Incredible Years Series

Prevention; Ages 2–8


(Read the criteria for this rating)
  • Effective delinquency program


The Incredible Years Series is a set of three comprehensive, multifaceted, and developmentally based curriculums for parents, teachers, and children, designed to promote emotional and social competence and to prevent, reduce, and treat behavioral and emotional problems in young children.

The program targets children, ages 2 to 8, at risk for and/or presenting with conduct problems (defined as high rates of aggression, defiance, and oppositional and impulsive behaviors). The programs have been evaluated as “selected” prevention programs for promoting the social adjustment of high-risk children in preschool (Head Start) and elementary grades (up to Grade 3) and as “indicated” interventions for children exhibiting the early onset of conduct problems.

This series of programs addresses multiple risk factors across settings known to be related to the development of conduct disorders in children. In all three training programs, trained facilitators use videotape scenes to encourage group discussion, problem solving, and sharing of ideas. The BASIC parent series is “core” and a necessary component of the prevention program delivery. The other parent training, teacher, and child components are strongly recommended with particular populations that are detailed in this document.

Incredible Years Training for Parents—The Incredible Years parenting series includes three programs targeting parents of high-risk children and/or those displaying behavior problems. The BASIC program emphasizes parenting skills known to promote children’s social competence and reduce behavior problems, such as how to play with children, helping children learn, effective praise and use of incentives, effective limit setting, and strategies to handle misbehavior. The ADVANCE program emphasizes parent interpersonal skills, such as effective communication skills, anger management, problem solving between adults, and ways to give and get support. The SUPPORTING YOUR CHILD’S EDUCATION program (known as SCHOOL) emphasizes parenting approaches designed to promote children’s academic skills, such as reading skills, parental involvement in setting up predictable homework routines, and building collaborative relationships with teachers.

Incredible Years Training for Teachers—This series emphasizes effective classroom management skills, such as the effective use of teacher attention, praise, and encouragement; the use of incentives for difficult behavior problems; proactive teaching strategies; how to manage inappropriate classroom behaviors; the importance of building positive relationships with students; and how to teach empathy, social skills, and problem solving in the classroom.

Incredible Years Training for Children—The Dinosaur curriculum emphasizes training children in skills such as emotional literacy, empathy or perspective taking, friendship skills, anger management, interpersonal problem solving, school rules, and how to be successful at school. It is designed for use as a “pull-out” treatment program for small groups of children exhibiting conduct problems.

Six randomized control-group evaluations of the parenting series indicated significant:

  • Increases in parent positive affect, such as praise and reduced use of criticism and negative commands.
  • Increases in parent use of effective limit setting by replacing spanking and harsh discipline with nonviolent discipline techniques and increased monitoring of children.
  • Reductions in parental depression and increases in parental self-confidence.
  • Increases in positive family communication and problem solving.
  • Reduced conduct problems in children’s interactions with parents and increases in their positive affect and compliance to parental commands.

Two randomized control-group evaluations of the teacher training series indicated significant:

  • Increases in teacher use of praise and encouragement and reduced use of criticism and harsh discipline.
  • Increases in children’s positive affect and cooperation with teachers, positive interactions with peers, school readiness, and engagement with school activities.
  • Reductions in peer aggression in the classroom.

Two randomized control-group evaluations of the child training series indicated significant:

  • Increases in children’s appropriate cognitive problem-solving strategies and more prosocial conflict management strategies with peers.
  • Reductions in conduct problems at home and school.

Risk Factors

Antisocial/delinquent beliefs
Belief in physical aggression to resolve disagreements and violent tendencies
Conduct disorders (authority conflict/rebellious/stubborn/disruptive/antisocial)
Developmental trauma exposure
Early and persistent noncompliant behavior
Early onset of aggression/violence
General delinquency involvement
Low intelligence quotient
Poor refusal skills
Abusive parents
Growing up in foster care
High parental stress/maternal depression
Low parental supervision
Parental neglect and abuse
Parental use of physical punishment/harsh and/or erratic discipline practices
Poor parental supervision (control, monitoring, and child management)
Poor parent-child relations or communication
Single parent household
Unhappy parents
Frequent truancy/absences/suspensions; expelled from school; dropping out of school
Identified as learning disabled
Low academic aspirations
Low achievement in school
Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school
Poor student-teacher relations
Poorly defined rules and expectations for appropriate conduct
Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency
Peer rejection


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Model program

OJJDP Blueprints Project: Model program

OJJDP Model Programs: Effective

University of Colorado Blueprints: Promising


Lisa St George
Administrative Director
Incredible Years, Inc.
1411 8th Avenue West
Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: (888) 506-3562 or (206) 285-7565
Web site:


Webster-Stratton, C. (2000). “The Incredible Years Training Series.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Webster-Stratton, C.; Mihalic, S.; Fagan, A.; Arnold, D.; Taylor, T.; and Tingley, C. (2001). Blueprints for Violence Prevention, Book Eleven: The Incredible Years: Parent, Teacher, and Children Training Series. Boulder, CO: Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.

Drugli, M. B., Larsson, B., Fossum, S., & Morch, W. T. (2010). Five- to six-year outcome and its prediction for children with ODD/CD treated with parent training. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(5), 559-566.

Webster-Stratton, C. H., Reid, M. J., & Beauchaine, T. (2011). Combining parent and child training for young children with ADHD. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 40(2), 191-203.

Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., & Hammond, M. (2004). Treating children with early-onset conduct problems: intervention outcomes for parent, child, and teacher training. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33(1), 105-124.

Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M.J., & Stoolmiller, M. (2008). Preventing conduct problems and improving school readiness: An evaluation of the Incredible Years Teacher and Child Training Program in high risk schools. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(5), 471-488.

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