5 Consequences of Excessive Permissiveness

5 Consequences of Excessive Permissiveness
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Educating children with excessive permissiveness can cause harm and low self-esteem. It can even cause children to feel lost and unloved.

Permissiveness means excessive tolerance. It is a trait that some parents possess which causes their children to grow up without clear rules, feeling confused and unhappy.

One of the consequences of excessive permissiveness is the development of “spoiled” children who are accustomed to manipulating the people around them. Above all, the worst consequence of permissiveness is that in the long run, it causes children to feel lost and unloved.

Children begin to feel this way because they expect their parents to guide and teach them. When parents are overly permissive, children feel like they aren’t being paid attention to, and this creates low self-esteem.

Excessive permissiveness causes harm

The harm caused by not establishing clear limits is usually the result of a lack of tools that parents have to impose discipline.

Carlos Gonzales, the author of Besame Mucho, exemplifies permissiveness this way:

“What is allowed today provokes an inordinate response tomorrow, as a result the child ends up being confused and unhappy.”

Consequences of permissiveness

Behavioral issues

One of the most serious consequences of permissiveness is that it can cause children to develop behavioral issues. Issues occur because they aren’t given rules or limits from an early age.

5 Consequences of Excessive Permissiveness

Low self-esteem

The abuse of freedom, lack of rules and absence of a healthy relationship with their parents that is built on respect and understanding can cause negative consequences such as low self-esteem.

“Parent who are overly permissive or disconnected cause their children to develop low self-esteem.”


The lack of clear rules and routines can impede a child’s development of a sense of responsibility. This leads to the development of bad habits and procrastination.

Not being able to solve their own problems

Excessive permissiveness can prevent children from developing the social and emotional skills necessary to solve problems independently.

Some of these skills can only be developed by encouraging emotional intelligence which is achieved through parental guidance.


As you can see, permissiveness can bring many negative consequences. Permissiveness can also cause children to develop an immature and impulsive personality.

The balance between authoritarianism and permissiveness

So, what do parents have to do to be firm? Being firm doesn’t mean being authoritarian, far from it.

In order to have a child grow up in a healthy way, parents need to respect them. They need to be treated as children (not as premature adults). They should also be taught how to handle themselves in the world.

In order to have a healthy relationship with your child, you should also communicate and reach compromises. Children should follow and respect rules in a conscious way, not out of the fear of consequences.

Parents should keep in mind that the rules at home shouldn’t be negotiated at a child’s whim. Consistency is very important.

Some tips to maintain balance

No parents want to harm their children deliberately. Some parents confuse love for giving into all of their children’s whims.

Ideally, parents should decide fairly what is good for their children and what is not. This way, children will learn how to regulate their behavior.

5 Consequences of Excessive Permissiveness

Having parents that know how to discipline their children will also help them develop a healthy relationship with authority and values.

Most parenting experts agree that rules and discipline are necessary. They help children understand that their actions have consequences.

Therefore, it’s important for parents to set clear rules for their children. The rules of the house should be discussed as a couple in order to convey a coherent message to children.

Following these tips and discussing them with your partner or an expert can help you keep your family away from the harmful consequences of permissiveness.

As a mother, it’s important to make sure that neither you nor your partner is giving into every one of your child’s whims. If you experience this issue, you’ll have to work on it.

Giving your children comfort isn’t a bad thing, however they should also be able to understand the relationship between effort and achievements. Your children should strive to achieve their goals and privileges.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.