Child, Parenting

The egalitarian style of parenting – Equal rights and duties for all

The egalitarian style of parenting

Egalitarian means equal. From this it follows that everyone involved in the egalitarian style of upbringing has the same rights and obligations. There are no hierarchies, which means that parents or educators are not above the children. Since there are no rigid parenting rules, but situations are discussed between all those involved, the egalitarian style of parenting is discussed controversially. The development of children’s self-esteem can be counteracted by being overwhelmed by making their own decisions.

Egalitarian Parenting – What is it?

Based on three parenting styles that were developed in the 1940s by the social psychologist Kurt Lewin to study the behavior of educators towards adolescents, the American sociologist and psychologist Glen H. Elder coined four additional styles. Elder now distinguishes between seven parenting styles, namely authoritarian, democratic, laissez-faire, autocratic, egalitarian, permissive, and negative.


The egalitarian style of upbringing is geared towards equality between the educators and the children.
The children have a right of co-determination and the same rights and obligations as the parents. There is no hierarchy, everyone moves on the same level. The egalitarian style of upbringing demands independence and initiative from children. But it can also overwhelm them because there are no fixed rules that they can use as a guide.


Criteria for the egalitarian style of upbringing

The egalitarian style of education is viewed by some educators as an enhanced form of democratic education. It is mainly characterized by the following features:

  • there are no hierarchies
  • the parent is on a level with the child
  • Parents and educators make suggestions, but their implementation is discussed together
  • the completion of tasks is discussed together, whereby the educators can propose solutions
  • Educators and parents support and encourage the children

The egalitarian style of upbringing in the family

Children do not have to submit to their parents in the egalitarian style of parenting within a family. Your opinion is just as important as that of your parents.
Important decisions are discussed together and ultimately decided democratically. All family members treat each other with respect and respect. However, the practice of equal rights within the family can mean that decisions are made only slowly. Both parents and children need a lot of perseverance and time if all concerns and projects are discussed beforehand.

In certain situations, this can become a severe test of patience. Here is an example:

The child does not want to put on a jacket for the way to kindergarten when it is below zero. However, the mother knows that it is much too cold for that, that in the worst case there is a risk of illness and in the best case the child will start whining on the way because it is freezing.

The discussion takes a lot of time, which is usually short in the morning. In such a situation, an amicable agreement is usually not reached. Strictly speaking, this means that the egalitarian educational goal is not consistently maintained. In the end it is the mother who decides, she acts in an authoritarian manner.
However, if she leaves the decision to the child, even though she knows full well that it is wrong, she falls into the negative parenting style. (Example: Child wants to wear sandals in winter. -> Child freezes, gets sick)

Effects of an egalitarian style of parenting

The egalitarian style of parenting requires an emotional maturity that smaller children often do not yet have. Outside of the family, they can find it difficult to fit in and accept existing rules.
On the other hand, an egalitarian upbringing can promote self-esteem and healthy self-esteem. Children learn to express themselves and defend their point of view. They don’t usually become followers later in life because they question rules and norms before following them. For parents and educators, the egalitarian style of parenting can become a burden because it requires a lot of patience and time. It is questionable whether it can be maintained in the long term, since younger children in particular still need a lot of guidance before they can make their own decisions and develop goal-oriented talent for discussion.


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