The Democratic Parent
Parents SAY that they want their children to be independent & autonomous but DO THEY?
Characteristics of the DEMOCRATIC Parent
This is OUR House
Many parents profess that they believe that their children are individual beings in their right. They further maintain that they want their children to be independent thinking individuals. However, these are the exact same parents who inculcate their children to be unquestioningly obedient to them.
These parents further take umbrage at the fact that their children have the audacity to disagree with them and elect to pursue their own individual paths. These parents subconsciously contend that their children should be the exact same replicas of them in every way possible. In essence, these parents do the talk but refuse to walk the walk.
Then there are parents who actually practice what they preach. They contend that it is so important for their children to be independent and thinking individuals. They further maintain that their children should be guided as they are individuals with their own personalities. The idea that children are blank slates to be molded into what the parents believe that they should be is totally abhorrent to these parents. These parents are usually known as democratic parents.
Democratic parents maintain that children should have a participatory voice within the household and voice for themselves, especially as they become older. When they do establish rules, they know that these rules are fluid and subject to change depend upon the circumstances involved. Furthermore, when they institute rules, they explain to their children the purpose of such rules.
Democratic parents believe that parenting should never be an exercise of upmanship and power. They contend that their children are thinking beings, not automatons to be at their mercy. Their children learn the importance of family participation and decision making early in their lives.
Democratic parents are the least likely of parents to use harsh punishments if their children are "disobedient." They are the parents who realize that even a child can have a dissenting opinion from them and this is highly encouraged. However, if what the child does is harmful to them, the democratic parents will inquire why he/she did it and will either have the child think about and/or they will explain to the child how his/her actions were deleterious. Then the parents will tell the child what appropriate punishment will be instituted. The instituted punishment will often have a constructive and/or educational effect on the child. As a result of the constructive punishment issued, the child of a democratic parent often learn his/her lesson and often will never do the act again. The lesson was learned pure and simple.
Children feel loved and included in the household of democratic parents. They do not feel as if they are plain automatons who are told to obey their parents blindly. In democratic parenting households, children are allowed to participate in discussions. Such parents intelligently and reasonably contend how can children develop their sense of self when parents consistently tell them to blindly follow their directives. They believe that their children's opinions are worth listening to. They definitely maintain that children should be heard as well as seen.
Democratic parents avidly encourage their children to voice their opinions even if it is different from theirs. They maintain that in order for their children to develop into highly independent thinking individuals, they must exercise their voice and be allowed to freely express their opinions. Many democratic parents contend that the methodology most parents use to rear their children are quite atavistically undemocratic.
Democratic parents assert that their beliefs and opinions are just one of several. They expose their children to various philosophies whether it is religious, political, and/or related ones. They maintain that by such exposure, their children develop into broadminded persons. They further believe that the more accepting a person is, the better off psychologically he/she will be in life.
Democratic parents treat their children with respect. They contend that respect is a two way street. To these parents, respect is to be given as well as received. The average parent often demand respect from his/her child without reciprocating it. He/she often believe that it is his/her parental prerogative to treat his/her child as an appendage. He/she assert that he/she owns the child. Let me not digress, the democratic parent avidly believe in participation from every family member regardless of age. This parent further portend that no one owns his/her child and he/she is only the conduit.
Children in democratic households are not penalized when they do make mistakes. Democratic parents view mistakes as part of a child's maturation process. They contend that how can a child learn and mature if he/she does not make mistakes. Mistakes are also not held over the child's head. Children are accepted for their so-called foibles. It is the opinion of many a democratic parent that experimentation as long as it is not detrimental is an integral part of childhood.
Even though the democratic parents are liberal regarding their parental premise, their household is a structured one. They believe in teaching their children and provided guidelines. They portend that children need some rules which to guide their behavior. They also establish limits for their children to keep them grounded and to protect them from anything deemed harmful. Democratic parents usually establish rules for constructive value. The last thing a democratic parent would do is to establish rules just for the sheer power of doing so. To the democratic parents, doing such would be considered authoritarian and rigid parenting to say the least.
Democratic parents respect their children's privacy and their right to spend time with themselves unless what the latter does is harmful. They portend that everyone, children included, need precious alone time to unwind and recuperate. They believe that they do not have to be privy to everything in their children's lives.
As children approach adolescence and young adulthood, democratic parents know that their children will become more independent and individualized. They know that their relationship with their children must constantly evolve to a more mature one. They realize that it would be quite unwise to treat their adolescent and young adulthood progeny as mere children. They portend that in order to have a continuous relationship with their children, they must treat them as the adults they are becoming.
Democratic parents actually welcome the fact that their children are maturing. They enjoy that their children are becoming more independent and needing them less and less. They rejoice in their children's individuation. They are the parents who are least threatened by this. They contend that their job as parents are to make their children as individual and independent as possible.
Democratic parents relish the fact that their children are becoming adults and going on their own paths. They portend that their children have the right to go on their individual career and life goal paths even though it may be divergently different from and/or diametrically opposed to theirs. They maintain that as long their children are happy and on their way to accomplish their dreams, they can pursue any path they wish.
As children enter adulthood, democratic parents usually change their parental role to that of friend. These parents believe in being friends to their children. They respect the fact that their children are adults and should be allowed their own space. As before, they do not believe in being intrusive in their children's lives. They portend that if their adult children need them, they will certainly be notified of this no more and no less.
As a result of this parenting methodology, many children of democratic parents have close and true relationships with their parents. They are always comfortable with being themselves as they will always be accepted by their parents although they have different opinions. They feel that they never have to put on a false persona in order to be accepted by their parents.
Children of democratic parents are confident and self-assured. They are not afraid to make decisions and to make calculated and intelligent risks. They are not afraid to be assertive and to make their voices heard. They are also strong people who will not cave into peer pressure. They are neither people pleasers nor approval seekers because they value themselves. Because they value themselves, they are totally fearless in their approach to life.
In conclusion, the mantra of the democratic parents is not power but guidance. They truly believe that they do not own their children. They portend that children are not mere parental appendages to order around but individual and intelligent beings in their own right.
Democratic parents believe that children should participate in the family. In their opinion, how can children became fully independent and assertive individuals if they are not allowed to freely express their opinions at home. They definitely are not of the outmoded parental consensus that children should be just be passive receptors of their parents. They contend that children have rights and feelings which should be respected.
They educate their children with the purpose of being an independent and creative thinker. The worst thing to these parents is raising unthinking automatons who obey their every word. They believe in providing structure with the ultimate purpose of educating their children to be the best person they can possibly be. No child can ask for a better parent in the world!
© 2012 Grace Marguerite Williams