A Penn State Applied Research Center

Grow! Logo

The Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State, in partnership with the Department of Defense’s Office of Military Community and Family Policy, is developing the THRIVE Initiative to support parents to strengthen the skills that they need from the birth of their baby until their children reach adulthood at eighteen years of age. The initiative consists of four age-specific program areas, and, in each, engaging sessions and activities will guide parents in learning and utilizing evidence-informed parenting and health promotion skills. By doing so, parents can foster positive youth development and resiliency across their children’s lifespan.

Grow! is the first of the four program areas to be developed. It has been specifically designed to teach parenting strategies that can benefit parents with children ages 5 to 8 years of age. The Grow! program is delivered as five highly-interactive, video-based sessions that are each approximately 90 minutes in length and that are led by a trained facilitator. The sessions are intended to be delivered to groups of 10-12 families.

Illustrative graph

Positv Parenting Practices (leads to) Parent & Child Stress Management (leads to) Child Physical Health Promotion

There are three primary focuses of the Grow! program:

  • The parenting skills selected for inclusion in the Grow! curriculum have been demonstrated in research as positively impacting child outcomes. Examples of these skills include: using positive discipline; giving praise and encouragement; engaging in child-directed play; and establishing rules and routines.
  • Parents are taught strategies for managing their own stress, as well as ways to help coach their child in developing positive coping strategies.
  • The curriculum recognizes that promoting physical activity and healthy eating is a parenting skill that can be taught. Parents learn about: child feeding strategies found to be effective by research; recommendations for physical activity and screen time; and how to overcome barriers to eating healthy and being active.

The face-to-face version of Grow! is fully developed. Grow! has been implemented in two civilian communities in central PA, and is currently being implemented and evaluated at eight military installations in the U.S., Japan, German, and Italy.

The THRIVE team is currently developing an online version of the Grow! curriculum. Booster workshops are also being planned for parents with children ages 8 to 10 years old.

To implement a program in your community or
to register for a program, contact:

The Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness

Learn More Online!