Democratic Parenting Style: Treating Kids As Equals

Democratic parenting

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While there is no hard and fast rule about following a particular style of parenting, one that is mutually beneficial to both the parents and kids, is always a big yes. The democratic parenting style fits the mutual benefit criteria and it advocates a lenient approach towards the child.

MomJunction brings you the details of this parenting style, such as the concept of democratic parenting, its features, advantages and disadvantages.

What Is Democratic Parenting Style?

Democratic parenting style involves setting up clear rules and expectations for children, and having open discussions. It follows the give-and-take policy. When the children get older, they can take up their responsibilities and lead their life independently. According to Alfred Adler, Austrian medical doctor, psychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology, “Democratic parenting allows a fairness and respect to develop between child and parent.” (1)

[ Read: Authoritative Parenting ]

Main Concept Of Democratic Parenting:

In the Democratic style of parenting, you can raise your child in an independent manner, to encourage him to participate in different activities. This kind of parenting infuses positivity and spreads happiness in the household. The concept of democratic parenting depends on:

  1. Love and understanding
  2. Motivation and encouragement
  3. Positivity and warmth
  4. Rules, obedience, and discipline
  5. Respect and rewards (2)

What Can And Should You Do As A Democratic Parent?

  1. Children have to be treated as equals, in this parenting style. This does not mean that they get to behave as they like, but parents listen to what the kids have to say.
  1. Communication is an integral part of any relationship. Before setting house rules, talk to your kids. Try and explain the importance of following rules and regulations. Let the children decide the punishments (which should be mild) for things that they go wrong with. This would create a warm relationship between you and your kids.
  1. You should allow your child to take decisions independently and encourage him to make the right choices. It can help him get acquainted with the decision-making process, and he would be able to make decisions on sound and logical thinking rather than fear. (3)
  1. As a democratic parent, you need to remain diligent with your children. Explain rules with positive consequences. The child adheres to his choices and tries to follow them in his way.

[ Read: Permissive Parenting ]

Features Of Democratic Parenting:

  • The parenting style helps your child in making psychological adjustment with other family members.
  • Your child would have a variety of options to choose from. When he chooses the right choice, he enjoys the positive outcomes and appreciation from friends and family members.
  • Parents and children need to work together so that the style works positively.
  • Parents remain committed to their family and children.
  • Parents never dictate anything to their child. They only facilitate the decision-making process, and the child has complete control over the decision-making process.
  • Children should not shy away from taking the responsibilities for their good and bad actions.
  • Parents can punish their child for their wrongful actions. However, these punishments are not that harsh.


  • Andy is a 12-year old kid and his parents practice the democratic parenting style to boost his confidence level. His mother instructed him to clean the closet by 6PM. If he completed the assigned task by 6PM, he would get to watch TV for an extra half hour.
  • Vivian is the newborn baby, and Mary is her elder sister. As their mother wants the baby to sleep, she instructs Mary to remain quiet. She provides her with two options, she can either read a story book or watch her favorite TV show at a low volume. Mary takes her decision and picks up her favorite story book.
  • Tom is a 10-year-old. His parents want him to score well in the exam and attain above 90%. They have planned a surprise for him if he got above 90%.

[ Read: Uninvolved Parenting Style ]

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Democratic Parenting Style:


  • The parenting style makes the children more independent, and they become capable of taking their decisions independently.
  • Both parent and children remain involved in deciding the set rules, and how the need to follow them practically.
  • As the children remain actively involved in defining the house rules, they remain acquainted with the punishment that they have to follow with the breaching of any rules.
  • The parenting styles create a positive household atmosphere, and the kids can easily gel with the parents and share their views and feelings in an unhesitant manner.
  • It makes children feel happier, encouraged, appreciated, valued, and loved.
  • It boosts the self-confidence level of the children, and they feel motivated to do the best things in life.
  • Democratic parenting style boosts the reasoning skills of children. (4)


  • Parents need to adopt this parenting style when their children are young. Dr. Brian Macdonald, Clinical Psychologist and Professor at University of Ottawa, wrote in one of his articles, “It’s possible that parents who want their kids to benefit from a democratic parenting style should realize that their kids might require more direction when they’re small; young children of democratic parents might be more likely to question parents’ instructions or to get off-task because they’re used to being a bit more independent than other kids.”
  • The parenting style is more effective in young children than toddlers and infants, as the latter are too small to respect sentiments and understand parents’ feelings.

[ Read: Free Range Parenting ]

  • Parents have to consider the age of the child, and they exercise the particular parenting style. For instance, a 2-year old girl would not understand the importance of house rules and the punishment for breaking them.
  • Sometimes the child could end up taking wrong decisions.

Do you practice democratic parenting style for your kids? Are they able to take their decisions independently? Tell us more about it here!

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