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Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs
(Comparison Chart)


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The Big Answer

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High Praise for Strict Parenting

an article by Stacie Zoe Berg

(our site's article review)

Research has once more supported authoritative parenting and once more indicted permissive parenting as a very bad parenting method. Parents must enforce the rules in their families. If there are no consequences, there’s no learning. In there’s no learning, there’s no refinement of behavior to within acceptable parameters. Kids who grow up with permissive parenting are not only disrespectful of authority and more likely to exceed the limits of acceptable behavior, they’re also less secure and happy. The article recommends that parents spend more time with their kids. If there’s a loving bond between child and parent, the child actually desires to act in ways that are within bounds. Without that bond, one has little basis for influencing children’s behavior.

If there’s a loving bond between child and parent, the child actually desires to act appropriately
If there’s a loving bond between child and parent, the child actually desires to act appropriately

It's true but misleading that "no consequences = no learning." Imposed consequences (logical consequences) are not used in several very effective parenting methods. Authoritative Parenting Programs has a chart where you can see which methods do not use them. Some of these methods do not call themselves authoritative, although, as you can see, we consider all methods that use logical consequences to be Authoritative and all methods that reject them to be Authoritative Lite—our term: Authoritative Parenting Programs. All methods on that page are acceptable and effective, and over half use nonpunitive, reasonable logical consequences very related to the unacceptable behavior, but only if natural consequences are not appropriate.

Berg says that: "Rather than just say no to their children, many parents refuse to enforce restrictions and rules. Whether it's a result of guilt (both parents working), frustration (neither parent working) or a rebellion against their own strict upbringings, parents are paying a price for complacency: Violent crimes among juveniles more than doubled from 1970 to 1995, and nearly 150,000 children under the age of 17 were arrested for violent offenses in 1995, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics."

Baumrind would like Berg's strict parenting agenda, since both believe in "parental firm control," in spite of reams of evidence that exposes this idea as simply Second Wave authoritarian bias. Enforce, obey, comply, impose, control—this is the language of authoritarianism and behaviorism, of having the goal of obedience when the correct goal is to empower autonomy, fill needs, and encourage. If Berg is so keen to have obedience, she should get a dog!

If Berg is so keen to have obedience, she should get a dog!
If Berg is so keen to have obedience, she should get a dog!

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.