Impact of permissive parenting on Child

Introduction to Permissive Parenting

Parenting styles play a significant role in shaping a child's behavior, personality, and overall development. One of the widely recognized parenting styles is permissive parenting. This article delves into the intricacies of permissive parenting, exploring its characteristics, impact, advantages, and disadvantages, with an illustrative example story to elucidate its effects on children.

Characteristics of Permissive Parenting

Permissive parenting, often referred to as indulgent parenting, is characterized by a high level of responsiveness but low demands or control. Here are the key features of this parenting style:

1. High Responsiveness: Permissive parents are extremely responsive to their children's needs and desires. They are nurturing, loving, and accepting, often prioritizing their child's happiness over setting boundaries.
2. Low Demands: Unlike authoritative or authoritarian parents, permissive parents do not impose many rules or expectations. They tend to avoid confrontation and allow their children significant freedom.
3. Lenient Discipline: Discipline in permissive parenting is minimal. Parents are more likely to forgive and accept rather than punish, and they often use reasoning and explanation over strict enforcement.
4. Child-Centered: Decisions in the household are often child-centered, with parents going to great lengths to cater to their child’s preferences and schedules.
5. Friend-Like Relationship: Permissive parents often strive to be more of a friend than a traditional parent. They believe this approach fosters a closer, more communicative relationship.

Impact of Permissive Parenting

Permissive parenting can have both positive and negative impacts on a child's development. The effects vary based on individual circumstances, but common outcomes include:

1. Emotional Development:
    - Positive: Children may feel loved, valued, and emotionally secure due to the high levels of parental warmth and acceptance.
    - Negative: Lack of boundaries can lead to emotional instability and difficulty handling frustration or disappointment.

2. Behavioral Outcomes:
    - Positive: Permissive parenting can promote creativity and independence as children are allowed to explore and express themselves freely.
    - Negative: Children may exhibit behavioral problems such as impulsiveness, defiance, and difficulty adhering to rules or authority figures.

3. Social Skills:
    - Positive: These children might develop good social skills and be adept at making friends due to their experience of positive social interactions at home.
    - Negative: They may struggle with social boundaries and respecting others' limits, leading to potential conflicts.

4. Academic Performance:
    - Positive: Some children thrive academically due to the self-confidence and independence fostered by permissive parenting.
    - Negative: Others may lack the discipline and motivation required for academic success, resulting in inconsistent or poor performance.

Advantages of Permissive Parenting

1. Emotional Bonding: The close, affectionate relationship can create a strong emotional bond between parent and child.
2. Fostering Independence: Children are encouraged to make their own decisions and think independently, which can enhance their problem-solving skills and creativity.

3. Open Communication: The friendly dynamic fosters open communication, making children more likely to share their thoughts and feelings with their parents.

Disadvantages of Permissive Parenting

1. Lack of Discipline: The absence of firm boundaries can lead to issues with self-control and respect for authority, both at home and in other settings.

2. Entitlement: Children may develop a sense of entitlement, expecting their needs and desires to be met without regard for others.

3. Poor Decision-Making: Without guidance, children may struggle to make sound decisions, impacting their long-term development and success.

To better understand the impact of permissive parenting, let’s consider the story of Sarah and her son, Ethan.

The Story of Sarah and Ethan

Sarah, a single mother, deeply loves her 10-year-old son, Ethan. Having faced a strict upbringing herself, she vows to provide Ethan with a nurturing and supportive environment. Sarah believes that children should be free to express themselves and make their own choices, leading her to adopt a permissive parenting style.

Childhood and Early Development

In Ethan’s early years, Sarah’s permissive approach seems to work well. Ethan is a happy and curious child, always exploring new things and expressing his creativity. Sarah encourages his interests, allowing him to make decisions about his activities and routines. She rarely says no to Ethan’s requests, wanting to avoid the kind of strictness she experienced as a child.

School Years and Behavioral Challenges

As Ethan enters school, Sarah continues her lenient approach. She believes that Ethan should enjoy his childhood without the burden of too many rules or expectations. However, problems begin to surface. Ethan struggles with following classroom rules and respecting his teachers. He often talks back and disregards instructions, leading to frequent complaints from school staff.

Sarah, wanting to support Ethan, tends to side with him in these conflicts, believing that the school is too rigid. She tries to reason with Ethan rather than impose consequences, hoping he will understand and improve his behavior. Despite her efforts, Ethan’s issues persist, and his academic performance begins to suffer due to a lack of discipline and focus.

Adolescence and Social Dynamics

As Ethan grows older, the challenges of permissive parenting become more apparent. His friendships are often turbulent because he has difficulty respecting boundaries and taking responsibility for his actions. Sarah, aiming to be his confidant, finds it increasingly hard to manage his behavior.

Ethan’s independence and self-expression, initially seen as strengths, now lead to rebelliousness and risk-taking. Without clear guidelines, he experiments with activities that concern Sarah, such as staying out late and neglecting schoolwork. Sarah’s attempts to communicate and reason with Ethan are met with resistance, and she feels overwhelmed by his growing defiance.

Turning Point and Lessons Learned

Realizing that her approach may not be providing Ethan with the structure he needs, Sarah decides to seek help. She consults a family therapist who helps her understand the importance of balancing warmth with appropriate boundaries. The therapist suggests strategies for setting clear expectations and consequences while maintaining a loving and supportive relationship.

Sarah begins to implement these changes, gradually introducing rules and consistent discipline. She explains to Ethan why these boundaries are necessary and involves him in setting some of the guidelines. Though initially resistant, Ethan slowly starts to adapt to the new structure. His behavior improves, and he begins to take more responsibility for his actions.


Permissive parenting, characterized by high responsiveness and low demands, can have both positive and negative impacts on a child's development. While it fosters emotional bonding, independence, and open communication, it can also lead to behavioral issues, entitlement, and poor decision-making. The story of Sarah and Ethan illustrates how a lack of boundaries can create challenges, but also how a balanced approach can help guide children towards positive outcomes.

Understanding the nuances of permissive parenting allows parents to make informed decisions about how to nurture their children, aiming for a balance that supports both their emotional needs and developmental growth.