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Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs
(Comparison Chart)


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The Big Answer

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Parenting Styles Have Influence on the Kind of Adults Children Become, Study Shows

an article by Nancy Samalin

(our site's article review)

Parenting expert (and director of Parent Guidance Workshops in New York) Nancy Samalin has checked out all the parenting methods and firmly concluded that authoritative parenting—like depicted on TV’s The Cosby Show—is best. Parents are to lovingly guide and influence kids, not coerce them or let them do whatever. Parents should give kids lots of choices because “. . . it is critical to raise children who can make decisions.” Such parents rely on consequences training—without consequences there is no learning.

That's true but misleading. Imposed consequences (logical consequences) are not used in several very effective parenting methods. Authoritative Parenting Programs has a chart where you can see which methods do not use them. Some of these methods do not call themselves authoritative, although, as you can see, we consider all methods that use logical consequences to be Authoritative and all methods that reject them to be Authoritative Lite—our term: Authoritative Parenting Programs.

For other study results involving the comparison of authoritative parenting and other types of parenting styles, see these authors on our website: Gauvain, Baumrind, Maccoby, Lewis, Aunola, Brassington, Hill, Larzelere, Shucksmith, Chao, Ramsey, Strage, Peterson, Fletcher, Gray, Steinberg, Lamborn, Society for the Advancement of Education, Johnson Publishing Company Inc., Berg, Snowden, McIntyre, and Slicker. Then see these books: (and the references in the back) Gordon’s Discipline That Works and Alvy’s Parent Training Today. Then see our comments on books and/or articles by these authors: Lakoff, Gould, Pugh, Critzer, Popkin, Dinkmeyer, Gordon, Faber, Dreikurs, Solter, Prinz, Kvols, and Nelsen, keeping in mind that this is just the first author listed—many works have more authors and these are listed as well in each of our references. Finally, check out the real courses (begin with Internet searches) that teach various forms of authoritative and democratic parenting, like P.E.T., STEP, Winning Family Lifeskills, Positive Parenting, Positive Discipline, Redirecting Children’s Behavior, the Ginott method (see our comments on the Faber and Mazlish book Liberated Parents Liberated Children), Dreikur’s democratic parenting (see our comments on his Happy Children book), and Active Parenting.