Permissive Parenting - Everything You Need To Know

Permissive Parenting

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All parents have their own way of dealing with their children and bringing them up in their own special way. How you deal with your child and what type of a parenting approach you want to take will depend on various factors that are special to you and your child, and to the family as a whole.

With so many different types of parenting approaches doing the rounds, it is difficult to sometimes distinguish which parent follows what approach. As a parent, if you would like to understand your parenting style a little more in detail, maybe you can try reading about a particular style of parenting, which is known as permissive parenting. Read the signs and characteristics and decide for yourself if you are a permissive parent too.

What Is Permissive (Also Known As Indulgent Or Lenient) Parenting?

The permissive style of parenting, as the name implies already, is also often called by some other names, such as lenient parenting or indulgent parenting. The permissive style of parenting is all about taking a relaxed approach to being a parent, where you lay more emphasis on being a friend to your child than being a parent. As a parent, you will be loving, warm, caring and understanding. Not just that, you also will want to help your child as much as possible and nurture your child’s talents and personality.

Most parents who follow the permissive approach of parenting believe in focusing more on the love part of parenting instead of setting limitations as a parent. Sometimes, it is true that parents who follow the permissive style of parenting actually do so because they have a very strong need of approval from their kids. Instead of just being the parent, they want to be their child’s friend who will be the first person the child will approach in case of any major decision or event. As a result, such parents place fewer limitations or rules on their children and let them have a more relaxed life. Instead of telling their child not to do something, a parent that follows the permissive parenting style will most likely give in to their child’s needs as and when required. Even though such a parent may not always want to agree with the child, they will almost always give in, if only to avoid tantrums, confrontations, or the fear of being regarded as not good.

At the core, a permissive parent will always try to make parenting and childhood work together, and always have the best intentions in mind. They are not unmindful of their children’s needs or, as many other parents who follow different parenting approaches often feel, are lazy. Parents who do follow the permissive style of parenting believe in the fact that each time they give in to their child’s demands and needs, they are actually their child how much they love them.

One of the biggest reasons that parents who follow the indulgent parenting do so is because they want to avoid any type of conflict with their children. They try and be as warm and loving towards them as possible and are almost always very supportive and nurturing, providing a positive influence to the child.

However, even though the parents who follow the permissive or lenient approach of parenting only have their child’s best interest in mind, it can often lead to a negative behavior, in cases where the parents fail to put in any proper disciplinary settings.

What Are The Characteristics Of Permissive Parenting?

Just as parents who follow any other parenting style have certain characteristics that they follow, parents who follow the permissive or indulgent and lenient style of parenting also have some specific characteristics. Here are the main characteristics that are part of the permissive style of parenting:

1. Try To Accept And Meet As Many Of The Child’s Needs As Possible:

  • As permissive parents, you will try to always react to all your child’s needs and take care of them to the best of your abilities.
  • In some cases, you may also go out of your way to make sure that your children get what they are asking for.
  • You will also try and be extra sensitive towards your child’s needs and will try to interpret the needs even before your child tells them about it.
  • Of course it is not necessary that you will always agree to whatever your child feels like or wants. However, you will still try to understand why your child needs the same and will try and get it done as best as you can.

2. Do Not Have Too Many Expectations From The Child:

  • As a permissive parent, you will be more relaxed in your overall attitude and will not set too many expectations from your child.
  • You will not set too many standards when it comes to expecting behavior from your child.
  • Depending on your child’s age, you will be alright even if your child follows only the basic disciplinary behaviors as compared to other children.
  • You will rarely set any rules in the house that your child has to follow and will not expect your child to help you out in any way, even if it is a harmless and easy house chore.

3. Do Not Impose Authority And Believe In Equal Roles For Parent And Child:

  • As a parent who believes in the lenient parenting, you will not make your child feel that you have the higher authority in the relationship and that your child is your subordinate.
  • You will actively encourage your child to take part in various roles in the house, including asking their thoughts on various decision making processes.
  • You will always encourage your child to come out with their own thoughts and perceptions and add to the family’s entire thought process.
  • As a believer in the permissive style of parenting, you will not tell your child to do something just because you think it is right. Instead, you will explain the logic to your child and ask them what they feel about it as well.

4. Are Always Available For The Child:

  • No matter how short on time or busy you are, you will always try and make as much time for your child as possible and will always be present for them.
  • Sometimes, if you feel you are not able to manage your child’s needs due to shortage of time, you will also try and reschedule your work in such a way that you can give more time and attention to your child.
  • You will constantly look for opportunities to include some free time in your schedule so that you can use it to spend with your child or do something that you feel your child needs done.

5. Are More Of Friends And Influencers Instead Of Being A Role Model:

  • A permissive parent will always first aim to be the friend for a child instead of being a role model that the child has to look up to.
  • You will always try to be the one to whom your child comes with the first happy news or the first disappointment. Instead of making your child feel that you are the kind of person your child has to be when they grow up, you will focus more on the present and being available to them now.
  • You will not try to show your child that you are the best and that everything you do or like to do is something your child should follow.
  • You will not set too much importance to your child trying to follow in your footsteps. Instead, you will want to walk together with your child and explore the journey together.

6. Encourage Children To Follow Self-Discipline Instead Of Imposing The Same:

  • A parent who chooses to follow the permissive style of parenting will not impose any kind of discipline on the child.
  • Instead, you are of the belief that your child will learn more from your relaxed attitude and it will give your child a fair sense of what is right and what is wrong.
  • Also, you will feel that because you have such an open communication with your child, they will already be aware of what you are okay with and what does not make you comfortable.
  • You feel that your child will take all such things into consideration and make their own choices.
  • You also believe that as a parent, you do not have to restrict your child or impose any discipline. You will feel that it will not have as much impact on your child as when your child understands the reason and follows discipline themselves.
  • You also feel that instead of learning forced discipline from rules that you set for your child, it is always better that your children learn from their own experiences and mistakes.

6. Will Use Reasoning And Manipulative Techniques Instead Of Force:

  • Instead of just telling your child what to do, you will always want to talk to them and explain to them why you believe in a certain way of doing something.
  • You will not use your control or force to make your child do what you want them to do. You will not shout, yell or scold them, nor will you threaten them to do something that you want.
  • Instead, you will show them the positive results of doing what you are asking them to do and how it can actually benefit them.
  • In some cases, if you feel that reasoning to your child or explaining things to them is not working, you may also think of using manipulation as a last resort. Manipulation in this case will not mean that you will use force or anger. Instead, you may try and manipulate your child in a very emotional and sensitive way and may sometimes even offer them a bribe in exchange of doing what you are asking them to do.

How Does The Permissive (Or Lenient Or Indulgent) Style Of Parenting Affect The Child?

As a parent, the kind of parenting style you adapt and use with your child will have a definite effect on your child. If you are a parent who constantly follows the permissive, or lenient or indulgent style of parenting, you may see its effects on your child soon. Here are a few effects of permissive parenting style that will show up on your child:

Become Selfish And Bossy: Your child will be at risk of turning selfish or even bossy, without it ever being your intention or expectation. As you will not set any boundaries on your child’s behavior, it will mean that your child will find it hard to understand when to stop and when to carry on. Often, even when your child does not intend to be selfish, the resulting outcome will be so.

Will Not Know How To Respect Others Or Put Other’s Needs Into Perspect: When you do not set any expectation on your child’s behavior, it can often make your child unaware of the feeling or needs of others. As a result, your child may not be able to respect others or understand that other people have needs too.

Can Become Manipulative And May Start Making You Do What They Want: As your child grows up, they will start picking up on the fact that you are always looking for their approval and are concerned or worried when your child is unhappy or upset with you. Your child may pick this up as a positive hint that you are kind of scared of them or are intimidated by them. As a result, your child may soon start to read your expressions and may also learn how to manipulate you to their best advantage.

Will Consciously Try To Break All Rules And May Even Get Into Anti-Social Behavior: Another disadvantage that could happen as a result of the permissive style of parenting is when your child actually starts looking for those boundaries and limits that you never set for them. Since your child has never experienced how it feels to be leading a life that has certain preset rules or limitations, your child may now start throwing tantrums or may be going completely out of their way to break out of all rules, even basic societal rules or things that they were following till now. It means that your child will, with a lot of understanding of what they are doing, try and do all those things that annoy or worry you, to see till when they will not be set any boundaries, or if any boundaries will ever exist.

Have A High Risk Of Turning Anti-Social: In the worst of cases, your child will also have the risk of turning into an anti-social person, as they will find it hard to follow any types of rules or boundaries that are set. Also, it will become very difficult for them to understand the concept and the difference between legal and illegal activities, as they will not understand right from wrong.

What Are Some Examples Of The Permissive (Lenient Or Indulgent) Style Of Parenting?

Here are a few instances of parenting where you may be showing the permissive style in the way you deal with your child:

1. You do not ask your child to follow a specific timing to go to bed, which means that your child is free to go to bed as per their own wish and convenience. Even if it is a school day and you know that your child has to wake up early, you will not ask them or remind them to sleep early. Your child may get caught up in something and end up sleeping late, which can make it difficult for them to wake up on time the next morning for school. As a result, your child may either get really late and miss class, or may still manage to wake up on time and go to school, but be very irritable and upset. Also, the lack of sleep can have a considerable impact on your child’s overall health and development. If your child follows this pattern for a long time, it can lead to poor academic performance that can also cause problems in the way your child functions in school. Not getting enough sleep will also reduce your child’s ability to focus and concentrate and can put your child at a risk of getting into accidents as well.

2. You go out for dinner as a family to a restaurant and want to order a specific dish that you absolutely love. On the other hand, you child does not want to go to that restaurant, even if it is a very nice one. They keep sulking and being upset that they do not want to eat there but want to go to another place that is their favorite, even if you have been there the last time as well. You or your partner may really not wish to go to the place your child wants to eat at and may actually have been looking forward to eating where you originally planned. However, when you see that your child is not happy or is throwing a tantrum about going to the place you want to go to and eat at, you will change all your plans and go where your child wants you to go.

3. One of your biggest fears is that your child will get angry or upset or sad about something you say or do, due to which you will always try to work around your child’s demands and wishes. You will always do everything that you possibly can to make sure that your child is happy. As a result, you will barely allow your child to be able to express their many other emotions other than being happy. When your child constantly sees you behaving a certain way, they will realize that all you want is that your child should be happy. Even though it may be a good thing, your child will feel that you are always trying to not see the other emotions of your child, when your child may end up being sad, lonely, worried, scared or irritated. With regular avoidance of such emotional expression, your child may actually start feeling that these emotions should be hidden from others and that they should not be expressed. It will be a major setback to your child’s overall emotional development, where your child will find it difficult to express their feelings and may turn more and more introvert.

4. You go out with your child where your child sees something and asks you for it. Or, your child knows another child whose parents bought them something and now your child wants it too. You already know that your child is not going to be very interested in that particular thing, and your child also knows that it may have happened in the past that they quickly got bored and lost interest. You tell your child about the same and tell them that instead of this particular thing, you will get them something else at a later stage when they actually need it. But your child does not want to listen and wants this particular thing right now. Your child is so sure about it and wants it so badly that they start crying and throwing a tantrum and refusing any other thing that you may offer to buy for them. You become extremely agitated and upset at yourself that you are the one who is making your child suffer so much and is putting your child through so much pain. You blame yourself for it all and tell yourself that as a parent, it is a complete failure on your part if you cannot keep your child happy. You regret refusing your child what they had asked for and criticize your parenting style when it cannot make your child happy. The next instant, you immediately buy your child whatever they were asking you to.

Every parenting style has its merits and demerits, and as a parent, you will have to understand about the values you want to share with your child and how you want to do it. Study the pros and cons of the style of parenting and make an informed choice.

Moms, what do you think is your style of parenting? Do you follow the permissive style of parenting too? How do you think it affects your child?

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