practitioner (from health visitor to Children's Centre family worker) with a Recommended QCF 3 level qualification.
What are the training requirements?
  • The practitioners have 21 hours of programme training. Booster training of practitioners.
How are the practitioners supervised?
  • It is recommended that practitioners are supervised by one host agency supervisor (qualified to QCF 6) with 21 hours of programme training.
What are the systems for maintaining fidelity?
  • Training manual
  • Other printed material
  • Other online material
  • Face-to-face training
  • Supervision
  • Accreditation or certification process
  • Booster training
  • Fidelity training
Is there a licensing requirement?

There is no licence required to run this programme.

How does it work? (Theory of Change)

How does it work?
  • The Solihull Approach is based on the assumption that emotional containment is necessary for parents to understand their own behaviour and the behaviour of their child.
  • Parents learn strategies for containing their emotions and the emotions of their child. Parents also learn to respond reciprocally to their child’s needs.
  • In the short term, parents choose more effective parenting strategies and engage more positively with their child; children’s behaviour improves.
  • In the long term, parents are less anxious, children are at reduced risk of behavioural problems, do better at school and have a better relationship with their parents.
Intended outcomes

Enhancing school achievement & employment
Preventing crime, violence and antisocial behaviour

The Solihull Approach (Understanding Your Child's Behaviour)

About the evidence

The Solihull Approach’s most robust evidence comes from one pre-post study and one comparison group study conducted in the UK.

Study 1

Citation: Bateson et al (2008)
Design: Pre/post
Country: United Kingdom
Sample: 39 parents with a child aged four or younger
Timing: -
Child outcomes: Improved child behaviour
Other outcomes: Reduced anxiety

Bateson, K., Delaney, J., & Pybus, R. (2008). Meeting Expectations: the pilot evaluation of the Solihull Approach Parenting Group. Community Practitioner, 81 (5)28-31.  

Available at
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18549120

Study 2

Citation: Douglas, H., & Johnson, R.A. 2019
Design: Comparison group study
Country: United Kingdom
Sample: Families recruited from Wrexham, Wales and Solihull, where majority of children were under 11 years old, and the vast majority were female.
Timing: Post-test
Child outcomes: Improved prosocial behaviour
Reduced conduct problems
Other outcomes: Reduced parental anxiety
Reduced parental stress
Improved closeness in the parent-child relationship
Reduced conflict in the parent-child relationship
Study rating: 2

Douglas, H., & Johnson, R. A randomised controlled trial of the Solihull Approach ten-week group for parents: ‘Understanding your child’s behaviour’(UYCB). Children5, 19-2.

Available at
https://www.communitypractitioner.co.uk/resources/2019/09/randomised-controlled-trial-solihull-approach-ten-week-group-parents-

Study design and sample

This study is a comparison group study.

This study involved assigning participants to the intervention (223 children), or to a wait-list control (26 children).  Families were assigned to groups on the basis of the time at which they expressed interest in joining a Solihull Approach group throughout the year.  If contact was made before week 2 of a group starting at the venue of their choice, parents were assigned to the experimental group and undertook the intervention. If contact was made after week 2 but more than 10 weeks before the next group was due to start, parents were assigned to the control group, with a view to attending an intervention group at the beginning of the following term.

The study was conducted in the UK, with a sample of families recruited from Wrexham, Wales and Solihull, where majority of children were under 11 years old (79%), and the vast majority were female (92.4%)

Measures

Child behaviour was measured using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (parent report).

Parental emotional health was measured using the Depression Anxiety Stress scale (parent self-report).

The parent-child relationship was measured using the Child Parent Relationship Scale (parent report).

Findings

This study identified statistically significant positive impact on a number of parent and child outcomes.

This includes improved prosocial behaviour and reduced conduct problems.

The conclusions that can be drawn from this study are limited by methodological issues pertaining to unequivalent groups, attrition, and a lack of ITT design, hence why a higher rating is not achieved.

More Less about study 2

Other studies

The following studies were identified for this programme but did not count towards the programme's overall evidence rating. A programme receives the same rating as its most robust study or studies.

Baladi, R., Johnson, R., & Law, G. A pre, post and follow-up evaluation of the Understanding Your Child’s Behaviour (UYCB) group: A parenting group intervention based on the Solihull Approach.

Bateson, K., Delaney, J., & Pybus, R. (2008). Meeting Expectations: the pilot evaluation of the Solihull Approach Parenting Group. Community Practitioner, 81, 28- 31.

Cabral, J. (2013). The value of evaluating parenting groups: a new researcher’s perspective on methods and results. Community Practitioner, 86, 30-33.

Smith, R. (2013). An uncontrolled, pre, post and follow-up evaluation of the Understanding Your Child’s Behaviour (UYCB) group: A parenting group intervention based on the Solihull Approach. Unpublished doctoral dissertation.

Wilson, H., & Johnson, R. (2012). Parents’ evaluation of ‘Understanding your Child’s Behaviour’, A parenting group based in the Solihull Approach, Community Practitioner, 85, 29-33.

Published November 2019   |   Last updated March 2020