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Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs
(Comparison Chart)


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The Big Answer

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Creative Parenting: How to Use the Attachment Parenting Concept to Raise Children Successfully from Birth Through Adolescence

a book by William Sears

(our site's book review)

Creative Parenting: How to Use the Attachment Parenting Concept to Raise Children Successfully from Birth Through Adolescence is extremely informative, covering every developmental stage of childhood. It is a great reference book. It is great to either look up a specific topic, or a certain age/developmental stage. As expected, this book is written with the Sears' completely informative, interesting and practical style based on experience and the latest research at the time of print. Along with the other Sears books, we would recommend this as a good resource book and practical guide book. There are a lot of issues that come up in child-raising. This book and the more narrowly focused The Baby Book, also by Sears, should cover the subject.

The worst, barely acceptable authoritative parenting method is the William Sears version of Attachment Parenting. His website advises not to spank, or we'd have rejected his method, but it also gives lots of instructions about how to do it for those who use spanking anyway. Overall, his method is very loving, as all Attachment Parenting is. If you want to employ Attachment Parenting, use the Aware Parenting program by Aletha J. Solter, the kinder, gentler version of Attachment Parenting that rejects rewards, punishments, controls and logical consequences. See Helping Young Children Flourish.

Sears’ method of parenting is not Democratic. It believes in parental authority. Democratic child-raising is quite different than the belief in parental "authority," which Sears subscribes to. Sears believes that "The real payoff of attachment parenting is obedience." Ouch! (Solter does not have any such regressive, authoritarian parenting goal!) So go for the Aware Parenting program by Aletha J. Solter instead, for parenting advice, but use Sears’ book as a resource covering every developmental stage of childhood—strenuously avoiding any Sears ideas about discipline.

William Sears was the Dr. Spock of the 1980s. He also is a key author of the Attachment Parenting movement. See the comments on his other book on our website. It’s entitled The Baby Book.