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Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs
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The Big Answer


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Relationship of Parenting Style to Behavioral Adjustment in Graduating High School Seniors

an article by Ellen K. Slicker

(our site's article review)

This study reaffirmed previous studies’ findings about how authoritative parenting of adolescents is advantageous and the other styles are disadvantageous. The advantages existed whether or not students’ perceptions of their parents were “democratic.” This perception had no statistical significance or predictive value in the study. The author states that a democratic manner in parenting in authoritative homes emerges naturally from this type of parenting, and that authoritative parenting is superior to all other types. She goes on to say that democracy (psychological autonomy granting) is present in all types of parenting in varying degrees and that the behavioral manifestation of parental democracy in relationships with their adolescents is an important aspect of authoritative parenting.

One has only to have contact (especially as a parent) with today’s adolescents to understand her results: The adolescent’s attitude of feeling like insufficient autonomy is being granted to him is pretty much the nature of—if not the definition of—the beast. Such individuals are likely to have their own custom-made concepts of “democracy.” Adolescents cannot avoid the rebellion flavor of this stage of development no matter how they try, since it is this replacement of adult sanctions and values with their own that allows healthy identities to form and actual psychological autonomy to be empowered.

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.