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Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs
(Comparison Chart)

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The Big Answer


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Active Parenting Now Parent's Guide

a book by Michael H. Popkin

(our site's book review)

The author, Popkin, states that “based on the widely embraced psychological principles of Alfred Adler, Rudolf Dreikurs, and others, these video-based discussion programs have taught millions of parents around the world the skills they need to realize a harmonious family life and prepare their children to succeed.”

Active Parenting is similar to Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (S.T.E.P.), and it offers many P.E.T. skills in an abbreviated version, including problem ownership, active listening, family meetings, avoiding communication blocks, I-messages, and problem solving. While the program is opposed to the use of rewards and punishments as a way of disciplining children, Active Parenting advocates the use of Logical Consequences. Their focus is on why children misbehave and how parents can deal with misbehavior effectively. They believe that their method helps children become responsible by setting limits and giving choices within those limits.

Alfie Kohn’s books Beyond Discipline and Unconditional Parenting are enough to give a person serious pause before implementing the principles of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs, which Active Parenting does vigorously. Adler’s and Dreikurs’s view of children is quite negative, although not nearly as bad as authoritarian parenting principles and beliefs.

Active Parenting is an effective authoritative parenting method that makes a serious effort to keep its logical consequences as nonpunitive as possible, avoids rewards and punishments, uses lots of encouragement, and attempts to create warm parent-child relationships. Parents are taught that it is one of a parent’s responsibilities to act as a filter in their children’s lives, to filter out negative influences such as harmful media or dangerous situations. For more about why, see Jim Taylor’s Your Children Are Under Attack.