Permissive Parenting is a designation given to a Parenting Style that is tolerant, liberal, lenient, and accommodating. The main goal of the Permissive Parenting Approach is, in simple terms, to have a peaceful environment in which a child can develop. The parents’ intention is to have the parents follow the same parallel course through childhood with each child. The parental intent is on each person in the family traveling through life alongside each other. Cooperation and harmonious living seems to define this intended peaceful environment.
Children are free to express themselves through behavior as it occurs to them. This arrangement is to allow the children to develop through experimentation and exploration. Each child would then choose how, when, where, and with what to experiment and explore. Minimal behavioral expectations are placed on the children. There is generally no clearly defined set of rules created for the household or the children.
Let’s look at the Permissive Parenting Approach as a whole and break it down into some Permissive Parenting Characteristics and Permissive Parenting Examples.
Keeping children physically and emotionally safe in a Permissive Parenting Style home is a full time job. It takes careful planning so that every child’s environment is safe for experimentation and exploration. Parents have to be aware of each child’s behavioral patterns so that the environment can be filled with the objects that can fulfill each child’s desire for specific experimentation and exploration.
In the spectrum for Permissive Parenting Style, Parents, who have very busy schedules, generally fall into this type of parenting by default, rather than by choice. These parents, having allotted so little time to deal with their children, allow a freedom of behaviors, with few if any limits in the environment of the home. This is often referred to as Permissive Parenting. This is not Permissive Parenting through intent. Most of these parenting environments fall into the spectrum of the Neglectful Parenting Style.
Other parents, having chosen this parenting style, may practice Permissive Parenting as an emotional response to having experienced a severely strict upbringing. Their childhood experience then stimulates a desire to present the opposite environment for their children, rather than choosing Permissive Parenting as a family lifestyle.
Children may receive those things they want or especially desire and demand. This may be in response to keeping the peace in the household. In this safe environment, they tend to get the attention, and love is demonstrated through behavioral guidance that they especially require in their formative years.
Detriments of Permissive Parenting Style
The children in these households may be detrimentally affected in their development of social and community skills, as they are allowed to pursue self-centered activities to the exclusion of experiencing community and societal norms of behavior.
Children tend to feel much safer, more confident, and more secure with consistent age appropriate limits and boundaries. This has the effect of gentle guidance through the self-centeredness of early childhood. Infants, toddlers, and preschool children all are naturally self-centered. To infants this is survival. Infants demand food, safety, and physical comfort to be able to survive into the next stage of development. As human beings pass through each stage of development, they require less self–centeredness for survival and need an increase in communal and societal life skills for optimal survival and thriving.
Some permissive parents give in to tantrums just so that the ordeal of the tantrum ends for the parent. It seems that this parent does not realize the developmental benefits to a young child learning to self–soothe, which is the beginnings of learning how to self-regulate more intense emotions.
The video below was on YouTube. I saw it on AFV a long time ago. It is a perfect example of even a toddler being fully aware of what he is doing. This child knows that he is attempting to get something (we don’t know what) from his parents, especially his Mom. He makes sue that he stays within the sight of his Mom, and he keeps dong it over and over. Even toddlers are resourceful and creative. I’m glad that the parents are not over reacting, although they are giving this tantrum a lot of attention. Notice that he is throwing himself on the floor where there is nothing in his way. Play the video; it is funny.
Some also sense a tantrum and give in to avoid the tantrum altogether. As a child grows and develops, it does not physically require every want or desire to be externally gratified. This action actually teaches the child to use tantrums to manipulate the reactions of their parents for gratification of a desire or want. A physical, mental, or emotional requirement of health and survival does not equate to a want or desire. They are not the same or equal. Behavior limitations are intended to teach the children how to generalize known limits to self-preservation and self-motivation onto other experiences that will come later.
Character Traits of Children from Permissive Parenting Homes
Some of the character traits of children who have been raised by excessively permissive parenting are often immaturity, inability to control impulses, a lack of focus, and inability to accept responsibility.
As adults, these children may find it, and most likely will find it hard to be self-sufficient or responsibly independent. Lacking the ability to self-regulate emotions, they are constantly seeking external resources to satisfaction and gratification rather than seeking joy from new intrinsic or abstract concepts.
The general implication is that permissive parents may face the results of becoming excessively lenient with the behavioral expectations for their children. As the children grow, they will become increasingly demanding and manipulative. The teen years will be unpredictable.
There is a difference between openness to exploration and permissiveness. A parent can practice Authoritative (not Authoritarian) Parenting Style and remain open to encouraging and teaching educated and calculated experimental explorations during a lifetime.
Some consider the style to be lax, or overly lenient, so that child is free to do whatever he or she wants. Some of the tenets of this style may intend to follow the Montessori model of early education. The Permissive Parenting Style falls far short of that position.
Obviously, I have represented a rather negative view of permissive parenting.
It does have drawbacks.
Information is always power. It may well be imperative to obtain all the pertinent information on types of parenting styles before you embark on choosing your family lifestyle. If you desire to obtain more of the positive effects that describe Permissive Parenting Style, you will not find them here. You can research permissive parenting online, through some parenting support groups, a professional counselor, social worker, or your local librarian will be happy to assist you in finding printed material on the subject.
I have encountered too many anxious and neurotic school age children from permissive homes in my career to believe that Permissive Parenting Style, with its loose or non-existent limits, is substantially beneficial to raising children.
I steadfastly believe that it is each parent’s (family’s) option and responsibility to choose conscientiously which parenting style or environment that is used to establish the family structure. This would include creating family and parenting goals relevant to the family environment.
In order for children to enter into the world of today as well-rounded individuals, teach them how to choose their own actions, values, and skills, and accept the positive or negative consequences of their actions. Children are better able to do this with having had experience in social and community skills.
Life is full of challenges for busy parents, and choosing how to parent is a huge. Are You Trying to Save Time with Permissive Parenting? Sit down with your spouse and all the other adults that will be helping to guide your children and take the time to set your family priorities, and the roles the adults will play in your family structure. Don’t choose by not choosing.
There have been times that we parents have all experienced the frustrating behaviors of our children. Don’t let this frustration cause you to lose sight of your family goals. Create your own goals and parenting plan of action. There is value to increasing and improving our parenting skills. Parenting is dynamic not static.
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