“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
― James Baldwin
Every parent has their own parenting style. They have their reasons for approaching parenting the way they do. One thing that appears to be common among parents is the puzzled look when things do not turn out the way they would want, like when children adopt a complacent attitude.
Previously, we have covered the concept of parenting styles. Today we are going to explore how permissive parenting style is likely to affect children. Here, In this parenting style, even when parents have a friendly relationship with their children, there is little to no emphasis on rules and discipline.
Possible effects of permissive parenting style on children
A book by Aarti C Rajaratnam and Brinda Jayaraman, Parenting Innocence to InnerSense, explains the impact of permissive parenting style on children based on Dr Diana Baumrind’s longitudinal study. The authors of this book have tried to contextualise this research to Indian families.
Probable characteristics of children from permissive background:
Obstinacy: As the child grows up, parents begin to notice that their children’s tantrums are increasing in a steady manner. They may notice that they are oblivious to the situation and use tantrums to meet their goals. For example: “I will not eat food until you get me a new toy”.
Difficulty facing disappointments: As permissive parents rarely allow their children to feel disappointment as a result of catering to their wishes, children later have difficulty facing disappointments such as not getting the desired seat at the movie theatre, not getting through their desired college or university, etc.
Self-centred nature: In a permissive environment, the child is at the centre of attention and every request of the child is likely to be catered to. Children from such backgrounds may find it difficult to perceive the difficulties that their parents and other family members face while running a house. For example: A tired parent making another dish because the child would not eat what was served in the first place.
Difficulty taking responsibility: Since permissive backgrounds rarely allow children to take responsibility as a result of parents doing everything for the child, they may not be used to taking responsibility regularly. This is likely to impact them in the future when they have to fend for themselves.
May create interpersonal problems: Children from permissive backgrounds are likely to believe that they are special and that their demands must be met by others around them. They may seek friends who give them undue importance or act as subordinates instead of peers. This is likely to cause interpersonal concerns later as children find it difficult to foster a long-lasting, trusted friendship.
If you recognise any of these characteristics developing in your child, you can take measures to change your approach by setting clear boundaries, establishing a routine, stay consistent, and above all, do not be too hard on yourself. Sit with your spouse and other trusted family members to come up with a plan. It will help you voice your concerns and create a supportive environment for the plan to work. Here are some self assessment questions that every parents need to ask themselves.
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Parenting: Innocence to InnerSense. (n.d.). (n.p.): Notion Press.
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