What Is Permissive Parenting?

If you’re a new or upcoming parent, you may have heard of the permissive parenting style. But what is it exactly? And does it work for every family? In this blog post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of permissive parenting, so you can decide if it’s right for your family.

What is the Permissive Parenting Style?

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A permissive parenting style is a style of parenting in which parents are reluctant to impose limits on their children. This style of parenting typically results in children having a lot of freedom in regard to bedtimes, homework, mealtimes, and television watching. Permissive parents may also be less likely to monitor their children’s screen time and snack intake. Although this parenting style may seem lax, it is important to remember that permissive parents are still typically nurturing and warm. They simply choose to reject the notion of keeping their kids under control. Ultimately, whether or not this style of parenting is effective is up to each individual family. Some families find that permissive parenting works well for them, while others may prefer a more traditional approach to parenting.

What are the Characteristics of a Permissive Parent?

A permissive parent is generally very loving and nurturing towards their kids. They ask their children’s opinions on major decisions and emphasize their freedom rather than their responsibility. Permissive parents have few rules or standards of behavior and are often inconsistent in enforcing them. As a result, children of permissive parents may lack structure and discipline and may exhibit aggressive or disruptive behavior. While permissive parenting can be beneficial in some ways, it can also lead to problems if children are not given the guidance and support they need to thrive.

The Pros of Permissive Parenting

Permissive parenting has seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to “free-range” parenting, a philosophy that closely mirrors permissive parenting. The lack of structure and clear standards of behavior associated with permissive parenting can be off-putting to some, but it does have its advantages.

  • First, children who are raised in a permissive environment are more likely to be confident and willing to try new things. This is because they are encouraged to express themselves freely and are not afraid of making mistakes. Additionally, research has shown that children who are raised in permissive households are less likely to exhibit behavioral inhibition, which can lead to better academic and social functioning in adulthood.
  • Children are given more freedom to undertake new adventures with a greater sense of confidence. They’re able to explore their world more freely, without the fear of failure or consequence. As a result, they can learn and grow more rapidly, developing into independent and well-rounded individuals.
  • When parents take a permissive approach to parenting, they tend to set fewer limits for their children. This can encourage kids to experiment with all sorts of passions and hobbies, ultimately leading to them finding their unique talents and interests. In addition, permissive parenting makes it easier for kids to tap into their innate creativity. Without the pressure of meeting parental expectations, kids are free to explore their imagination and extend their creative boundaries.

The Cons of Permissive Parenting

Though it may be tempting to let your kids do whatever they want, it’s important to remember that there are some negative effects associated with permissive parenting. For one thing, kids who don’t have rules and boundaries often feel insecure and uncomfortable. What’s more, without any guidelines to follow, children can quickly become overwhelmed and confused.

  • One of the disadvantages of permissive parenting is that it can lead to risky behavior in children. With the lack of boundaries, children are left to fend for themselves and may approach certain situations without fear or trepidation. This can lead to engaging in risky behavior, such as substance abuse.
  • Children raised by permissive parents are more prone to anti-social behavior, delinquency, and problems at school. These children are conditioned to keep their problems to themselves and are not given the opportunity to develop critical social skills. As a result, they often have difficulty making friends and may become withdrawn and isolated.
  • One disadvantage to permissive parenting is that children may rebel against rules and authority figures outside of the home. Because they’ve been allowed to “rule themselves” with little guidance or structure, they may lack the ability to follow the rules set by other adults. They may also develop a strong sense of entitlement and believe they can apply this behavior outside of the home.

Effects of Permissive Parenting

Permissive parents are typically more indulgent and don’t monitor or regulate their children’s behavior as closely. As a result, studies have linked children of permissive parents to having difficulty with self-control. That lack of self-control can lead to a variety of bad outcomes:

  • Worse academic performance. As any experienced parent knows, children need structure and discipline in order to thrive. Without clear boundaries and expectations, children can quickly become indulged and unfocused. This can lead to worse academic performance, as indulgent parents are less likely to demand that their children maintain good grades or meet other benchmarks. As a result, children of indulgent parents tend to have lower academic achievement overall.
  • Impulsive and aggressive behavior is often the result of permissive parenting. When parents do not control or regulate their children’s behavior, the limits of acceptable behavior are less clear. As a result, they may exhibit poorer impulse control and be more likely to resort to using aggression. Additionally, permissive parenting can lead to bad behavior in general. Children who are not disciplined or held accountable for their actions are more likely to act out in destructive ways.
  • Delinquency, substance abuse, and alcohol abuse. Permissive parenting is often associated with risks like delinquency, substance abuse, and alcohol abuse. This is because children who are raised in permissive households often lack boundaries and are more likely to engage in risky behaviors.

What to Do If You Are a Permissive Parent?

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If you’re used to being a permissive parent, it can be tough to switch to a more authoritative style. But it can be done! First, sit down and develop a list of basic household rules that everyone must follow. These should be rules that are important to you, and that will help keep your family safe and orderly. This would be a perfect opportunity to fill in the lack of boundaries. Next, it’s time to start following through on those rules. If someone breaks a rule, there should be a clear and consistent penalty for doing so. Next, make sure your kids understand the rules and the penalties for breaking them. Explain why the rules are important and why it’s essential that everyone follows them. Give them a sense of responsibility by having them choose the levels of penalties. Finally, positive reinforcement: rewarding good behavior will encourage your kids to stick to the rules.

Final Thoughts

If you’re finding that your permissive parenting style is leading to more bad behaviors in your child, it may be time to make a change. Switching to an authoritative parenting style can be difficult, but with a little effort, you can create a more orderly and structured household where good behavior is the norm. Have you made this switch in your own home? Let us know how it went in the comments below or on our social media pages. And don’t forget to share this post with fellow parents who might find it helpful!



I'm a Mom of two daughters, Freya and Ava. I love to share insights on how parents can be better parents. I write about topics that are relevant to me as a parent: things like parenting style, relationship, marriage, and balancing work and family.

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