OK, I admit that it may be an exaggeration to say that if you are a permissive parent you are hurting your children, but there are problems associated with being the parent who doesn’t discipline and doesn’t set limits or consequences.
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Following are 9 problem areas that can crop up when “Permissive Parents” don’t set limits. See if you can identify your parenting style with any of them.
1. Permissive parents let the children dictate the rules.
Seriously, the child does not need to see the R-rated movie when they’re only 14; or they don’t need to stay up late on a school night; or they don’t need a curfew later than is age appropriate. These can be harmful to a child who needs help with setting limits.
2. Permissive parents feel the rights of children trump the rights of adults.
You’ve seen me blog on this. These are the kids whose parents let them run all around in the nice restaurant because they haven’t been taught good behavior. This, in my opinion, is where the parents (not the children) need a consequence. Can we send our dinner tab to their table since their rowdy children disrupted our dinner out?
3. Permissive parents are overprotective.
If mom and dad overprotect their child from the inevitable life lessons that sadness and disappointment bring, then a child begins to fear failure. They might avoid taking risks because they don’t believe they can emotionally handle a possible poor outcome.
4. Permissive parents don’t encourage self-denial.
I equate self-denial to self-discipline. Think of how a lack of self-discipline can set a child up for failure. This becomes more evident as children get older with more responsibilities. They need to be able to tell themselves…No, I can’t afford that new car, or cell phone, or designer purse just now; or No, I can’t go out with friends until my homework is done.
5. Permissive parents give children everything they want.
Yes, you can be happy in the face of disappointment or when you don’t get everything you want. How do children learn this? By not giving them everything their little hearts desire. Allow them to emotionally process this denial. They will either cope or fall apart. But this is where you, the parents, pick them up, dust off their behind, and push them back in to the fray.
6. Permissive parents hinder their children’s emotional development.
Feelings such as anger, sadness and disappointment are to be expected in life. When parents shield their children from the difficult emotions of life, children are less likely to develop strong self-love. They are unable to accept themselves; flaws, bad moods and all.
7. Permissive parents don’t take the necessary steps to keep their children safe.
Children need you to set limits, set curfews, and make the rules. These are all intended to keep your children safe. Parents need to cover their children with the safety net of structure and good sense.
8. Permissive parents ignore their own needs, to accommodate their children.
Do you allow your child to disrespect you? Do you give in to their demands and buy them things you know they don’t need, even when those purchases will tax the family finances? Children need a parent, not a peer. It’s your job as parents to make the “grown-up” decisions.
9. Permissive parents risk losing the respect of their children.
For example, if you allow your children to talk back to you and disrespect you, this can lead to ill will. It’s only natural for the parent to feel angry and resentful of being treated this way and will strain your relationship. You don’t want that, and I’m certain that on some level, your child doesn’t either.
In summary, a child wants and needs to feel safe. It’s your job as a parent to set the limits and consequences that weave the safety net. To discipline your children is to love them. Discipline with love, empathy and kindness then pat yourself on the back for providing your children with the safety and security they crave.