Connect with Us Start a Live Chat below

Navigation Link

Introduction to Adventures in Parenting


Preschool Sandpitimage by (lic)Have you heard the latest advice about parenting?

Of course you have. From experts to other parents, people are always ready to give you parenting advice. Parenting tips, parents’ survival guides, dos, don’ts, shoulds, and shouldn’ts—new ones come out every day.

But with so much information available, how can anyone figure out what really works? How do you know whose advice to follow? Isn’t parenting just common sense anyway? How can the experts know what it’s like to be a parent in a real house?

What’s a parent to do?

Try RPM3—a no-frills approach to parenting from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

For over 30 years, the NICHD has conducted and supported research in parenting and child development. We’ve talked to experts, parents, and children. We’ve collected statistics, identified myths, and tested suggestions. The result is RPM3.

The RPM3 guidelines aren’t meant to be just another parenting “how to,” telling you what to do. Instead, RPM3 separates the useful information from the not-so-useful so that you can make your own decisions about parenting. RPM3 does more than tell stories about what people think about parenting, it incorporates 30 years of NICHD research to tell you what really works.

RPM3 confirms something that you already know: parents do matter. You matter. Read on to find out just how much...

The first section of this booklet explains each item in RPM3, responding, preventing, monitoring, mentoring, and modeling, in more detail. These lessons describe how RPM3 can help you make daily decisions about parenting. The remaining sections of the booklet give examples of how some parents have used the lessons of RPM3 with their own children.

As you read, you will notice numbers, like 1 or 7 next to certain words. These numbers relate to the research that supports an idea or concept, listed on the References page. These references give you more information about NICHD parenting research.

RPM3 Stands For

Responding to your child in an appropriate manner.

Preventing risky behavior or problems before they arise.

Monitoring your child’s contact with his or her surrounding world.

Mentoring your child to support and encourage desired behaviors.

Modeling your own behavior to provide a consistent, positive example for your child.


Table of Contents



Letter from the NICHD Director

Dear Fellow Parent,

As parents, we have the most important job in the world. There is nothing we do in our lifetimes that is more significant than how we raise our children. It’s a challenging, full-time job that lasts throughout our lives, no matter how old our children get. While parenting presents us with struggles and trials, it also offers us many rewards. Those rewards, too, can last through our lives.

This booklet addresses certain struggles and trials of parenting and highlights some of its many rewards. The information is based on decades of research on parenting, as well as the experiences of actual parents and experts in parenting. The booklet is designed for parents of every background, from first-time parents to grandparents, so that any one who interacts with children can benefit from this valuable information.

Parenting is not only vital to our present, but also to our future, as our children themselves become parents. Raising children is an adventure, full of surprises and changes. I hope that this information helps you to shape your own parenting practices and beliefs, as you embark on your own parenting adventure.

Sincerely Yours,

Alan E. Guttmacher, MD
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development