Understanding Permissive Parenting: Definition, Examples, and Its Effects on Children

May 17, 2023

Parenting is one of the most challenging and rewarding journeys that anyone can embark on. It is a journey that requires patience, determination, and a lot of love. However, there are different approaches to parenting, each with its own set of benefits and challenges. Permissive parenting is one such approach that has been gaining popularity in recent years.

What is Permissive Parenting?

Permissive parenting is a style of parenting where parents have very few demands or expectations from their children. Instead of setting clear rules and boundaries, permissive parents prefer to let their children do as they please. They tend to be lenient and indulgent, allowing their children to make their own decisions without much guidance or intervention.

Permissive parenting is often contrasted with authoritative parenting, which is a more structured and demanding approach to parenting. Authoritative parents set clear rules and expectations for their children but also provide warmth and support. They offer guidance and discipline when needed while still allowing their children some freedom to explore and learn from their experiences.

Examples of Permissive Parenting

Permissive parenting can manifest itself in different ways, depending on the parent’s personality, culture, and upbringing. Here are some examples:

  • A parent who lets their child stay up late every night because they want to watch TV or play video games
  • A parent who gives their child whatever they want without considering if it’s good for them or not
  • A parent who avoids disciplining their child even when they misbehave or break rules
  • A parent who doesn’t set any limits on their child’s behavior or choices

The Effects of Permissive Parenting on Children

While permissive parenting may seem like a relaxed and easy-going approach to parenting, it can have significant effects on children’s behavior and emotional development. Here are some of the potential consequences of permissive parenting:

  • Low self-discipline: Children who grow up with permissive parents may struggle with self-discipline and self-control. They may not learn how to regulate their emotions or behavior, which can lead to problems later in life.
  • Low self-esteem: Children who grow up without clear boundaries or expectations may struggle with low self-esteem. They may feel insecure or unsure of themselves, as they never had to face challenges or overcome obstacles.
  • Lack of respect for authority: Children who grow up with permissive parents may not learn how to respect authority figures, such as teachers or law enforcement officers. They may have a hard time following rules or accepting consequences for their actions.
  • Poor academic performance: Children who do not have structure and guidance at home may struggle academically. They may not develop good study habits or time management skills, which can impact their grades and future opportunities.
  • Impulsivity: Children who are allowed to make all their own decisions without guidance may become impulsive and reckless. They may act without thinking about the consequences, which can lead to risky behaviors or accidents.

The Benefits of Permissive Parenting

Despite its potential drawbacks, permissive parenting does have some benefits. Here are a few:

  • Creativity: Children who are allowed to explore and experiment without strict rules or expectations may develop more creativity and imagination.
  • Independence: Children who are given more freedom to make their own choices may become more independent and self-reliant.
  • Positive relationship: Permissive parents tend to have a positive and supportive relationship with their children.

The Challenges of Permissive Parenting

Like any parenting style, permissive parenting has its challenges. Here are some of the potential difficulties that permissive parents may face:

  • Difficulty enforcing rules: Permissive parents may struggle to enforce rules or discipline their children when necessary.
  • Lack of structure: Children who grow up without clear rules or expectations may feel insecure or anxious.
  • Confusion: Children who are not given clear guidance or boundaries may become confused about what is expected of them.
  • Lack of respect: Children who do not learn how to respect authority may struggle in school or other settings where following rules and instructions is important.

Tips for Permissive Parents

If you are a permissive parent, there are steps you can take to help your child develop self-discipline and respect for authority while still allowing them some freedom to explore and learn. Here are some tips:

  • Set clear rules and expectations: Even if you prefer a relaxed approach to parenting, it’s essential to set clear rules and expectations for your child. This will help them understand what is expected of them and what consequences they will face if they break the rules.
  • Be consistent: Once you set rules and expectations, it’s crucial to be consistent in enforcing them. This will help your child understand that there are consequences for their actions, which can promote self-discipline.
  • Offer guidance and support: While it’s important to let your child make their own choices, it’s also crucial to offer guidance and support when needed. This can help your child feel more secure and confident in their decisions.
  • Encourage independence: While you want to provide guidance and support, it’s also important to encourage your child’s independence. This can help them develop self-reliance and confidence.
  • Communicate: It’s essential to communicate with your child regularly and openly. This can help you understand their needs and concerns while also allowing you to share your own expectations and boundaries.


Permissive parenting is a style of parenting that emphasizes leniency and indulgence over structure and discipline. While this approach may have some benefits, such as promoting creativity and independence, it can also have significant drawbacks, such as low self-discipline and poor academic performance. If you are a permissive parent, there are steps you can take to promote self-discipline, respect for authority, and independence in your child while still allowing them some freedom to explore and learn. By setting clear rules and expectations, being consistent, offering guidance and support, encouraging independence, and communicating regularly with your child, you can help them grow into confident, responsible adults.