Permissive Parenting Style

By Stephen Walton © 2012

What's It All About... and... What Are its Effects?

The Permissive Parenting Style is an extremely relaxed approach where parents are generally warm, nurturing and affectionate. However, they are overly accepting of their children's behaviour, good or bad.

Turning a blind eye with Permissive Parenting

They feel their children are capable of making their own decisions with little parental guidance.

Few if any demands, rules or restrictions are placed on children, and parents attempt to avoid arguments at all cost.

They often use bribery as a means of controlling their children. Treats, toys, or gifts are provided as a discipline approach.

Diana Baumrind's study based on the two dimensions of "Parental Responsiveness" and "Parental Demandingness," conclude that:

The Permissive Parenting Style is "Too Soft". It is characterized by high responsiveness (the nurturing aspect of the child) and low demandingness (control over the child).

The parent is overly responsive to the child's demands, seldom enforcing consistent rules and often leads to rearing a spoiled child.

Parents can easily be manipulated and controlled by their children.

Effects of The Permissive Parenting Style

Following are a few of the possible effects of this style of parenting

  • Tend to develop a lack of self-discipline
  • Often become self-centered and demanding
  • Have a tendency to clash with authority
  • Tend to be aggressive and act out
  • Underage drinking due to lack of rules

Why Some Parents Use This Parenting Approach

The reasons for the "Permissive Parenting style" vary widely.

Some parents themselves, were raised by authoritarian parents that were overly controlling and take extremely opposing measures in raising their own children.

Some just have an exceptionally laid back attitude and take a haphazard approach to parenting. Structure is not high on their list of importance. They feel any form of discipline or laying down rules and restrictions will only upset the apple cart, so why bother, let them do as they please.

Others feel they want to be more like a friend than a parent and think parental controls and discipline measures will hinder that relationship.

The Positive Parenting Centre's Perspective

The warm and affectionate aspect of the permissive parenting style is inspiring and should be modelled by more parents.

Of course the downside of this parenting style is a lack of specific guidelines and rules of conduct.

In some cases this parenting style would be welcomed by a child or adolescent as it portrays a sense of freedom and independence; however, for the most part, children (not always realizing it) actually crave structure through rules and specific boundaries. It makes them feel loved and provides a sense of security.

Specific rules need to be in place for children to understand the basic principle of cause and effect. They need to understand that all their decisions and actions in life, good or bad have relative consequences.

You must teach your children at an early age how society is structured on rules and regulations. The sooner they understand this the easier their transition through each stage of life's journey.

It is wonderful to be a friend to your child and it should be encouraged, but they need to understand you are still the parent and the buck stops with you. In order to create harmony, a structured approach with specific guidelines and rules of conduct must be respected by all members of the family.

Developing Your Own Parenting Style

If you have not yet read our condensed definitions of the other parenting styles, we strongly suggest you read them prior to attempting to define your own parenting style.

The following link options will guide you in your journey


    Go To:

Go Straight To: "Positive Parenting"

"The Positive Parenting Centre" Home Page

For references in the above article go to:

"Our Article Reference Page"

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