top of page

September Article

Day Democracy.jpg

International Day of Democracy

International Day of Democracy

In 2007, United Nations passed a resolution in their General Assembly of establishing the International Day of Democracy and is celebrated around the world on September 15 each year.  This Day provides an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the world.


According to the textbook “Magruder’s American Government’, the basic notions of democracy are:

  • Recognition of the fundamental worth and dignity of every person

    • The welfare of one or a few individuals is subordinated to the interests of the many in a democracy.

  • Respect for the equality of all persons

    • equality of opportunity and equality before the law

  • Faith in majority rule and an insistence upon minority rights

    • Majority rules with the notion of willing to listen to minority’s argument, objections, criticisms and welcome its suggestions

  • Acceptance of the necessity of compromise, and

    • Compromise is a give-and-take process, a way of achieving majority agreement

  • Insistence upon the widest possible degree of individual freedom

    • Striking the proper balance between freedom for the individual and the rights of society as a whole is difficult but vital. John F. Kennedy: ‘The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.’ At the same time, the authority of government must never be allowed to become so great that it restricts the individual beyond what is absolutely necessary.


Katrin Kinzelbach wrote in her commentary published by Global Public Policy Institute in 2017: ‘Without Democracy, No Human Rights and No Peace’. Democracy and respect for human rights are fundamental values.



You probably are now thinking ‘Why are we talking about International Day of Democracy here? What is it to do with me as a parent?’.


It is totally relevant! Are we being democratic at home with our children? Are we respecting their rights? Do they have freedom of speech? Am I recognizing my children’s dignity and worth? What is our parenting style? And how different parenting style impact our children?


When we talked about raising our children of who they will become, there are different factors contributing to it. Traditional psychology debates on Nature vs. Nurture, and with decades of studies, researchers have found that a person’s behaviour and character traits are influenced roughly the same by nature (genetics) and by nurture (environment). And Parenting is one of the most important elements of the environment that a child encountered since birth.


In the 1960s, psychologist Diana Baumrind noticed a close relationship between the type of parenting style and children’s behaviour. She identified 3 parenting styles and in 1983, Maccoby and Martin expanded it into today’s parenting style version.


The four types of parenting styles:


This type of parenting believes that children should be seen but not be heard, ‘my    way’ is the only right way and that children’s feeling is not taken into consideration.

This type of parenting has the following characteristics:

  • One-way communication

  • Strict rules that the child needs to obey

  • No room for negotiations from the child

  • Rules are not usually explained

  • Expects the child make no errors

  • Mistakes usually lead to punishment

  • Authoritarian parents is usually less nurturing and have high expectations with limited flexibility

This type of parenting usually ends up with children having the following characteristics:

  • Low in happiness

  • Low in social competence

  • Low in self-esteem

  • May become aggressive

  • May become a good liar to avoid punishment

  • Low ability in making decision

  • Rebel against authority figures as they grow older

  • Highly likely to have behavioural problems

  •  PERMISSIVE or INDULGENT Parenting Style

This type of parenting often set rules but rarely enforce them, often do not have consequences, and believes that children learn best with little interference.

This type of parenting has the following characteristics:

  • Lenient, usually have minimal or no expectations

  • Limited rules

  • Only step in when there is a serious problem

  • Open communication

  • Easy to give in when children beg

  • Acts more like friends than parents

This type of parenting usually ends up with children having the following characteristics:

  • Easy to develop negative habits

  • More likely to struggle academically

  • More likely to exhibit behavioural problems

  • Higher risk for health problems

  • Low self-esteem

  • Encounter more problems in relationships and social interactions

  • Sadness

  • Impulsive

  • Demanding

  • Selfish

  • Lack of self-regulation

  •  UNINVOLVED or NEGLECTFUL Parenting Style

This type of parenting does not spend much time with the child, seldom ask the child about their school, and rarely know about the child.

This type of parenting has the following characteristics:

  • Little knowledge about their child

  • A few rules

  • Not a lot of guidance, nurturing and parental attention

  • Neglectful but mostly unintentional

  • Limited communication

  • Few or no expectations

  • Generally detached from the child’s life

This type of parenting usually ends up with children having the following characteristics:

  • Difficulty in controlling their emotions

  • May have academic challenges

  • Difficulty in maintaining or nurturing social relationship

  • More likely to exhibit behavioural problems

  • Have more mental issues in adolescents

  • Low in happiness

  • Low self-esteem

  •  AUTHORITATIVE Parenting Style

This type of parenting often put a lot of effort to create and maintain positive relationship with the child, set rules but explain the reasons behind, enforce rules with consequences, and that the child’s feeling is taken into consideration. This parenting style normally develops a close, nurturing relationship with the child.

This type of parenting has the following characteristics:

  • Positive Discipline to reinforce good behaviour instead of punishment

  • The child can provide their inputs

  • Appropriate level of communication

  • Validate the child’s feeling

  • Requires a lot of patience

This type of parenting usually ends up with children having the following characteristics:

  • Confident, responsible, and able to self-regulate

  • Able to manage their negative emotions more effectively

  • More empathetic, kind and warm

  • Better social and emotional health outcomes

  • More resistant to peer pressure

  • More likely to be independent

  • Higher self-esteem

  • Higher level of academic achievement and school performance

  • Happier


With decades of research, it is clear that authoritative parenting style is the best to practice. If you feel that you are using other parenting style and didn’t feel good about that, below are some of the ways that can help you adapt to the authoritative style.

  • Give attention to your child and listen to their ideas and concerns.

  • Validate your child’s feelings by saying it out. For example, ‘I know you are upset’.

  • Take your child’s feelings into consideration by asking how they feel about certain decision you as a parent made, and validate it.

  • Establish clear rules and explain the reason behind those rules.

  • Use consequences as a support and not punishment. Consequence needs to be time sensitive; it has to occur right away.

  • Let your child make little choices. For example, ask your child, ‘Do you want to wear blue or green?’. Make sure you can live with both choices.

  • Balance freedom with responsibility. Provide your child with certain degree of freedom, but at the same time support them to be responsible through a behaviour management plan. For example, let your child tell you what time he/she is planning to wake up for school after discussing with him/her the morning plan to make sure he/she arrive school on time.

  • Turn mistake into learning opportunities. Never embarrass your child for making mistakes, but instead help them to see what they can do to make things better.

  • Encourage self-discipline. It is better to ‘teach your child how to fish than giving him/her a fish’. Discuss with your children how to deal with difficulty than solving it for them.

  • Maintain a healthy relationship with your child by spending quality time with him/her together. This quality time helps your child to feel loved and accepted.


When you look at the Authoritative Parenting Style, you can see the accent of the democracy notions aligns. Value your child’s worth and dignity, respect your child as a person and that he/she has equal rights to be heard and be listened. Taking your child’s feeling into consideration when making decisions, sometimes compromise is a process to get to the decision, and providing the space for your child to have a certain degree of freedom to make their own choice and learn to be independent by taking responsibility.


When Katrin Kinzelbach wrote: ‘Without Democracy, No Human Rights and No Peace’, that can also imply to your parenting. If your parenting style is very Authoritarian, your child will have no rights, no say, but only strict rules and punishment, then there will be ‘No Peace’ at home.


Parenting is a 24/7 job, no weekends and no holidays. It is one of the toughest jobs you can find, but getting the most rewards if doing it right. Be patience! If you feel overwhelming, please seek help from professionals.


I would like to share the following quotes as an encouragement for our parents


“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.”

- Jane D. Hull


“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them FEEL.”

- Carol Buchner



bottom of page