Permissive Parenting - The Downside of Permissive Parenting

Permissive Parenting ...

... basically means that parents let children do pretty much whatever they want. Such parents don't want to rock the boat or do the work required to teach their children the limits. Sometimes, this parenting style is a reaction to the parent's own strict authoritarian upbringing. Although a well-meaning parent may feel that she is sparing her child the cruelty of her own restricted upbringing, she fails to recognize the damage that permissiveness can cause. In this article, we'll look at the downside of this type of parenting and provide some ideas for learning how to create some balance.

Like the authoritarian parent, the permissive parent is fear-based. In this case, the parent fears that imposing the limits or creating guidelines for acceptable behavior will somehow cause the child to dislike or even hate them. This is pure projection and is not grounded in reality. In fact, it's my belief that this is how the permissive parent feels about her parents, particularly if they raised her in a strict environment. She may respect them, but she may not like them very much, so she is afraid of raising children who will resent her the way she resents her parents.

Since permissive parenting can be a reaction to the parent's own rigid upbringing (rather than a response), you can be sure it has unhealthy features. In fact, authorities outside the home usually view this type of parent as lazy or neglectful, even though the parent may not view herself that way. .

Permissive parenting has negative implications for parents, but what about the kids? What kind of behavior does this parenting style encourage? Since parents who use this style tend to avoid conflict and fail to enforce limits (or do so inconsistently), their children have trouble following the rules out in the world which leads to struggles with teachers and other authorities.

Since these kids don't have respect for others' limits, they will be viewed as disrespectful and inconsiderate both by their peers and other adults. Since they're used to being bribed for good behavior, they will dislike the fact that adults outside the home expect them to behave appropriately and that there is no incentive or reward. Kids raised in this way have a distinct social disadvantage, in fact, one could refer to them as social handicapped because they do not know how to get along with others and are perceived as self-centered and undisciplined. Such children grow into adults who have no inner compass or compassion for other people's limits and feelings. This is a case when too much love is not love at all.

Worse yet, kids raised by permissive parents are insecure because deep down, they feel that their parents don't really care about them. After all, they can do whatever they want and their parents barely seem to notice, much less give them the guidance they need to learn how to make it in the world.

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Unlearning Permissive Parenting

This kind of parenting can be corrected by learning how to balance love with limits and firm guidance. Such parents need to learn that guidance is love. They also need to realize that children don't come into the world knowing how to interact appropriately with others. Parents need to teach them how.

If you want to work on your parenting skills, read my parenting book, Keepers of the Children which has an entire chapter on understanding the difference between discipline and punishment and reactive and responsive parenting styles. It teaches you how to raise your child to develop his strengths, so his life can be an expression of those strengths. When you raise your children in this way, they will love and respect you because you have given them the tools to lead a purposeful and fulfilling life.

You can also take my next parenting class or purchase an individualized parenting coaching session, so we can talk together on the phone about your particular family situation. Whatever you decide to do, please get help.Permissive parenting is ineffective and harms children in ways that are not immediately obvious.

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About the author: Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book, Keepers of the Children, which teaches parents how to raise children to develop their strengths so they can lead productive and fulfilling lives. It is a journey of discovery for parent and child that takes you deep into the heart of parenting. Laura is available for magazine and television interviews and speaking engagements.



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