Washington Homeschool Organization Conference Notes: Dale McGowan – The Four Parenting Styles

Special note: even though Dale writes about parenting from a non-religious point of view, his talks were not from any pro or anti-religion point of view. The two books of his I’ve linked at the end of the post were not referenced in his talks (The Altruistic Personality was), but are included as a small sample of his work.

  • Parenting guidance in the 1920s:
    • John Watson
      • Little Albert and conditioned response
      • Holding babies will spoil them
  • Parenting guidance in the 1950s:
    • John Bowlby
      • attachment theory
  • Parenting guidance in the 1960s:
    • Harry Harlow
      • cloth and wire monkey experiment
    • Diana Baumrind
      • discipline
      • warmth
      • communication
      • expectations
  • Four Parenting Styles:
    • authoritarian
    • authoritative
    • permissive
    • uninvolved (added by Martin)


  • Permissive Parents can be:
    • affectionate
    • anxious to please
    • can’t say no and stick to it
    • easily manipulated
  • Permissive parenting outcomes in kids:
    • demanding and whiny
    • easily frustrated
    • lacking empathy and kindness
    • poor to average student
    • a follower
  • Uninvolved parents can be:
    • emotionally removed
    • unpredictable
    • inconsistent
  • Uninvolved parenting outcomes in kids:
    • clingy and needy
    • rude
    • troublemakers
    • poor students
    • a follower
  • Authoritarian parents can be:
    • emotionally aloof
    • “because I said so”
    • emphasize differential in power and rights
    • physical punishment and/or verbal insults
    • dismisses a child’s feelings (eg: “that’s not something to cry over!”)
  • Authoritarian parenting outcomes in kids:
    • well behaved
    • average to good student
    • moody and anxious
    • a follower
  • Authoritative parents can be:
    • affectionate and engaged
    • set limits and enforce consequences
    • use reason, logic, and appropriate negotiation
    • empower decision making
  • Authoritative parenting outcomes in kids:
    • happy and kind
    • good at problem solving
    • a leader
    • a good student
    • cooperative and responsible


  • How to parent authoritatively
    • listen repsonsively
    • validate emotions
    • establish clear rules with clear reasons
    • positive incentives
    • logical, proportional consequences
    • allow small choices from an early age (but beware the paradox of choice)
    • balance freedom and responsibility
    • encourage self-discipline by always moving toward autonomy and allowing mistakes

The following book links are Amazon affiliates, meaning I get a small commission if you use these links to purchase. Thank you for your support.

A book recommended by Dale: The Altruistic Personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Germany
Some of Dale’s books:

Dale’s Website

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