Parenting Styles: Permissive

Jan 20, 2022

There is no correct way to parent. The reality is that most if not all parents are winging it to the best of their ability. We all have our morals and values that we want to pass on to our kiddos, but the way in which we do so is individual to each and every household. However, there are a few basic categories that parenting styles tend to fall into: one of which is permissive parenting.

The key aspect of permissive parenting is leniency. Permissive parents tend to try to be friends with their children, fail to follow through with punishments, encourage their children to confide in them while failing to discourage them from poor behaviors, and assume that the child will learn best without parental influence. Rules are often not enforced in permissive households, and children often are able to convince the parents to allow the breaking of any rules that exist.

Permissive parenting doesn’t come from nowhere. According to Dr. Charlotte Peterson, “permissive parenting is often a reaction to a parent’s own childhood experience of punitive, authoritarian parenting.” Children who grow up in authoritarian homes tend to end up feeling unheard and misunderstood, so when they become parents they attempt to enforce the complete opposite of the way in which they grew up. This typically manifests in a home with limited rules, few boundaries, and relaxed consequences – AKA… permissive parenting.

The cycle continues as this permissive parenting style then affects the children in the household. Children who are raised in a permissive manner tend to be quite sensitive and vulnerable. They also tend to be less academically motivated and as a result perform rather poorly in school. These children grow up to have difficulty following rules and directions while also exhibiting little self control. Additionally, they tend to report poor mental health including depression and anxiety.

Despite these effects, permissive parenting does not always end up having a negative impact on children. We love this quote by Amy Morin, where she quickly touches on finding the balance between permissive and structured parenting:

"If you tend to be more of a permissive parent, think of ways that you can help your children understand your expectations and guidelines and be consistent about your enforcement of these rules. By providing your kids with the right balance of structure and support, you can ensure that they grow up with the skills they need to succeed in life."

  1. Amy Morin, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Tune in for the next few weeks to see the next parenting style we touch on!