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Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs
(Comparison Chart)


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The Big Answer

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The Parent's Handbook: Systematic Training for Effective Parenting

a book by Don Dinkmeyer Sr. and Gary D. McKay and Don Dinkmeyer Jr.

(our site's book review)

One of the P.E.T.-like parenting methods is called STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting). Don Dinkmeyer and Gary D. McKay are the proponents/authors of this method. It differs from P.E.T. in that it includes logical consequences in its parenting toolbox. Like Active Parenting, Winning Family Lifeskills, Positive Discipline, Redirecting Children’s Behavior, and Positive Parenting (which we call any Dreikurs-styled authoritative parenting that is not any of the aforementioned methods or STEP), 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.

This particular handbook is useful, simple and concise and a little better organized than some P.E.T. books. For those parents that decide to use logical as well as natural consequences, we’d recommend the use of this book, supplemented by Hart’s The Winning Family and Gordon’s P.E.T books.

For a fuller discussion on logical vs. natural consequences, see the comments on the book Happy Children by Rudolf Dreikurs, and elsewhere in our website.

To find discussions of punitive vs. nonpunitive authoritative parenting, check out comments on Diana Baumrind’s works also in our site. Her ideas about “firm control” define the conservative end of the authoritative parenting continuum, while Gordon’s ideas on avoiding logical consequences and relying on natural consequences to provide all consequences training define the liberal (or Carl Rogers) end of that continuum.