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Permissive or Indulgent Parenting Style

Now let’s look at the Permissive or Indulgent parenting style. This parenting style is the polar- opposite of our last style discussed in the previous blog post, Authoritarian or Disciplinarian parenting style.  Parents who raise their children with a permissive or indulgent style sometimes do not even notice that they let their children do what they want until they reach adolescent years and feel out of control with their children. Most of the time these parents offer very limited guidance or direction when raising their children.  They appear to be more like friends with their children than being their kids’ actual parents.

According to Bright Horizons family resources, permissive parenting style of discipline is the opposite of strict. Most parents who function with this style of parenting have limited rules. The issue with this parenting style is that is does not teach the child boundaries (i.e. standards, morals, and manners) which will cause issues with other children and adults due to a lack of the parents teaching these social skills and cues to their children.  This parenting style can breed rudeness, disrespect, and a lack of consideration to others simply because this environment will not expose the child to the word, no.

For example, if a child with this parenting style plays with another child that is raised by authoritarian parents then that child knows to ask for permission before playing with someone else’s toy.  However, the permissive parented child meets this authoritative child and attempts to take the toy from the other child because he/she has not been taught boundaries, so they feel free to take because they are raised in an environment where they do not hear the word, no. The authoritative child has heard no and fights to hold the toy because they know you should ask to play first before you take something. This is the classic child meets child over toy scenario.

One positive to this parenting style is the communication from parent to child is very open. Meaning the parents are like friends so, they are an open book to their kids and are willing to hear from their children as well. Consequently, with that openness the parents let their children decide for themselves rather than provide direction.  Essentially, these parents really believe it is ok to let their children figure problems out on their own.  Therefore, expectations are typically minimal or often not set by parents who operate under this type of parenting style.  Openness is good to a degree because is allows your kids to feel safe to talk to you and ask questions. However, if parents are not careful you can expose your kids to inappropriate age information they are just not ready to process yet.  This can give them false since of maturity without establishing parent to child boundaries.

An illustration of this is when adults are having a conversation and a child comes over and stands there in the mist of the conversation. Both adults then give an awkward look and then glance at the child then sees if someone is going to advise the child to go play or remove themselves because both adults are aware the content is not appropriate for the child’s ears. However, the child has sat before their parents and could listen to them talk about other people and their issues, so the child has a since privilege to stand before adults and listen because their parents allow them to.  This behavior without proper correction can be a problem. Since kids are not aware about discretion they can share conversations without thinking at school, with other friends, and in the neighborhood unless they are taught not to do so.

Lastly, one more positive about this parenting style is that parents in this category naturally display warm and nurturing affection towards their children which is an important element to social development and maturation for children.  The issue is it is not balanced with a fair level of parental guidance and correction which over time could create a loving child but a socially award and difficult person to deal with in later years all because as parents they could not say, no.

(www.brighthorizons.com, family resource, 2018)

“Healthy Living Begins with Healthy Thinking”

Joseph Briscoe

Life Coach

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