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Table of Contents

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Published on Sep 13, 2022
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Juliya Smith

Permissive Parenting - Characteristics and Effects

Have you been thinking about permissive parenting but are confused about how to go about it? If your answer is yes, then you are not alone. With the excitement of giving birth to a child and raising them well, parents deal with mixed feelings.

Strict parenting styles deprive your children of the little joys of childhood that they can cherish throughout their lives. So, a permissive parenting approach might be more attractive to you. In research on fathers of high-risk children, the permissive parenting style was the second most prevalent.

Know everything you need to understand permissive parenting characteristics & effects and its examples.

What does Permissive Parenting mean?

The parenting styles concept has been developed as a result of years of research on parenting and child-parent relationships. As defined by Diana Baumrind in her groundbreaking study in 1960, permissive parenting is one of the four major parenting styles.


The permissive parenting approach, also known as indulgent parenting, is primarily used by parents with a friendly attitude toward parenting. Permissive parents find it difficult and get afraid of losing their children. So they make healthy boundaries and structures for their children instead of hovering over every single move.

Moreover, they don’t expect their children to act maturely. Despite being warm and loving, they rarely discipline or control their kids. We can say that the permissive approach is the opposite of helicopter parenting.

Characteristics of Permissive Parenting

If you want to adopt indulgent (permissive) parenting, the following characteristics help you better understand.


Nurturing and loving

In the permissive parenting style, parents, by default, express love and warmth toward children. Their children are very important to them, and they do everything they can to keep them happy. Moreover, they are emotionally supportive.

So, if you are very protective of your child’s well-being, your parenting method is permissive.

Behave Like casual friends

Permissive parents tend to treat their children more like their peers. In such an approach, the parent is more like a friend than a parental figure.

Children never see you as an authoritative parent if you share a close bond with them.

Lack strict rules

Parents in this parenting approach allow children to do whatever they want to do. The parents don’t set consistent schedules or rules to monitor the child’s behavior.

Even if parents set rules, they should ensure that their children understand them well. Also, they don’t punish their kid if they break the rule. It‘s because they think if you impose limits, it will affect child psychology.

Rewarding and reinforcing too much

Parents often say no to their kid’s demands. Even if their kid asks for expensive dolls and toys, they provide them as well.

The parents offer rewards and reinforce too much. Due to this reason, it is also called indulgent parenting.

Not Authoritative

Parents want their children to make decisions on their own. It doesn’t involve any parental control over toddlers.

Avoid Conflicts

Permissive parenting involves a laid-back attitude and not confronting children for misbehaving.

Children are not expected to behave in a certain way because parents in this parenting approach are not demanding. Therefore, parents do not punish their children even when they do wrong things to avoid conflicts.

Too much screen time and junk food

Due to the lack of proper rules and punishment that permissive parenting involves, children are allowed to spend time exposing themselves in front of a screen. Moreover, in the name of rewards and bribes, parents offer junk food to their children. They both belong to unhealthy habits.

Impression-seeking parents

Parents want their children to like and accept them. That’s why they do everything their children ask them to do. It is one of the most significant characteristics of lenient parenting.

Permissive Parenting Examples

Depending upon the characteristic of a permissive parent that we’ve discussed, let’s see how permissive parents react in such a scenario.

Buy anything the child asks.

“Imagine you are going to the grocery shop with your child. And all of a sudden, your children asked for candy.”

You know that they already have a lot of chocolates, but still, you buy sweets for them. It’s because you don’t want to upset them.

Bribing to get things done

Your kid doesn’t agree to do the homework. You bribe them with something that works in completing their school work, such as toys and candy.

Screen Time

Your kid has to do his homework, but without doing it, they want to watch the movie on the Television.

Instead of asking him to do his homework, you say Yes to watching the movie.

Not any rules

They don’t enforce rules on their kids. No time rules or very few rules are specified for sleeping, studying, or playing. Despite knowing your children have a test tomorrow, you don't remind them to get to bed early.


You request your kid to clean their room after they are done playing. But you also mention that you shouldn't do it if you're tired.

The Effects of Permissive Parenting

By saying they are just a kid, permissive parents may rationalize their actions, which is inappropriate. It's for this reason that such parenting may be deemed harmful. However, it offers some benefits as well.


Negative effects of permissive parenting

Wonder why is permissive parenting bad? It’s because of its negative consequences.

Several adverse outcomes can result from permissive parents' overly relaxed parenting approach. The lack of boundaries and guidance leads to children lacking self-discipline, poor social skills, self-involvement, increased behavioral problems, and feelings of insecurity.

Children raised by permissive parents may exhibit the following negative effects.

  1. Bad academic achievement

Every parent desires their children to perform well in their studies. However, the permissive parenting style involves very low or no expectations to set their children's goals. As a result, their kid develops low discipline and reduced concentration on their studies.

Moreover, permissive parents never monitor their kids studying habits. Instead, they receive a lot of pampering, which contributes to poor academic performance and school misconduct.

Furthermore, parents have to pay attention to their children's activities. But permissive parents don’t care about academic achievement, which leads to the children lacking goals.

  1. Poor decision-making capabilities

Since the children don’t follow any discipline, their minds become dull, and they can’t develop problem-solving and decision-making capabilities. It is the negative consequence of parents focusing on children’s freedom over responsibility.

Further, parents don’t expose their children to any challenging situations. They solve their problems on their own. So they don’t have any hardship experience, which results in difficulty in decision-making for children.

  1. Aggressive and impulsive

The kids of permissive parents are less aware of their acceptable behavior limits. It is because their parents don’t regulate their behavior. So, they may do things in a hurry without thinking twice.

However, permissive parents tend to allow their kids total freedom and ignore their behavior. As a result, when their children face stressful situations, they become more aggressive, lose self-control, and have behavioral problems. Moreover, kids raised by permissive parents can’t handle their faults and shows some risky behaviors.

  1. Prone addiction to drugs and bad habits

Some studies show that the children of permissive parents are prone to drug and alcohol-related problems. Moreover, they get prone to substance abuse in their early childhood.

They start having some bad behavior and lose self-control at a young age. It is the direct result of full freedom given by parents.

  1. Lack social skills

They think their children are just kids, so they let them go. Nevertheless, without guiding them on what is right and wrong, how are they supposed to know things?

Due to the permissive parents not teaching the proper behavior to their children, they may have poor social skills such as caring, sharing, and empathy in the future. Indeed they hardly display any friendly social behavior.

  1. Get punishment and bullying by others.

Since the children of permissive parents don’t follow any rules and regulations, their bad behavior makes them get punished by others in the real world.

For example, college students have to follow the rules in their school; otherwise, they get punished and even bullied by their friends. As a result, young adults can suffer from low self-esteem.

Positive effects/ Benefits of Permissive Parenting

Parents who adopt this negligent parenting approach become friends more than parents and communicate with their children easier as they grow. The positive effects of permissive parents are:

  1. Better communication

The children raised by indulgent parents consider their parents as friends. So, they can share their feelings with their parents in a better way. There is no barrier to communication.

If the children are trapped in problems and ask their parents for help, they can quickly solve their problems. It helps to build a solid and close relationship between the parent and child.

  1. Creativity

The children raised by permissive parents feel unrestricted. Therefore, they explore everything and unleash their latent creativity.

The rigidity of a rigid environment makes it impossible to enhance your natural abilities. Having a flexible environment is more appropriate.

  1. Less conflict with the child

Permissive parents want to make their children happy. Parents comply with their child’s demands so as not to upset them. Therefore, conflict in the home is less or absent.

  1. Improved Self-Esteem

Permissive parents encourage their children to express themselves freely, which helps to increase their confidence. Also, they love their kids without conditionality, which allows them to build better self-esteem.

The willingness to attempt new things, no matter the consequences, will make your child a great risk-taker. However, one must note that there may be rare instances in which this can backfire.

  1. Caring and loving relationship

Permissive parents prioritize their children. Thus they go to greater lengths to ensure their happiness. This parenting styles work especially well when parents want to improve their relationships with their children.

Are You A Permissive Parent?

You may be a permissive parent if you have the characteristics described in an earlier paragraph.

However, there is a similar approach to raising a child on both permissive and authoritative parenting.

In both styles, parents tend to give freedom and autonomy to their children. Therefore, authoritative parents are often accused of being permissive by authoritarian parents.

How to Change Permissive Parenting If You Are A Permissive Parent?

If you apply better parenting styles, you can raise children in the right way and make them successful. But as everything comes with positive and negative sides, every parenting method has benefits and drawbacks. However, since permissive parenting brings some bad outcomes, you can adopt some changes to gain maximum benefit.

Changing your parenting technique to an authoritative approach is best for fostering some positive effects on child growth and development. The authoritative style is somewhere between permissive and authoritarian parenting.

To become a better parent, a permissive parent must incorporate the following strategies.

Announce it

The first thing you need to do is to tell your partner and children that you are now using an authoritative parenting style. Since you are adopting a new parenting style, your child might find it stricter, and enforcing rules on them, your child gets upset with you.

When you announce the change, you can reassure them that you will remain warm and responsive to their needs. However, now there are limits and rules they need to follow.

Set family ground rules

Organize family meetings and discuss the few rules needed to be applied. You can ask for your children’s opinions. But ensure that you have the final call.

You can set some household rules and responsibilities such as screen time rules, implementing curfew rules, etc.

Moreover, you must tell your kids what you expect from them by setting rules. And enlighten them that there is no easy way to get things.

Be consistent and firm.

It takes time for your kids to adapt to the changes. So be consistent and firm. Children can follow the rules sooner if you give them the proper reason behind changing the parenting style.

Punish for breaking the rules

To set limits and make the rules effective, decide the penalty for breaking the rules.

Punishment should be something that helps your child to develop discipline. It should be positive punishment. For example, make your kid wash utensils, clean the room, etc.

Praise and reward when needed

Whenever your child behaves well, praise them, it will motivate them to do their best. After all, we all love a pat on the back for doing something remarkable.

Final Thoughts

Permissive parenting is a parenting style characterized by low demand and high responsiveness. It shows how affectionate parents are toward their children and how homely they are. Nevertheless, strictness is sometimes required, and every parent should possess it.

An indulgent parenting style cannot be called one of the worst styles of parenting. In fact, they are better than uninvolved parents. Remember that you're doing all this for your child's well-being. Your child's future can become bright and exciting with a good children’s upbringing.

So, if you think you must change your parenting styles for your child's sake, do it now!


Is permissive parenting neglectful?

Parenting with permissiveness may seem beneficial, but these parents may neglect their children emotionally. It affects child development.

What is the best age group for Permissive Parenting?

From preschool age to early adolescence, it can be effective. This approach tends to fail when children are eight or nine because they start forming solid opinions.

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