How Does Permissive Parenting Style Affects Children?
With emphasis often placed on the need for parents to give their children avenues to express their own views and identities, the permissive parenting style is frequently adopted by parents attempting to maintain these freedoms for their children. However, this manner of parenting has been proven to be counterproductive to raising free-thinking children—here is a comprehensive explanation of what it is, why it may be the wrong way to parent, and what alternatives you can turn to.
What is Permissive Parenting👪?
The idea behind permissive parenting is for parents to treat their children as their equals—as young individuals who must be given the freedom to make their own decisions and live their lives according to their own choices, while still being mentally, emotionally and physically cared for.
The most important element of the permissive parenting style is that parents give their children freedom to do whatever they want. This means that household rules (such as curfews, limits on TV or device time, set mealtimes, and so on) are kept to a bare minimum, to ensure that children are not limited in the things that they want to do.
Another facet of permissive parenting is allowing children the freedom from having to do anything they do not want to. Thus, these parents avoid giving their children household chores or other responsibilities that may get in the way of their being able to spend their time however they want to.
Permissive parents give their children more or less free reign over decision-making, choosing not to interfere with the decisions that their children take regarding their own lives.
👉High Levels of Support
Permissive parenting retains the element of supportiveness that most traditional forms of parenting include. It involves parents being readily available to their children, and highly responsive to their physical, mental and emotional needs.
The Negative Effects of Permissive Parenting
While the principle behind permissive parenting—freedom—is a very important part of good parenting, this method tends to take the idea of freedom too far, resulting in negative outcomes.
👉Low Academic Achievement
In the majority of cases, the lack of responsibilities and expectations for children of permissive parents results in a tendency towards low levels of academic performance. Because they are not taught to value their education, and likely face no consequences from performing badly as they grow up, they lack the incentive to motivate themselves academically.
👉High Chances of Engagement with Dangerous Activities
As a result of the lack of rules in their childhood and teen years, these children are likely to fall into habits such as substance abuse and other behaviour that may be detrimental to themselves and to others. Again, due to a lack of consequences and discipline in their growing years, they end up with an incomplete awareness of the consequences of any such dangerous activities.
👉Lack of Responsibility
Having a lack of responsibilities as a growing child will tend to carry over into adulthood—children of permissive parents are generally irresponsible for their own day-to-day affairs, because they are likely unused to taking responsibility for themselves. In the workspace and in higher education institutions, this can once again translate into low-quality performance, as they do not have the habit of taking personal responsibility for their own work.
👉Lack of Independence
Unused to doing things for themselves, these children develop an unhealthy dependence on the people around them, needing others to take care of most of their basic needs. Having parents who freely give their support but do not set any expectations and responsibilities for them to fulfil, gives them no opportunities to learn how to do things for themselves.
👉Lack of Emotional Maturity
As they grow up used to getting their own way in any situation, children of permissive parents may develop negative character traits like selfishness, self-centeredness and demanding attitudes. Essential values like empathy, sensitivity and compromise are not fostered as they grow up, and this results in a lack of emotional maturity as they become adults.
A Good Alternative: Authoritative Parenting
The authoritative parenting style is often cited as the most successful method of parenting to raise healthy, responsible and independent children. It involves setting expectations for your children and holding them accountable for them, while ensuring that your expectations are reasonable and that you’re always available to provide them with sufficient support. Fostering discipline by maintaining clear rules and responsibilities for your children helps them develop a habit of self-regulation over time—they are able to take care of themselves and keep themselves in check.
As authoritative parents, you should also encourage independence, in appropriately increasing levels over time. This means discerning the right levels of freedom you should allow your children at different ages, in order to achieve a balance between discipline and safety, and a healthy amount of self-determination.
Like permissive parents, authoritative parents should always be mentally and emotionally supportive. This is easiest when you have built a habit of healthy communication with your children; a relationship where you are able to share your expectations and rules clearly, and they are simultaneously able to open up to you about the issues they face, as well as the successes and failures they can learn from.
When it comes to raising children, balance is always key! Freedom and regulation must go hand-in-hand in the attempt to raise children to be independent and free-thinking, but personally and socially responsible at the same time.