All of us have different parenting style and it is really not fair to judge someone’s style as better as or worse than ours. However, it is also important to understand various parenting styles so that you can imbibe the best practices and more importantly, appreciate all parents.
One mistake most of us parents do is not consider parenting as an important skill. For learning any other skill, we get proper training. But when it comes to parenting, most of us go by intuition and not think of the bigger picture. Reading about a particular parenting style and deciding on what type of parent you want to be is an important step because unless you are consistent, your child will not benefit from what you do for him.
Before understanding what a democratic parenting style is, it is important to understand the opposite of democratic parenting, namely authoritative parenting.
What Is Authoritative Parenting?
This is a parenting style in which parents “rule” and children “obey”. Most of us in our generation were raised in this parenting style. The dad was the most important person and decision maker in the house. Mom was in “second” place. And kids were the bottom of the pyramid. This hierarchy was apparent across the society – be it in school or in workplace. There was a boss and there were subordinates.
But society has not changed. Even in the workplace, it is more about collaboration and teaming and less about boss giving orders and employees following meekly. These societal changes have driven a new more positive parenting style, called democratic parenting.
What Is Democratic Parenting?
Much like in a democracy, children are treated as “equals” in a democratic home. It is based on a ‘give and take’ policy, where the children are given choices and they have the liberty to make decisions. However, in exchange, they also need to face the consequences of their decisions, however unpleasant. This helps them make “responsible choices” and not go by whims and fancies. That said, it is the duty of the parents to ensure that the consequences do not inflict physical harm or pain. The theory of democratic parenting depends on:
- Warmth and positivity
- Understanding and love
- Discipline, rules and obedience
- Dignity and respect
What Democratic Parents Don’t Do ?
This is an easily misunderstood parenting style. Remember that democratic parenting does not mean that:
- Children can do anything they want
- Children is free to do what adults are doing
- Children is free to make choices but the parents protect them from consequences
In fact democratic parenting is about respecting your children and treating them with dignity. Parents explain the choices, along with appropriate consequences to the children. And children make informed decision, knowing well that they have to face the consequences if their decision does not go well.
Let us now see some of the key features of democratic parenting.
Key Features Of Democratic Parenting
- Democratic parenting style aids the child in making emotional adjustment with other family members
- In democratic parenting style, you give the freedom to your child to make decisions. So you expose your child to a variety of options to choose from. When the child makes a right choice, he gets motivated with the positive results and praise from friends and members of the family
- In order to make this parenting style work well, parents and children need to work together
- It is imperative that the children are more forthcoming about their good and bad actions
Advantages Of Democratic Parenting
- Children become more independent as they are empowered to make their own decisions
- Parents and children develop a positive, mutually respecting relation, as they collaborate to set rules
- Since the child already knows the consequence of any decision, they are more prepared when things go wrong
- Children grow up confidentially, with the ability to speak up their choices and preferences
- Children grow up to be more reasonable
- Children are more self-confident and have more self-esteem
Disadvantages Of Democratic Parenting
- Children of democratic parents are more likely to question their parents’ actions. So be prepared to be a good role model with reasoning and logic!
- It is more effective in younger children and not effective in toddlers
- Sometimes parents do not follow the method accurately; they do some bit of democratic parenting but then mix it with other styles. This can result in kids who are spoilt and manipulative
- Sometimes, the consequences of the wrong decision taken by the child might upset them tremendously
Things To Remember If You Want To Be A Democratic Parent
- Make sure everyone in the family understands this concept and follows it
- Treat children as equal – but understand that this does not mean they can do what they like without discipline
- Communication is the key here – keep everything transparent. The child should know the rules, the choices and the consequences clearly
- Encourage your child to make decisions independently. However, be there to help him decide if he asks for help
- Collaborate with your child in every manner
- Do not dictate
Do you follow democratic parenting style in your house? Let us know your story in the comments section below.