What is permissive parenting?

What is Permissive Parenting?

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While parenting is a fascinating task, there is no denying that it is quite challenging to nail every single aspect. There exist plenty of books and classes about parenting, but it is impossible to find a course that standardizes parenting into one just category. This is because theorists classify parenting into several categories. To understand permissive parenting it is best to first have a general understanding of these different parenting styles.

Despite the categories, it is impossible to draw specific boundary lines that separate the features of these parenting styles as some of the characteristics intertwine. Each of the parenting styles is unique in its approach, even though some may have several similarities. 

Permissive parenting stands out from the  other styles because it is quite different. It is characterized by few rules and expectations of the child. Just like the other parenting styles, permissive parenting has effects on the growth and development of the children. These effects will range from positive to negative, depending on the implementation of the parenting style. This article illustrates how the negative impact of the permissive parenting style can be balanced out by adopting several strategies.

Permissive Parenting 

The key to an accurate permissive parenting definition is noting that the parents view the children as not being mature enough to take responsibilities. This is why the parenting style involves minimal rules and expectations of the kids.

Permissive parenting does involve high responsiveness, and the parents are very loving. However, they treat the child as their friend rather than their children, and this will result in children escaping punishments on most occasions. The parents do not bother with punishing their children. Hence, discipline becomes a vital issue.

An example of permissive parenting is when parents utter that “kids are just kids,” which aims to imply that the child is not able to perceive any expectations placed on them. According to Baumrind, permissive parents will go out of their way to avoid any sort of confrontation to protect the warmth and love they portray to their kids.

Characteristics of Permissive Parenting Style 

Parent and child

Parents utilizing this parenting style will set few rules dictating how the kids will behave. If the parents do set the rules, they will be inconsistent, and the parents will rarely follow through with the consequences of breaking the rules. 

These parents will treat their kids as their friends. Rather than use punishments for broken rules, the parents will try to persuade the children to behave correctly by using bribery such as toys and other presents. 

The parents will offer little guidance to the children in terms of their schedule or structure. At times, the parents may ask advice from children, especially about significant decisions in which the kids are not qualified to give their opinions. The parents are more focused on ensuring that the children get their freedom, and this means that responsibilities are given a back seat.

Impacts of Permissive Parenting 

parenting young child

Children of permissive parents are exposed to a relaxed approach which can have damning consequences on the growth and development of the children. These children may have poor skills and can be too self-involved, which leads to insecure feelings. These children may also exhibit low achievement not just in academic setups but also in other areas in school as well as later in life. 

Another effect of permissive parenting is that the children will be prone to poor decision making as the parents failed to create any rules to guide the critical thinking of the children. Thus, problem-solving becomes a huge issue for the kids as they struggle with problems that present small challenges. 

Their emotional IQ will also suffer because these kids have not been taught how to deal with the emotions of situations that they are opposed to encountering. The lack of rules at home also means that the child will struggle with time management as they never got a chance to learn their limits. This is a habit that may also impact their health as they are used to being given candy as bribes and watching movies or playing video games.

Pros of Permissive Parenting 

Permissive parenting pros and cons illustrate that the parenting style is faulty and needs to be complemented with other techniques. Despite the limitation of the style in plenty of areas as illustrated above, it does have some benefits. For instance, there is minimal conflict in the family, as relationships are identified as the core factor. Other than that, it is a parenting style that does more harm than good.

Strategies to Transition from Permissive Parenting 

If you have read the characteristics of permissive parenting and believe that it resembles your parenting style, you might be wondering what you can do to rectify the situation. There is nothing wrong with showering your child with love. However, if children are not taught how to be responsible, they may end up becoming failures in the future. Some strategies can be implemented into your parenting style to ensure that your child is exposed to healthy development.

  • Set guidelines as well as consequences for breaking the rules. You should help your child understand the rules and provide sufficient feedback regarding their behavior.
  • Follow through with the consequences. While this may be difficult for most parents in this category, the kids should see you as a parent, not a pushover or a friend.
  • Reward good conduct. Unlike in previous occasions, gifts are not being used to promote good behavior through bribery but are being used as rewards when children behave well.

The Bottom Line 

There is no question that parenting is difficult, but as long as you push yourself to understand the needs of the child, you will, without a doubt, create the perfect environment for the growth of your children. While permissive parenting is focused on relationships, other strategies will ensure that the child is can correctly perceive multiple areas that will be responsible for their healthy development.


Robert is a father of a young daughter and has developed an expertise in child car seat safety. He is a keen supporter of the use of child safety systems having seen his daughter come away from a side impact collision unscathed due to the use of a child car seat. When he's not spending time reviewing child safety systems he works as a Technical Manager on major construction projects.

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