Have you ever known a family where the child got everything they wanted and there was little to no discipline? This type of parenting is visible from birth - where the baby literally takes over the parents life and what baby wants, baby gets, up to the teen years where the parents literally have absolutely no control over their teenagers life. This type of parent has literally given complete control of the household to the children in their home. Some examples of Permissive Parenting situations are as follows:
- Mom makes pancakes for breakfast, Annie doesn't want pancakes so she cries, screams, throws the food on the floor or silently refuses to eat the pancakes. Mom then begs and pleads with Annie to please eat the pancakes, to which the child still refuses to do and so mom asks Annie what she would like to eat for breakfast, Annie says french toast and even though there is a perfectly fine breakfast of pancakes on the table mom makes french toast for Annie
- Annie makes a huge mess in the living room, mom tells her to clean up, Annie doesn't want to so she doesn't so mom cleans the mess because it is just easier for her to clean than to fight with her daughter over the mess.
- At bedtime Annie refuses to go to bed and it is a constant battle every night to keep Annie in her bed and go to sleep peacefully and before she can go to sleep she must have her blanket, a bedtime story, a drink of water, her special blanket, her bed made a certain way, etc etc and mom and dad accomodate all of her demands because otherwise she just won't go to sleep.
- Believe that the power that they have comes from the power that their child gives them
- They believe that their child is capable of directing their own life
- They use very little discipline
- They believe that what their child wants is very reasonable
- Avoid establishing AND maintaining control
- They make excuses to others for why their child's behavior is acceptable
- They are "martyrs" and often ask advice from others on how to be better with their kids - but don't follow through on the advice and eventually their friends and family members no longer want to be around them.
Permissive parents eventually blow up at their kids because they can't handle all of the demands the child is putting on the parents and therefore they become more controlling, but because it is too hard to maintain that control and therefore they go right back to giving in to their child's demands.
Permissive parenting is in my opinion the lazy way to parent. These parents don't want to take the time or the energy to discipline their kids because it is inconvenient for them, or they are too busy trying to be their kids best friend, or they are too involved in their own life and wants to put their kids needs above their own. Often times these parents just don't want to be the bad guy, but because they are not teaching their kids that life is full of disappointments and it isn't always fun and games they are actually becoming the bad guy.
We all know someone who is a permissive parent, I personally know several of them, the question is are you a permissive parent? If you are still unsure if this is you test yourself: do not do anything different with your kids than you normally do throughout the day and as you interact with your child watch how you react to their demands and watch how they react to your demands - do you find yourself giving in to their demands more than they are giving in to yours. Still unsure? Ask someone close to you who you can trust to be honest with you and ask their opinion or leave a comment and tell me about your day to day life with your kids and I will help you.