What is Permissive Parenting? (Full Guide for Parents)

Blog Post about Permissive Parenting including all the information you need as parents.

Parenting a child could build or completely demolish his character for life, that’s when different parenting styles come into play.

Parenting styles can be different but using each one, the Parents have one goal in mind, to raise their kids the best. Some of the most popular parenting styles are;

All these Parenting styles affect the child differently.

Most of the parents who don’t show interest in following a specific parenting style also automatically follow any one of the above-mentioned styles.

Talking about the Permissive parenting it’s one of the earliest discovered parenting styles by Diana Baumrind.

It’s still one of the most widely used parenting methods.

What is Permissive Parenting?

Permissive Parenting, also known as Indulgent Parenting, is a style of parenting in which the Parents over-deliver and pampers the child, fulfilling his demands while surrendering themselves to the child.

This means that the parents would carry every load that the child puts on them and would be willing to sacrifice a lot more than usual just for their child’s desires.

Signs of Permissive Parenting.

Permissive parenting is pretty common these days. You might even find a similar environment to it in any of your relative’s house.

So how do you identify Permissive parenting?

Here are the features or characteristics that are found in Permissive parents;

Fulfilling every desire of the Child

The most common characteristic of Permissive parents is that they fulfill almost everything a child ever asks for.

Remember those kids in your school who on one day said ‘I really love this bike” and on the other day were cycling the same one?

Yeah, they had pretty permissive parents.

Although fulfilling the demands of the children is one of the basic responsibilities of a parent.

But in this case, we see more of an extreme state. T

his means they’d get their child everything he asks for, irrespective of if he has a need for it or they can afford it or not.

No Rules for the Child

Normally there’s always a set of rules for every family which all members tend to obey.

These rules aren’t really specific and are different for each family.

For example, the children aren’t allowed to play after 7 in the evening or nobody uses the phone during dinner.

But when we talk about permissive parents they don’t set any rules for their children.

Instead would change every rule or tradition just to comfort their child the most.

The Child is the boss of the house

Usually, the control of the house is in the parent’s hand and the children are the one who accepts their sayings.

But when it comes to Permissive parenting, you’d see the child being in charge.

Child showing anger being the boss of the house

This doesn’t necessarily mean that he orders what he wants to be done to his parents.

But rather he would cry, scream or be upset if the parents don’t meet his demands.

This way the child becomes the boss of the house and attains the control of the house indirectly and parents just lose the authority.

You never say “No” to your child

One of the most common practices for a permissive parent is that he doesn’t forbid his child from anything.

Parents would see their children eating junk food all the time, not sleeping on time or they could do anything bad and they still wouldn’t react strongly.

It’s not that parents are bothered by these unusual activities from their children, but it’s just that they don’t want to encounter their resistance over any subject.

You haven’t specified a routine for him

Hereby a routine, we mean how your child spends his full day.

In theory, there should be a good time of rest, sleep, play, and other activities after school.

But if you have no control over your child’s daily routine, you’re being permissive as a parent.

And in that case, the child would plan his day himself which he isn’t good at.

He might want to play all the time; he might want to delay homework for no reason etc. Hence he’d end up with an irregular distorted routine.

Ignoring the Child’s bad behavior

Every child in the world gathers plenty of bad habits or does activities that could possibly develop bad behavior in him.

The point turned right is by parents. Parents would guide the child and teach him discipline by telling him to stop.

A mother doing yoga ignores her daughters misbehave of jumping on the sofa near her.

But for permissive parents, they won’t even recognize his behavior going bad.

So for example, if the child shouts when he’s hungry, the parents would try being quicker to feed him instead of reacting to his act of misbehaving first.

No punishments for the child.

Slight punishments in early childhood stop the child from plenty of bad stuff.

It makes the child aware of the consequences if he misbehaves. But what if you don’t set any consequences for him at all?

Nothing would be there to restrain him and he would be limitless in whatever he wants to do.

That’s pretty much how permissively parents lose control over the child.

Valuing the child’s freedom over responsibility

The ideal point for parenting any child should be to provide him the freedom and hold him responsible, appropriately.

The balance between these two should never be distorted.

And when it comes to permissive parenting parents in the chase of freedom for the child never realizes him of his duties.

This results in the child feeling liberal enough to do anything he wants to along with the notion of not being accountable to anyone.

Use Materialistic things to bribe children.

A common practice by Permissive parents is that they bribe their children, offering them materialistic things, so they don’t misbehave.

This way they make their child follow their rules or obey them.

Parents not being able to discipline their kids in the right manner would try offering them material that excites them.

For example; their favorite toys, a promise to go on a picnic, etc.

This shows that the child isn’t in control of words anymore and you as Parents now have to rely on this bribery to make them obey you.

What Makes Parents Choose Permissive Parenting?

To understand the Permissive parenting in children we also need to look into why parents engage in it?

There must be some reasons why Parents go permissive when the results aren’t usually as good. Let’s dig out those reasons;

Parents had the opposite childhood experience.

Parents who had the most strict or neglectful parents try to oppose the same style with their own children.

They are so triggered by their own childhood experience that they want to give their child everything their parents failed to deliver.

For example; if they used to love ice cream, and were opposed by their parents when they ate too much of it, chances are they won’t ever forbid their own children to eat it.

Parents just don’t want any tension from the child.v

Another big reason why Parents adopt permissive parenting can be that they don’t want any stress from the child.

This is mostly the result of being both permissive and uninvolved as a parent.

Mostly the people who are much involved in their office workers are willing to fulfill any of the child’s desires just so he would stop bothering them.

These parents care about the short term peace of mind while impacting their child’s personality for his whole life.

Parents try to be a friend more than a Parent.

There are also parents would turn themselves permissive unconsciously with the intention of being a friend to their kid.

Although it sounds like a really positive thing, the problem arises when parents don’t take the appropriate steps for it.

They would lose their authority and respect as a parent while chasing more closeness with their child.

Effects of Permissive Parenting on the Child.

But is Permissive parenting always bad? Does it bring any positive changes to the child as well?

Let’s now have a look at the consequences of adopting this style of parenting which the child goes through.


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The Child feels more confident

It’s simple, permissive parenting unblocks the barriers between children and parents. This can result in the child being appreciated by his parents. This would ultimately build more confidence in him than other kids.

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The Child doesn’t hesitate around Parents

Parents being more involved would make the child be more frank towards them. This would make the child express his feelings, thoughts or share any problem without any hesitation. It can be a really beneficial behavior in the long run.

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The Child may develop some level of creativity

Permissive parents can also be given the credit of arousing creativity in the children. By not setting boundaries for the child, they are actually opening up the room for him to have diverse experiences and that has the potential of unleashing his creativity.


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The Child would oppose authority over him

When the child was treated with almost no control over him he would have been trained for that kind of treatment. So whenever any other authoritative person would order or impose something on him, he’d be opposing it. For example, when he grows up he might not be able to obey his boss at work.

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The Child won’t respect parents

Children targeted to permissive parenting will never truly learn to respect parents. This literally means they would speak loudly or show aggression to parents. This problem, if not addressed would rise till their adulthood and can completely destroy your relationship as parents with your child.

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Would go Aggressive Easily

For a child subjected to permissive parenting the easiest way to get something from his parents was to cry. And if they refuse he’d be aggressive towards them. This way anger has been embedded in his personality. As he gets to an adult’s level not having control of anger would raise some serious issues.

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Would be Selfish, Irresponsible, Undisciplined

Kids like these may not learn moral values properly. The softness they got from their parents would limit them to think about themselves only. Similarly, because they were always baby sited their whole life they’d be completely irresponsible and disorganized. This would make them unattractive for other people for the rest of their lives.

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No appropriate Social Skills

These kids would lack plenty of social skills which almost every other kid possesses naturally. For example, they may not be able to socialize with other kids of their age, or don’t have empathy or respect for others. Although it’s not the case always but most of the kids subjected to permissive parenting are rude and don’t know the appropriate manners.

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Child would resist following rules

Children who never had to follow any rules in their childhood would always be a weirdo towards rules for their whole life. Either being in school or working in an organization, there’d always be rules which they’d have to follow. And they’d be miserable towards that environment as they were never mentally shaped that way.

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Not strong enough emotionally

There are certain steps that must be taken in order to raise emotionally strong kids and permissive parenting doesn’t involve those. If you want your child not to be emotionally weak, you’d have to encourage them to face their fears and when it comes to indulgent parents, it’s not a common practice for them. In fact, they would distant their kids from any challenges and it’d make them delicate from inside.

ALSO READ: What if Your Toddler Throws Toys Instead of Playing?

Permissive Parenting Examples (Real Life Scenarios)

To better understand all this lets now move to some real-life scenarios you go through with your children;

1. When Your Child is Stubborn

Let’s say you went out to attend a gathering at your friend James’ house, along with your whole family.

As soon as you reach your James’ home your son George, who is 8-9 years old, starts playing with the toys of James’ children.

That’s all good until the time of going back home comes. George starts crying and asks you to take some of those toys home.

And you instead of explaining to him how it’s not possible, request your James to let you get those toys home and you promise to return them back.

This whole scene clearly showed how helpless you were as a Parent as you were willing to make the wrong choice just because your kid isn’t in control.

2. When Your Child Disobeys

Suppose you’re home completing your urgent office work on your Laptop.

Suddenly your daughter Susan came running towards you and grabbed the Laptop saying; “I want to watch cartoons”.

And although you mentioned her many times that you have some important work to complete, she’s not standing up from there.

Permissive Parents (mother) asking her daughter to let her work on the Laptop while the daughter cries.

And even if you snatch the Laptop away she starts crying.

After all, you gave up and he continued watching cartoons.

This portrays that he doesn’t really care for your orders and doesn’t care at all, even if you are mad at him for what he did.

3. When He Makes Decisions for You.

Let’s say you are coming home late at night after a picnic and suddenly your child asks for ice cream.

You refused politely saying; “It’s too late for ice cream. We have to get home now”.

The very next moment the child starts crying or screaming for ice cream and says he won’t stop until you say ‘Yes’ to it.

And you agreed to your child suddenly. This clearly shows that you weren’t the decision-maker at that time.

The child controls you and all of his efforts for it go into crying and screaming only.

How to Change Permissive Parenting?

It’s fine if you were imposing Permissive parenting on your child before.

You can change it almost anytime if you want to but the earlier, the better.

Here’s what you should be doing;

Declare it to your family

The very first for you to stop being a permissive parent should be to declare it openly.

Tell your family about it, including your kids as well, that you’ve found yourself being permissive towards your children.

Permissive Parents having a family discussion with their children about abandoning permissive parenting from now on.

And from now onwards you won’t be engaging in the same parenting manner.

Saying this openly to your child may be hard and he may not accept it completely.

However, doing this would help your child understand and go through the transition in an easier way.

Establish some rules and strictly follow them.

After announcing your decision clearly, the very first step of yours should be to establish some rules for home.

If you don’t set up some level of boundaries for your child, he’d continue his same old bad-mannered behavior.

Although these rules would be completely subjective some general rules can be; sleeping before 10 pm or taking care of hygiene routine etc.

These rules should not only be established but you should encourage and enforce them to your children.

Learn to say “No” to your child

You have been accepting every demand of your child from the past.

For them, the concept of asking for something has gone wrong. They don’t request for something any more, but rather think that they deserve it.

You would have to break this mix up. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to refuse anything they ask.

But you got to say “No” to meaningless things which aren’t a necessity for them and they’re still crying for.

Talk to your child about it.

There are multiple benefits of talking to your children and its way more important when you’re going through some process with them.

So in your case, you’re transitioning your parenting style to another. Thus you should sit and talk to your child about it.

It will engage the child into the whole process and he’d find himself a part of it.

For example, you can say things like; “Honey I am doing this for you and your future” or “I want your help in this” etc.

It’s a great way of encouraging your child and to make the process easy for you as well.

Ask him to think logically.

If you can make your child think a little more rationally, half of the problem would be automatically solved.

For example; whenever your child asks you to get something (which is meaningless in reality), just ask him to prove to you why it’s important for him, logically.

This way he’d not be able to defend his own point. Let’s say he asks for a new Laptop when he uses yours all the time.

Just ask him what’s the need for you to have a separate Laptop? This process would limit their senseless demands in front of you.

No higher Volumes in front of Parents

A mistake most of the permissive parents make is that they don’t consider their kids shouting in front of them disrespectfully.

You have to be strict when it comes to children yelling or shouting at you.

Permissive Parenting leading a child to scream in front of his dad while he's watching TV

This kind of behavior can lead him to lose control over his anger and flow aggression to a whole new level.

Set this thing as a general rule for him; that he’s not allowed to speak louder than Parents in any case.

Moreover, this would always keep you above your child in terms of having control.

Tell him the difference between Request and Order.

Discipline your child by educating him about the difference between an order and a request.

Tell him that no matter what; any saying from the child’s side should always be a request while it’s always ordered from the Parents side.

This would put the child on a humble spot and restrict him from thinking of an illusionary entitlement which he thinks of every time he demands something from his parents.

No Compromise on Your Respect

Being a Permissive parent you’ve always ignored the disrespect your child used to do.

You have to make it clear to your child that no matter what the situation is there should never be the time when he disrespects you.

He may disagree or disobey you in certain situations but when it comes down to your honor it should never be compromised.

Start Punishing when required (Appropriately)

Last but definitely not least; you have to warn the child of the consequences of his misbehaves.

Although this part might be the most difficult one as you’ve never punished him but it’s effective as it gives the child a reason to hold back.

Permissive dad finally punishing his stubborn and misbehaving child

Note that here punishment doesn’t necessarily mean hitting or spanking the child.

There are better ways of punishing your kid than hitting him which has been proven more effective.

For example, a really good way of punishing your misbehaving child is to take something away which he loves i.e. his favorite video game.

Important Things to Understand

The time it’d take to change your child’s behavior towards you would depend on how intensely have you been practicing the pampering behavior towards him.

In the whole process of you changing your parenting style, there would be massive resistance from your child.

You’d have to deal with it calmly as being equally aggressive would totally mess this up.

Your child is now addicted to being taken care of like nothing in this world. And all of a sudden you can’t pick your hands up and stop loving him.

You need to show and express his love throughout this transition and it’d play a vital role to help you build a strong relationship with your kid.

Children learn a lot more by observing then simply listening to their parents. So you’d need to be an exact copy of what you want your child to be like.

You can’t ask him to control his anger when you easily get mad over your own child’s doing.

READ MORE: Dealing with Grown Children Who Ignore their Parents 


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