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Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs
(Comparison Chart)


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The Big Answer

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Positive Parenting On-line

a website by Deborah Critzer

(our site's website review)

Positive Parenting On-line is Critzer's site, although when you surf to there, Deborah Godfrey is the name you see—did she get hitched? Whatever.

Among the P.E.T.-like parenting methods is a collection of them loosely called Positive Parenting. We use the term to refer to any Dreikurs-styled authoritative parenting method that is not any of the methods mentioned below (although, generically, all of the methods below can be considered positive parenting).

Many positive parenting instructors are teachers, trainers, counselors, etc., who have no special name for their methods, courses and presentations of authoritative parenting wisdom other than positive parenting, a catch-all term that’s useful in that no one can trademark it and use it exclusively since it’s too generic and eclectic, which means anyone can use it.

A perfect example of a major proponent of this method is Deborah Critzer herself, who created a parenting web site called Positive Parenting On-line and a positive parenting newsletter to go along with it, and who teaches both Positive Discipline and Redirecting Children’s Behavior courses and workshops. Positive Parenting differs from P.E.T. in that it includes logical consequences in its parenting toolbox. Like STEP, Winning Family Lifeskills, Positive Discipline, Redirecting Children’s Behavior, and Active Parenting, it relies on wisdom from the likes of Alfred Adler, Rudolf Dreikurs, Abraham Maslow, and Haim G. Ginott, to greater or lesser degrees.

All of these methods advocate natural consequences and nonpunitive logical consequences and can be called authoritative parenting methods which discourage all permissive and authoritarian tactics and democratic parenting since they believe in equality, rights, win-win and avoidance of power trips from anyone. P.E.T. is also authoritative and democratic, but it tries to avoid even the slightest taint of punitive strategies by rejecting logical consequences—which all these other methods find necessary, even though they accept logical consequences only of the nonpunitive variety.

Some parenting styles (P.E.T., Aware Parenting, Connection Parenting, Discipline Without Distress, Nonviolent Communication (N.V.C.), and Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting) don’t use logical consequences since they believe that all logical consequences are punitive by definition and are experienced at least partially as punishments by children.

For a fuller discussion on logical vs. natural consequences, see the comments on the book Happy Children by Rudolf Dreikurs, and elsewhere in our website.

To find discussions of punitive vs. nonpunitive authoritative parenting, check out comments on Diana Baumrind’s works also in our site. Her ideas about “firm control” define the conservative end of the authoritative parenting continuum, while Gordon’s ideas on avoiding logical consequences and relying on natural consequences to provide all consequences training define the liberal (or Carl Rogers) end of that continuum.

Critzer’s site and newsletter gives book titles of positive parenting advocates, including Kathryn Kvols’ Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Jane Nelsen’s Positive Discipline, as well as ideas, articles, resources, etc. Critzer herself is a certified parenting instructor and trainer, workshop leader, and public speaker.