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Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs
(Comparison Chart)


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The Big Answer

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Family Interaction, Parenting Style, and the Development of Planning

an article by Mary Gauvain and Ruth Duran Huard

(our site's article review)

The study examines the communication area of developmental competence—specifically the initiation of planning discussions with parents by adolescents of various types of parents. Children of authoritarian/autocratic (“directive”) parents initiated planning discussions the least, authoritative parents’ children did this more.

If you think about the word "controlling," or even the word “directive,” you see that this is what authoritarian/autocratic parents do more than any other parenting type. So kids of authoritarian/autocratic parents are used to being told what to do. If there is planning to do, the parents are the ones expected to do it. This does not help kids learn to cooperate, nor does it teach them to think for themselves. Why go to a parent with a plan that will be dismissed? Planning is what parents and kids do together cooperatively in any of the Authoritative Parenting Programs. In the best parenting methods, this includes discipline issues such as planning consequences for frowned-upon actions. Family meetings contain problem solving where consequences for doing or not doing a chore can be agreed upon. Kids are helping to CONTROL what happens in their families. They're learning to be planners, to be proactive, and to think. Contrast this with being controlled, which is what kids of authoritarian/autocratic parents experience much/most/all of the time. Authoritative parenting are best for families in all ways.

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.