Democratic intervention style
In everyday life, a democratic intervention style means:
- giving children choices based on their abilities, such as by giving them the opportunity to choose:
- which games, toys or materials to use
- which fruit to eat as a snack
- where to go for a walk around the house
- what to give a friend as a birthday present
- how to place their toys
- how to decorate their room
- which book to read before bed
- whether to brush their teeth before or after reading a story
- It is also a way to allow children to express their negative feelings, needs and objections, by:
- listening to the child's frustrations with a sympathetic ear, letting them explain why they feel angry or jealous, taking their feelings seriously
- helping them put their feelings into words
- recognizing the reasons why they reacted, broke a rule or are refusing to cooperate (with comments such as : “Yes, it isn't fun to have to stop playing”)
- giving them simple explanations when they object to decisions
- staying calm during discussions, despite there being a conflict
- regardless of the child's behaviour, never letting them doubt the love you have for them.
- On the other hand, it also means giving children clear and constant support, such as:
- setting up routines and everyday house rules
- taking note and encouraging positive behaviours and attitudes
- applauding their progress and successes
- giving a few short, clear and positive instructions (e.g., “Walk” instead of “Don't run”)
- being constant in applying realistic consequences the child is familiar with whenever a rule is broken
- abstaining from making threats or humiliating the child
- using courteous language rather than giving orders
- as they grow, working with them to establish consequences for unacceptable behaviours
- supporting conflict-resolution among children.
Sources and useful links
- BOURCIER, Sylvie. Comprendre et guider le jeune enfant : à la maison, à la garderie. Montréal, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, Collection du CHU Sainte-Justine pour les parents, 2004. 168 pages.
- JULIEN, Gilles. Aide-moi à te parler; la communication parent-enfant. Montréal, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, Collection du CHU Sainte-Justine pour les parents, 2004. 140 pages.
- PAUZÉ, Isabelle. Autoritaire, « couveur », ami, décrocheur ou démocratique : quel type de parent êtes-vous?
- RACINE, Brigitte. L'autorité au quotidien : un défi pour les parents. Montréal, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, Collection du CHU Sainte-Justine pour les parents, 2013. 200 pages.
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