Can Permissive Parenting Hurt Your Child?

Updated March 13, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC

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If you're raising a child, then one of the most important things that you're probably thinking about is whether or not you're doing it right. Right? You always worry that you're making the wrong decision when it comes to something or other about your child and your parenting style. But how do you know? It's difficult to look at things objectively and decide whether you're on the right track or making mistakes, but understanding your parenting style can help you with that. Looking at permissive parenting is going to be our first step.

What Is Permissive Parenting?

Permissive parenting is pretty much what you would expect. It means that you place very low demands on your child. You tend to give them very few rules and very few guidelines. There are very few consequences to actions because there aren't many rules that guide what type of actions the child should or shouldn't engage in. The child is mostly left to their own devices to do whatever they may or may not want. If that means getting into things and making a mess or not doing the chores they were asked to help out with, the permissive parent lets it slide.

These types of parents are viewed as 'the friend' rather than the parent. Children will feel like they are very loved and cared for but don't feel like they have a parent helping them. Instead, they have a friend who wants to spend time with them and have fun but doesn't instill a sense of right and wrong or a sense of mature behavior. The parent lets them get away with a lot of things.

There is little control or discipline of any kind with permissive parenting, and the parent tends just to let the child go with whatever they want to do. 'Kids will be kids' is the motto of their life, and they sit back and let their kids run them ragged. They may seem to have a very close relationship with their child, but this is not the type of healthy relationship that needs to exist between a parent and child if they grow up to be healthy and happy adults later in life.

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Parents tend to bribe their children to get good behavior rather than using rules and consequences. Toys, gifts, and even food may be given as a type of bribe. Children may be given a great deal of freedom but very little responsibility because they believe that they should be left to their own devices and allowed to be kids as much as possible. It is very little in the way of a schedule or any form of structure in the household, and children are even included in major (adult) decisions.

The Pros Of Permissive Parenting

There are always benefits to each type of parenting style, and with this parenting technique, the benefit is a close relationship between the parent and the child. The child feels loved, and they feel like their parent is their friend, which means that they are open and honest in most cases. These children also can explore the world around them and be more daring than some of their peers. They may feel freer to express themselves and try new things and likely won't be afraid of getting out there and doing something different.

The Problem With Permissive Parenting

On the other hand, there are some drawbacks to this type of parenting, which is important. Permissive parenting leads children to have very little self-control and self-regulation. Because they have never had rules, guidelines, or consequences for breaking the rules, they have difficulty learning how to settle down, when to settle down, listen to authority figures, and even how to step back from a situation that could be potentially dangerous or reckless. They tend to be more thrill-seeking and get into more situations than they know how to handle.

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Children tend to have low levels of achievement because they have no goals to achieve. In other parenting styles, the parents may require the child to get certain grades or show at least a level of effort, but this is rarely the case in permissive parenting. The child may have lower success in school, and other areas no push to succeed.

Because there are few rules and the rules are not enforced, the child may have difficulty understanding boundaries, learning how to solve problems, or learning how to make decisions independently. They may get in trouble as they get older because they don't understand the rules or the consequences of breaking them.

Because permissive parenting often means the child does not need to worry about being told no, it's likely that these children will be more aggressive and have less emotional self-regulation than other children. This occurs because the answer is not always going to be yes in other areas of their life, and the child has not learned to cope with these experiences.

Once again, few rules and lack of enforcement can lead these children to engage in dangerous and risky behaviors that could include crime, substance abuse, and alcohol. They may also never really learn how to manage their time or follow good habits because they don't understand the consequences of these decisions. Research tends to show that some problems can occur from this parenting technique.

Because the child is treated as more of a friend and their behavior is allowed, no matter what type of behavior it may be, the child doesn't learn the positive skills they need. In most family environments, the child learns rules, structure, consequences, and good habits alongside being given love and support, but these things do not coexist in a permissive parenting style.

Improving Your Parenting Style

If you are engaging in a permissive parenting style, you must look for alternatives that could be better suited to your needs and the needs of your child. Permissive parenting can lead to many unhealthy traits and futures for your child, and that's not what you want. You and every other parent out there want their child to grow up healthy, happy, and well-adjusted, and that means providing a parenting technique that works for everyone involved.

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Permissive parenting has been shown to have some drawbacks and very few positives that will counteract those drawbacks. That's why it's important to work with a professional to find out more about what parenting styles work for you and which are going to work well for your child. If you are still expecting or if your child is still very young, it can be easier for them for you to make the change, but it can still be difficult for you, which is why it's important to get some help right away.

If your child is a little older, you may need to get them professional help to understand the changes that are going to take place and learn how to work through them constructively. It may not seem important to get therapeutic help when you're looking at changing your parenting style, but it's a very important thing for you and the rest of your family. You will be going through changes designed to make you a better parent to your child, and that's going to involve making changes to who you are. A therapist is the one who is best suited to help you with this type of change.

Regain Can Help

Regain is one way to start reaching out to someone and find a therapist that you can feel comfortable working with. Usually, you are limited to the therapist you can work with because you have to choose someone near your home or work. With ReGain, you don't have to worry about that because you can find a therapist online. That therapist may be located anywhere in the country, but through the power of the internet, you'll still be able to connect with them and get the help that you're looking for.

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With this process, you can find someone from a much longer list of possibilities. You'll also be able to communicate with them no matter where you are. If you head off on vacation or a business trip, you can still make your appointments (or set up new ones). If you have bad weather and can't get out on the roads, it doesn't matter because you can still make the appointment. Making things more convenient for you and more comfortable is two of the biggest advantages of talking with a therapist online. You'll be where you're most comfortable, and you'll be getting the help you need most.


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