Permissive Parenting

What is Permissive Parenting?

The general definition of permissive is that it is a form of parenting where you hold very little rules for your children and react to situations on a one-off basis.

Characteristics of the Permissive Parenting Style

  • rules for children are incredibly inconsistent
  • very loving towards children 
  • seen as more of a friend, than of a parent
  • bribery is used to initiate better behavior
  • not much schedule or structure
  • value freedom over responsibility
  • generally ask their children’s opinions on major situations before making decisions themselves
  • lack of consequences
  • Have few rules for children

Some studies have been done and some psychologists believe the following results can happen as a result of permissive parenting

Children who are raised permissively tend to:

  • Display low achievement across many areas of life.
  • Make poor decisions
  • Lack problem solving skills
  • Have aggression and lack emotional understanding
  • In later years may be prone to abuse substances
  • Lack of time management skills

If you feel you are parenting permissively, you can use these simple tips to help you:

  • Maintain rules and come up with a list of household rules for your family.
  • Make sure your child understands there are repercussions for breaking rules.
  • Follow through. If you say you are going to do something. Do it.
  • Reward great and good behavior.

If you are interested in learning more about the psychology of permissive parenting, this is a great read on Psychology Today.

I wouldn’t rule out all of the attributes of permissive parenting as bad ones. The fact that is is the polar opposite of helicopter parenting proves that there is some value in some of the tactics. However, it’s important to remember that you are a parent, and that we have information on parenting like never before. Trying to maintain a balance of what feels right to you vs what you know might be long term beneficial is the key.

Also, of course, every situation is different. Families have different dynamics. It’s always important to do what you feel is right for your family, for yourself and most importantly for your children.