Parenting is getting tougher with the changing times. Kids of these days are never like the kids of a few decades back. Therefore to parent their kids in a successful way, growing number of parents is looking for expert guidance.
Often many parents complain, “I give everything my child loves to be happy, but he hates me!” Like this class of parents if you feel giving everything your child wants is the way to enter the good books of your kid, you are mistaken. Quite a many child psychology warn against this approach to rearing children.
Here we discuss permissive parenting and explore the pros and cons of this approach to dealing with growing kids. In the process, we also get to know what child psychologists have got to say on this.
What leads to permissive parenting?
Often permissive parenting (also understood as non-intervening parenting) is not a voluntary choice. Many parents resort to this method under compulsion (external or internal) or due to incapacity to handle the challenges in parenting. Here are the most common causes that give way to permissive parenting or non-intervention when the kids really need their intervention.
Some parents are afraid of not being loved by their kids. They cultivate a pleasing strategy compelled by their own need to be needed. They feel they may not be loved unless they give endlessly.
Some parents might experience the fear of being restricted and losing freedom. Some other parents might not personally like the idea of authority, norms, systems and rules. This kid of aversion might be extended on to the child for the fear of restricting the child.
In some cases, the parents fear losing their peace of mind and inner stability. Therefore they wish to keep the situation under manageable levels by giving in rather than disrupting the family harmony. This tendency encourages the child to walk all over the parent.
Are you a permissive parent?
Many parents assume permissive parents are those who do not lay down any rules, curfews, manners and dress codes to their kids. Truly speaking, these are not the only aspects of permissive parenting. You might be surprised to know that you can belong to the category of permissive parents even if you think you are doing everything right with your kids.
Leonard Sax, MD, PhD, a parenting expert and the author of Girls on the Edge and Boys Adrift, states, “Many parents today misunderstand their role”. He adds, “They often see their role as making sure the son or daughter gets into a top college and protecting the son or daughter from disappointment. They are there, providing the safety net in situations where it might be wiser to let the kid experience the consequences.”
Here are eight signs to tell you if you are a permissive parent:
- Accepting as many desires of your child as possible and trying to fulfill them putting in your best
- Having a very less number of behavioral expectations from your kid or failing to introduce some behavioral standards for the child to meet
- Implementing a flat hierarchy in the family and encouraging your child to have a say in the matters related to family
- Viewing the parent’s role more as a resource to the children than a model to emulate
- Not intervening through overt control when the child breaches a rule assuming that the child has to learn through personal experience
- Believing in the system of bribes to manipulate the child
- Going to any length to see that the child is not upset
- Withdrawing from the child being unaffected or unconcerned about the child’s ways
The consequences of permissive parenting
The consequences of permissive parenting can often be alarming and highly challenging to deal with. Here are the most common results of permissive parents reported by parents resorting to this technique.
- A demanding kid without any sense of respect
- Immunity to others needs and wants
- Heights of selfishness and self-centeredness
- Expecting others to take the responsibility and do the odds
- Always wanting more without any sense of contentment
- Anger, avoidance, depression and inappropriate behavior
- Complains that he or she is unloved
- Alcoholism and addiction to drugs and junk food
- Neglecting all safety measures
Making the kids vulnerable to most kinds of undesirable behavior and unhealthy attitudes, permissive parenting can falsify your expectations in the long run.
How do most permissive parents feel?
It is very late that most permissive parents realize that what they felt easier in the short run had actually turned impractical and unwise in the long run. Here are the most common statements we often hear from permissive parents.
- I am used, tricked and trapped by my kid
- My kid is angry with me and often shuts me out
- I am dejected, frustrated and resentful
- Parenting has become a burden which I cannot manage
- I have failed as a parent
The dreaded effects of permissive parenting
Permissive parenting has only succeeded in producing a generation of children licensed to follow their whims and fancies. Since their parents have failed to show them the consequences of unacceptable behavior, these kids assume they can succeed in life with mediocre effort.
Despite the best efforts by their parents to keep them happy in all possible ways, they develop a strong dislike for their parents as nothing can satisfy them anymore. Thus we are giving way for self-centered and irresponsible children to develop.
Kids of permissive parents are seen turning selfish and bossy. Since they are not protected under the safe umbrella of parental control, they have failed to learn how to respect others. When parents are wavering minded and scared of conflicts, the kids turn bossy and dominating as they are in the process of searching for boundaries or limits.
Absence of elderly authority, routines and predictability and lack of limits makes the kids of permissive parents feel insecure. Since the whole world is open in front of them for experimentation, they are aroused into impulsive and problematic behavior including substance abuse. Their academic performance automatically comes down when compared to the children of authoritarian parents.
What experts say about permissive parenting?
Susan Newman, a renowned parenting psychologist says, “Parents tend to think of the word “no” as a negative, having all sorts of harmful ramifications – including running a parent’s guilt meter high. But, the truth is, constantly caving into our children’s wants, is the real culprit for harm.”
Talking of the advantages of authoritative parenting, Susan Newman says, “The parents that are going to have the least trouble with their children, are the parents that are authoritative. They set boundaries; they have discipline rules in play; and stick to them and so parenting is a lot easier, and children respond better. For example, bedtime is bedtime, or snack time happens at x time, and that’s it. This makes parents the parent and not the child’s friend”.
How to deal with the issue?
Most child psychologists and parenting experts agree with the view that permissive parenting is not about lack of control, rather it is about failing to intervene when the child requires it. Here the term intervening can mean many things including your presence, setting limits, introducing routines and many others. It is not about controlling and bossing over the children.
When the child is angry, what it needs is not limits or disciplining efforts, rather the need of the hour is the parental presence or unconditional acceptance. At times when the child is restless, what is needed is a predictable pattern like routine. Every parent must understand that discipline efforts are not the universal answer to all kinds of conflicts and there is no single answer to what kind of intervention is needed during a given situation. The parent must do the necessary homework to ascertain the right strategy for any given situation.
Expert parenting tips for more responsible parenting
- If you learn how to really love yourself and your children, parenting can be a fun and highly fulfilling experience in life.
- Value your well-being more than valuing what your kids feel about you. If you feel creating a goody picture of you in your child is more important, you tend to give in and yield to your child’s pressures ultimately turning into a permissive parent
- Decide that you will take responsibility for yourself, your self-worth, inner peace and safety. This approach will let you learn how to set appropriate limits when the child is over demanding or treats you with disrespect.
- Being a permissive parent does not mean you love your child the most. If you wish to escape being a permissive parent and learn more effective ways of parenting read some good parenting books and attend some parenting classes.
- If you are wondering what is lacking in the children of today and what the best strategy to deal with the kids of these days is, this is a must watch video. It has several expert insights on effective parenting and sure remedies for permissive parenting. It shows the power of Vitamin N:
So what is you parenting style like?