You may think that permissive parenting is about giving your children the freedom they deserve. Yet, it can be really damaging for your child’s personality and have lasting negative effects on their life.
If you are already a parent or are going to be a parent soon, you are probably aware that there are various different parenting styles. Everyone has their own view about what is the right and wrong way to raise children. Permissive parenting is one of the most popular and controversial styles.
Some say it does their children no harm, while others claim it is more harmful than being neglectful.
However, what is the actual truth? Is permissive really as bad as everyone thinks it is or can it have a positive effect on children if used properly? This is exactly what we are going to address in the following article.
Before we discuss the possible negative and positive (if any) effects permissive parenting can have on children, we will look at what it actually involves.
What Exactly Is Permissive Parenting?
Permissive parenting is a style of parenting that involves a very indifferent, indulgent or compliant attitude towards your children. Indifferent to the fact you are not actively being an involved parent and are not acting as if you are concerned or affected by your child’s behaviour.
Indulgent in that you are giving in to them and doing whatever they want and giving them what they want. It means that you are aware that this might not be the best thing for them but want to avoid making them unhappy and upset. Likewise, you are compliant in a similar way.
Permissive parenting could also be seen as being warm and nurturing when compared to a more authoritative style of parenting. This is obviously not a particularly bad thing. Yet, permissive parents are usually reluctant to give their children structure, boundaries and limits. And this means that this parenting style is not a particularly healthy way to raise youngsters.
You may feel uneasy, and that is possibly justified, to take on an incredibly strict role in your kid’s life and adopt the ‘authoritarian’ style of parenting where you demand unquestioning, blind obedience from your children. However, you may still be able to keep your children under control by adopting the authoritative parenting style.
Although stricter than permissive, it is not nearly as extreme as authoritarian. This style encourages critical thinking and discussion within the family unit along with requiring responsible and mature behaviour from your children.
If you don’t though and decide to take on the permissive style, is it really that bad?
The Negative Effects Permissive Parenting Has On Children
On one hand, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that children that have been brought up by permissive parents are better than neglected kids. These children tend to be more resourceful and have higher self-esteem than authoritarian kids.
However, there are also studies that suggest indulgent (or permissive) parents have raised their kids to be less responsible and less self-disciplined than those raised by authoritative parents.
Do you think it doesn’t matter as long as you love your kids and are doing your best? Then, you should keep in mind some of the following negative consequences on children that can result from permissive parenting.
- Being demanding and not respectful
- Disregarding the needs and wants of others
- Being self-centered and selfish
- Expecting others to take responsibility for them
- Being never content, no matter what or how much they are given
- Having anger issues
- Having no concept of self-discipline or control
- Lack of any sense of self-direction
- Being extremely needy
- Being depressed and feeling that they are unloved and even lack self-worth
It is understandable that you want to show that your kids are loved. Of course, you want them to learn to love the people they have relationships and friendships with and eventually their own children. However, not setting boundaries for them is perhaps the wrong way to go about it.
There is also a lot to suggest that while a wholly permissive form of parenting would be a bad thing, it is not any better for the well-being of your children to adopt a wholly strict style of parenting.
You want your kids to grow up to be responsible adults, understanding the value of hard work and many other good qualities. But it is likely that you don’t want them to turn into loveless and bitter individuals.
What to Do
As with anything in parenting and in life then, it would seem that the best way to parent is to take a measured approach. Avoid being your child’s best friend, but don’t keep them at arm’s length. Teach them that sharing and showing their emotions is important. Also, remind them that they have to work hard to achieve things in life.
Permissive parenting might give you an easy time in the short-term, but it could present you and your children with problems in the long-term.
By Valerie S.