Permissive parenting, also known as indulgent parenting is another potentially harmful style of parenting. These parents are responsive but not demanding. These parents tend to be lenient while trying to avoid confrontation. The benefit of this parenting style is that they are usually very nurturing and loving. The negatives, however, outweigh this benefit. Few rules are set for the children of permissive parents, and the rules are inconsistent when they do exist. This lack of structure causes these children to grow up with little self-discipline and self-control. Some parents adopt this method as an extreme opposite approach to their authoritarian upbringing, while others are simply afraid to do anything that may upset their child.
How to recognize if you are a permissive parent:
- Do you not have set limits or rules for your child? Do you often compromise your rules to accommodate your child’s mood?
- Do you avoid conflict with your child?
- Do you have a willingness to be your child’s best friend rather than their parent?
- Do you often bribe your child to do things with large rewards?
The traits described in the above questions mark an unhealthy permissive parenting style. It may seem as though this would be a child’s favorite parenting style as it provides a sense of freedom without consequences, however, children crave a sense of structure to make them feel safe and. It is important in a child’s development for there to be clear cut parental and child roles. Permissive parenting can have long-term damaging effects. In a study published in the scientific Journal of Early Adolescence, it was found that teens with permissive parents are three times more likely to engage in heavy underage alcohol consumption. This is likely do to their lack of consequences for their behavior.
Other damaging effects of permissive parenting include:
- insecurity in children from of lack of set boundaries
- poor social skills, such as sharing, from lack of discipline
- poor academic success from lack of motivation
- clashing with authority
It is important for the permissive parent to begin to set boundaries and rules for their child, while still being responsive before it is too late. If enacting new structures proves too daunting, it is advised again to seek out the help of a licensed therapist.