For being so small, kids can be incredibly demanding and difficult to please.
Stop telling me what to do!
I’m not tired!
He took my toy!
I don’t want to eat that!
Give me another cookie!
As adults, we will often do whatever is necessary to avoid stressful confrontations in our everyday lives; with colleagues, with our friends, their friends or significant others, and in our own intimate relationships.
But when it comes to the relationship with your kids, confrontation and difficult decisions are unavoidable, and it can be even more difficult to navigate these rough waters.
What is a “Permissive Parent”?
Permissive Parenting — also known as “Indulgent Parenting” – is one of the four major parenting styles originally introduced by the developmental psychologist, Diana Baumrind.
Permissive parents prefer to indulge their children’s desires to better promote their creativity and expression.
In many cases the parents will forgo the necessity to discipline their children in favor of allowing them to express themselves and be happy.
Permissive parents may sometimes come from backgrounds of neglect, extreme-limitation, or absence and end up overcompensating for these shortcomings by trying to give their child everything.
For example, a child may yell loudly to get attention and instead of asking them to stop, the permissive would simply talk over them or ignore the annoying behavior.
Or when a child takes a toy from another kid, the permissive parent would probably not make them return it and make excuses for why it’s ok to do so instead.
Permissive parents avoid setting hard limits or expectations
It comes from a good place of wanting to give your child everything you can, but if there is no sense of limitation, children’s wants and desires can often get out of control.
The permissive parent will often allow their child to eat anything they want, buy them any toy they desire or continue to sacrifice their own time and responsibilities just to keep their children happy.
Some of these characteristics of this parenting style may include:
- The parent may shower the child in constant love and affection (which is good for them)
- There are very few limits and expectations regarding the child’s behavior and attitude
- During difficult situations, the parent may use bribes or bargains to appease the child’s wants
- The permissive parent may be afraid to be the “bad guy” so instead try to act like the “cool” mom or dad
- It may be difficult to say no and risk a tantrum or argument with the child
- The few rules that are set are often inconsistent and not well
- The parent may try to act like a friend more than a respectable authoritative figure
Permissive parenting can cause difficulty later in life
Permissive parents run the risk of hurting their child’s chance for strong will and character by overcompensating and allowing behavior that has extreme consequences.
A toddler’s wants are typically the exact opposite of what would be the most healthy and constructive choices for their growth.
The negative effects can often include:
- The child may lack self-control and willpower
- They may grow to have a bad temper or attitude when things are not entirely in their favor
- They may have problems learning to socialize with other children because they feel they are entitled to whatever they want
- It can cause insecurity and deficits in the child’s mental maturity and stability
- They may become overly impulsive and emotional
- Delayed cognitive development due to lack of consistency and stability is possible
- The child does not learn to cope with sadness or anger properly
- Happiness becomes harder to achieve because they are taught that it only comes from instant gratification
- The behavior issues get increasingly challenging with age
Saying “no” to your child is hard
Saying “no” to your child is not a good feeling because you don’t want to see them want for anything, or to ever go without.
However, it’s essential to understand the idea that setting limits and boundaries is not the same as withholding things from your kids.
Think about it as teaching important life lessons that may seem bad now but will make them into better people.
Saying “no” maintains a healthy parent-child respect
You want to be able to maintain the parent-child respect level so that you both are able to work together when things get tough.
You want your child to think they have the best parents in the world, but in order to truly be the best parent you can, you must teach your child how to do things for themselves and how to be a good person.
Nothing good in life comes easy, so the earlier they learn to work for and earn the things they want, the better off they are.
Here are some things you can do to adjust your permissive habits to make them more positive and constructive.
- Decide on a set of house rules. There should be a specific time for homework, for play time, for washing, and for bed. Make sure to enforce these times every day to create a schedule and to help your child establish a healthy routine.
- Enforce respect for you, as well as for others. Make sure they are using their manners when they talk to other children and to adults.
- Make sure that they are using appropriate volume levels depending on the situation.
- Establish trust with your kids and let them know that you will follow through with the things you say, good or bad.
- Instill healthy values in your children. Help them to appreciate the different qualities of life rather than just material items. Talk to them about the beauty in nature, the benefits of friendship and reliability, and value of time and hard work. They don’t know yet how to find happiness in the little things, help them learn.
- Remain cool, calm, and collected. If your child sees you getting worked up and upset then they will mirror your emotions and exaggerate them. When you are expressing your authority, do it clearly, and patiently. They will learn from seeing you handle stress well.
- Talk to your kids like adults. Explain to them why you are saying no! If it’s bedtime, tell them you don’t want them to be tired and cranky the next day, not that the sleep fairy is waiting to sprinkle sleepy dust on them. You may think they are too young to comprehend the reasons for your decision, but they completely absorb the things you tell them even when you think they’re not.
Only you can decide the right way to raise your children.
You know what is ultimately best when it comes to their specific needs, so make sure that you are exercising those decisions regardless of whether or not it is ok with your child.
They may eventually thank you for helping them to know what is the right thing to do, even when it isn’t the easiest thing to do.
Helping your kids learn these important lessons will also help you reinforce these kinds of character strengthening lessons within yourself. Each person has the opportunity to learn and grow into a better person. Make sure that you are keeping the growth process constant for you and your children so you can become the best people you are able to be.