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Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs
(Comparison Chart)

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The Big Answer


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Redirecting Children’s Behavior

a book by Kathryn Kvols and Bill Riedler

(our site's book review)

One authoritative democratic parenting method is called Redirecting Children’s Behavior and is mostly based on Kathryn Kvols’ and Bill Riedler’s book and videos of the same name, which in turn is mostly Dreikurs-think. Kvols is the proponent/author of this method. It differs from P.E.T. in that it includes logical consequences in its parenting toolbox.

Like STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting), Active Parenting, Winning Family Lifeskills, Positive Discipline, Redirecting Children’s Behavior, and Positive 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.

Kvols started INCAF (the International Network for Children and Families) in the 70s while she was working as a family counselor. Using the Redirecting Children’s Behavior book and video as the basis for her parenting course, she has certified over 1000 parenting educators and her course is taught in eleven countries. The INCAF has a variety of courses on parenting.

Kvols' advice on respecting kids’ boundaries and living spaces is excellent
Kvols' advice on respecting kids’ boundaries and living spaces is excellent

Her advice on respecting kids’ boundaries and living spaces is excellent. And her advice about self-talk is topnotch. Many parenting methods neglect the latter. Finally, her list of situations in which to use logical consequences rather than natural consequences is well thought out. If the situation is dangerous (playing in the street), if its consequences will be too remote (not brushing teeth), or if the natural consequences will interfere with the rights of others (loud music in the kid’s room that’s disturbing others), then logical consequences are in order. Natural consequences are best, otherwise, since they’re more effective, she says.