Psychology of Parenting
Permissive Parenting – Why Is Indulgent Parenting Harmful to Your Child?

Permissive Parenting – Why Is Indulgent Parenting Harmful to Your Child?

Permissive parenting is a parenting style distinguished by minimal expectations and strong attentiveness. Permissive parents are often highly caring, yet they give little limits and regulations. These parents do not expect adult behaviour from their children and frequently appear to be more of a friend than a parent.

These parents are the polar opposite of what are known as “helicopter parents.” Permissive parents are extremely lax and seldom create or enforce any sort of rules or structure over their children’s every move, as opposed to hovering over their children’s every move. Their catchphrase is frequently “kids will be kids.” They are typically warm and caring, but they make little or no effort to control discipline their children.

Children raised by permissive parents struggle with self-regulation and self-control since there are few rules, expectations, and demands.

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Parenting Styles

You’re probably wondering who Diana Baumrind is. To put it simply, she is highly regarded in the psychology world, and one of her most well-known contributions to the subject was the discovery of four universal parenting styles. She developed this paradigm while doing research at the University of California in the 1960s, when she investigated how parenting styles are linked with children’s behaviour. She identified three unique parenting styles based on her study and observations: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive or indulgent. Later, negligent or uninvolved parenting would be added to her paradigm, bringing it to four. These four parenting styles continue to serve as the foundation.

parenting styles chart

What Exactly Is Permissive Parenting?

Permissive parenting, often known as indulgent parenting, is a parenting style that emphasizes attentiveness while being less demanding. Permissive-indulgent parents are well aware of their childrens emotional requirements. However, they do not set limitations and are inconsistent in enforcing them.

Examples of Permissive Parenting
Permissive parenting traits and instances are provided below.


Permissive parents are concerned about their children’s needs.

Parenting that is indulgent

Permissive, indulgent parents almost never say no to their children’s requests. Toys or food may also be used as bribes to encourage their children to behave.

Parents who are helpful

Permissive parents are too lenient and permissive. They despise having power and authority over their children. They do not supervise or direct their children’s behaviour. They follow relatively few norms and have very low standards of behaviour. There are regulations, but they are not regularly followed.

They treat their children more like peers or friends than as kids

Permissive parents want that their children regard them as friends rather than authoritative figures.

Children’s autonomy vs responsibility

Permissive parents give their children relatively little responsibility, such as housework or schoolwork.
Allow kids to make significant decisions that are normally reserved for adult guardians without supervision.

Examples Of Permissive Parenting

So, now that you have a fundamental understanding of what permissive parenting is (and does not include), let’s look at some instances, starting with the one you’ve probably heard the most.

“If you’ve ever heard a parent say, ‘I don’t say no to my child,’ that is a classic example of permissive parenting,” Lear said, adding, “A permissive parent would also let a child do activities more characteristic of younger children, such as drinking out of a bottle as a preschooler.” Permissive parents prefer to let their children determine when they are ready to undertake something on their own — or not do it — rather than directing the path.

Here are some additional lenient parenting examples, split down by age group:


If a child screams and/or tantrums when they do not get their way, the parent quickly offers them what they want.
Avoiding saying “no” to a kid out of fear of upsetting them
Lack of a regular bedtime or mealtime routine for babies/toddlers because they scream or become unhappy when parents try to keep to a timetable
The child learns from a young age that the family revolves around them and their desires and requirements.


Regardless matter what the parent wishes to watch, the child always has influence over what is on TV.
When a kid is finished playing, they are asked to tidy up their toys, but only if they want to (which will probably never happen)
There are no regulations about when and if a child should finish their homework.
Bribery is used to persuade a kid to perform what they are already required to do (like chores or homework)
If a parent informs a kid that they have done something wrong, there are never any concrete repercussions other than a verbal warning.
Allowing children to make their own judgments in situations where it is not suitable for their age.


Allowing a teenager and their pals to drink undeanger — under the supervision of the parent — because the parent considers their child to be a friend
Asking a kid for their input or entrusting them with crucial family choices
Not enforcing regulations, such as a curfew, so that an adolescent does not become upset or dispute with a parent.
Allowing a high school student to skip school if they so want

Permissive Parenting’s Effects

Permissive parenting is one of the worst of the four Baumrind parenting styles, according to child development specialists.

Permissive parents do not often supervise or manage their children. As a result, research has revealed that children of permissive parents struggle with self-control, which can lead to a range of negative outcomes.

  • Drop in academic performance – Parents who are unconcerned about their children’s academic performance do not keep track of them. As a result, their children have less self-control. Permissive parents don’t expect their children to perform or set a goal for them to aim for. According to studies, children with permissive parents have poorer academic attainment.
  • More rash and aggressive – Parents who are permissive do not control or manage their children’s behaviour. As a result, their children are less aware of the boundaries of appropriate behaviour. They also have poorer impulse control and more behavioural issues. When confronted with a stressful circumstance, they are more prone to turn to aggressiveness.
  • More likely to engage in delinquency, substance abuse, and alcohol abuse – Children with permissive parents are more likely to be connected with crime, substance misuse, and alcohol-related disorders, according to studies, since they have poor impulse control.
  • Less capable of self-regulation – We are not born with the ability to regulate our emotions. It is a talent that must be mastered. Children of permissive parents have more difficulty self-regulating since they are allowed to control their own activities, behaviour, and emotions from an early age.
  • Worse social abilities – According to studies, children raised by permissive, disengaged parents have less empathy, which leads to poor social skills. They are more likely to engage in anti-social behaviour.
  • Overweight is more likely. – Permissive parents do not control their children’s eating habits. When compared to children raised by authoritative parents, these childrens are twice as likely to be overweight.

Permissive Vs. Uninvolved Parenting

Uninvolved parenting, sometimes known as negligent parenting, is similar to permissive parenting in that children are frequently permitted to make their own decisions. Permissive parents are warm and caring toward their children, but uninvolved parents are not.

This parenting style takes the “laissez-faire” approach to its logical conclusion: children are not given many rules or guidelines. Because their parents are so hands-off with their children, those kids effectively raise themselves. So, while uninvolved parents demand little from their children, it isn’t all fun and games for the kids.

Do You Consider Yourself a Permissive Parent?

You could be a lenient parent if you meet any of the criteria in the Permissive Parenting Examples above.
You might not.

The devil is in the particulars.

On the surface, authoritarian and permissive parenting styles appear to be comparable when it comes to child-rearing.

They are both warm and sensitive, and they provide childrens with a great deal of freedom and autonomy.

As a result, authoritarian parents frequently criticize authoritative parents for being lenient.

Even while the two parenting methods have certain parallels, they also have slight distinctions.

Permissive Parenting Characteristics

  • Parents should always answer yes to their children’s requests.
  • They dislike having authority over their children. They do not supervise or direct their children’s behaviour.
  • Have minimal behavioural rules and standards. There are regulations, but they are not regularly followed.
  • Allow childrens to make significant decisions that are normally reserved for adult guardians without supervision.
  • They give their children very little responsibility.

Authoritative Parenting Characteristics

  • When their children’s demands are reasonable, they should say yes.
  • They dislike having control over their children, yet they watch and steer their behaviour.
  • Establish some ground rules and behavioural expectations. They are strictly enforced.
  • Allow children to participate in significant decision-making with supervision.
  • Give their children a reasonable level of responsibility.

What To Do If You Are A Permissive Parent

Permissive parenting can result in a variety of negative effects on children.

Here are some ways to help you get things back on track.

Declare it

Inform your children (as well as your spouse or co-parent) that you will be adopting an authoritative parenting style from now on. Assure them that you will continue to be kind and sensitive to their needs, but that there will be rules and limitations that you will enforce.

Include children in the decision-making process.

Hold a family gathering to determine which rules are required. Inquire about their thoughts and weigh the benefits and drawbacks. However, you have the last say.

Determine the ramifications of rule violations.

There must be clear and appropriate repercussions for children who disobey the rules. Keep in mind that natural consequences can be used to discipline (not to punish).

Carry it out

This is where many permissive parents fail when attempting to break their lenient behaviours. If you are accustomed to being the “nice” parent, it might be difficult not just for your children but also for you.

That is another reason why adopting natural consequences is critical. You don’t have to be cruel or the “bad” person. You are just modelling new behaviour for your children by allowing them to experience the inevitable consequence. The objective is to educate rather than punish.

Remember that consistency is one of the most important aspects of authoritative parenting for achieving the greatest results in your children’s upbringing.

The Antithesis of Permissive Parenting

Some parents who are afraid of the consequences of lax parenting will go to any length to avoid it.

Don’t, however, overcompensate.

Because permissive parenting is responsive and non-demanding, some parents feel that the inverse, i.e. not responsive and overly demanding, is preferable.

It is not the case.

Because if this occurs, you have become an authoritarian parent, which might result in a similar set of negative results in your children.

What If One Parent Is Permissive

Consider yourself fortunate if you and your significant other are always on the same parenting page! However, if you believe you have a different parenting style than your spouse, it is perfectly fine as well. In fact, for many of us, that probably sounds about right.

It’s OK for parents to have diverse parenting styles – opposites attract. Permissive parents can educate their more authoritarian counterparts to tap into the loving, caring aspect of themselves that more authoritarian parents may lack. An authoritative or authoritarian parent may assist a permissive parent in establishing strong, clear limits that will not only influence a kid’s behaviour but also provide a healthy environment for the child.

Eventually, you’ll have to get more comfortable with keeping the lines of communication open.

If one parent is permissive and the other is not, it is critical to find a method to agree on how you will respond to various problems that arise. Consistency is a vital aspect of parenting, and it is critical for parents to work together to reach a point of compromise and balance between their various parenting approaches.

Of course, if you and your partner are on the same parenting page, but it is one of the more problematic parenting styles, you should certainly address it as well. To begin, take a long, honest look at your own behaviour.

Permissive Parenting Pitfalls

Permissive parenting may lead to a variety of issues, so it’s important to actively strive to use a more authoritative approach if you notice these symptoms in your own parenting.

If you are a more lenient parent, consider how you can assist your children to grasp your expectations and standards while still being consistent in your enforcement of these regulations. You can guarantee that your children grow up with the skills they need to thrive in life by providing them with the proper combination of structure and support.

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