Afraid of Exerting Authority? Here's How to Stop Yourself from Becoming A Permissive Parent
Wed, April 21, 2021

Afraid of Exerting Authority? Here's How to Stop Yourself from Becoming A Permissive Parent


Tracy Trautner of Michigan State University Extension, a university that helps people improve their lives, said parents who practice a permissive parenting style see their kids as an equal rather than as children. Gift-giving and bribery are the primary tools parents used instead of boundaries and expectations. Parents demand very little of their child and they also have difficulty saying “no” to avoid confrontation or assert their authority. Permissive parents also avoid punishing their children.

The Association With Parenting Styles With Child Behavior and Caries (2015)

Dr. Jeff Howenstein, DMD, MS, and colleagues of life sciences and biomedical journal portal PMC collected data from 132 parent/child dyads. 66% exhibited authoritative parenting, 25% exhibited permissive parenting, 8% exhibited authoritarian parenting, and 1% exhibited permissive/authoritative parenting.

Authoritative parenting style represented 93% of children with positive children and 7% exhibited negative behavior. Permissive parenting represented 58% with positive behavior and 42% with negative behavior. Authoritarian parenting comprised 45% of children with positive behavior and 55% with negative behavior. It was revealed that kids with authoritative parents exhibited more positive behavior compared to authoritarian and permissive parents.

Authoritative parenting represented 20% of children with caries and 80% of kids without caries. Permissive parenting comprised of 32 children (97%) with caries and one child (3%) without caries. Authoritarian parenting accounted for 91 percent% of children with caries and one child (9%) without caries. The data suggested that children of authoritative parents had less caries in comparison to those with authoritarian and permissive parents.

Dr. Howenstein and his team concluded that authoritative parenting had the most consistent positive impact on children. Authoritative parenting was correlated with more desirable behavior and less dental caries than authoritarian and permissive parenting. The researchers’ findings were consistent with other psychological studies, which emphasized that children with authoritative parents exhibit greater emotional control regulation, have happier dispositions, and improved social skills.  

The Association Between Parenting Styles and Attachment Among Pre-School Kids In the Gaza Strip (2017)

Eman MAS, Fadel AH, and Abdel Aziz MT of Juniper Publishers, an open access journal, gathered 392 parents of preschoolers for their study. They found that the parents exhibited a controlling-oriented parenting style (64%), followed by authoritative (22.7%), flexible (11%), and a combination of all three styles (2.3%). When it came to the attachment styles of preschoolers, 86% were secure, 9.7% were insecure, and 4.3% were equal.

Among insecure children, the insecurity factor with the highest percentage was “anxious” (65.8%), followed by “controlling” (10.5%), “avoidant-distancing” and “anxious and controlling” (7.9%), “anxious and unspecified” (5.3%), and “avoidant, anxious, and controlling” (2.6%). The results suggested the need for parental training to help parents raise their children better and foster open communication with them in their early years. Courses for couples can encourage them to use parenting styles better to address insecurity issues with their children.  



How Do Permissive Parents Act?

Permissive parents tend to be loving, but they fail to provide a few rules and guidelines to their children, stated Kendra Cherry of VeryWell Mind, a website dedicated to publishing mental health-related content. These parents do not expect their kids to exhibit mature behavior, making them appear more like a friend than a parental figure.

Permissive parents reject the act of keeping their children under control. Kids do not even have responsibilities and are permitted to regulate their own behavior, as well as the decisions they make. Hence, children tend to make decisions with input from their parents or caregivers. Screen time and snacks are also not monitored in permissive households, which increases a child’s risk of excessive screentime and obesity.

Unfortunately, children with permissive parents are not required to have good manners or be responsible. Kids are also aggressive, impulsive, lack independence, and personal responsibility due to the lack of boundaries. Since their parents do not establish a set of rules and guidelines, children can struggle to learn good problem solving and decision-making skills. Thus, they can grow up to be adults with a poor sense of self-discipline.

Symptoms of anxiety and depression may be present in permissive households. Although kids with permissive parents have good social skills and high self-esteem, they are also more selfish and demanding. Considering that permissive parents impose little to no expectations, kids can display low achievement in many areas and drive to move forward.

Disadvantages aside, permissive parenting encourages kids to express themselves freely, which will make them more confident and eager to try new things regardless of the outcome, said Christin Perry of Parents, a magazine on family time, pregnancy, and more. Since permissive parents allow their kids to have more freedom, they can also embark on new adventures with fervor energy. Children can also experiment with a variety of passions and hobbies.  



How Not to Be A Permissive Parent

It is recommended to create a list of household rules and behavior expectations. You can work with your child to develop consequences that will enable them to hold accountable for their actions. Be sure that your little one understands the penalty of breaking the rules you set at home. Rules are useless unless there is a corresponding consequence for not following them.

“Without a set of precise boundaries, children have no real sense of what is right or wrong," said Jeff Nalin, an award-winning licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Paradigm Treatment Centers. Therefore, kids will often test the waters to find out how their parents will react and will sometimes seek their attention.

Loss of privileges and time-outs are two logical punishments you can impose when your child breaks rules. Teach your child that they will be allowed to choose any leisure activity they would like for every good deed they do. For example, doing the laundry or putting the dishes away will entitle them to 30 minutes of television time.  



It will be tough to establish rules and limits at first, but your child will eventually learn you mean business. Be firm and consistent, but still loving. This makes them feel more secure living in a family that values setting boundaries to keep them safe. Moreover, you can provide feedback and explanations as to why such rules are important. However, this does not mean you should take away the consequences of disobeying household rules and guidelines.

Permissive parents are reluctant to impose limits or set rules. Hence, children in permissive households tend to grow as impulsive or aggressive individuals. They also tend to lack self-discipline or have poor decision-making skills. Parents should try to assert authority by creating rules to help children instill a sense of accountability.