Here's What Happens if You're a Permissive Parent

If you think you're a permissive parent, you should know that it's not a good idea. Do you want to know what can happen?
Here's What Happens if You're a Permissive Parent

Last update: 16 February, 2022

A permissive parent is one who doesn’t want problems, who doesn’t want conflicts, and who doesn’t want to have to confront their children. This parenting style is dominated by leniency or not enforcing rules, limits, and firmness in parenting.

When they have a permissive parenting style and their children are young, they may not realize the magnitude of the consequences of continuing with this parenting style in the future. But it can affect the child’s development, social skills, and the parent-child relationship and bonding.

What are the characteristics of a permissive parent?

A permissive parent is easy to define. In addition to not wanting confrontations with their children and not setting rules and boundaries, there are other characteristics that can reveal that a parent has an overly permissive parenting style. The most prominent of these are:

  • The parent is sensitive but undemanding.
  • The parent makes few demands regarding responsibility or behavior toward the child and accepts what the child says at any given moment.
  • They accept their children’s desires and impulses and fulfill all the child’s whims.
  • They don’t know how to say no or set limits or guidelines for their children.
  • They’re indulgent and don’t assert authority or impose controls or restrictions.
  • They don’t require children to behave appropriately such as doing chores, homework, or maintaining table manners.
  • There are no rules or routines at home and even less if the child doesn’t feel like it. Instead of allowing the child to choose from various options first thought of by the adult, they’re left to control their own behavior and decision-making.
  • There are no rules about television viewing time, no organization of time, and no set mealtimes.
A young girl smiling thoughtfully.

What happens if you have a permissive parenting style?

Being a permissive parent can have serious consequences on children’s development. In addition, although parents seek to get emotionally close to their children, the reality is that the opposite happens… children don’t feel safe with parents who don’t know how to set rules and limits and withdraw emotionally.

That is, this style of parenting seems to have more negative than positive aspects. If you want to know some examples of what happens when you’re a permissive parent, read the following points:

  • Children tend to have impulsive and aggressive behaviors because they haven’t worked on self-control. They don’t tolerate frustration and may have frequent tantrums.
  • They lack independence and personal responsibilities, they think that others should do things for them and that they don’t have to lift a finger. They tend to be capricious and impatient children.
  • They feel great insecurity because of the lack of limits.
  • Children can become demanding and selfish. When it comes to going out into the world and interacting with other people, they’ll find it difficult.
  • Parents may be overprotective.
  • These children won’t know perseverance and effort. Accustomed to others doing everything for them, they’re likely to give up and get frustrated at the first opportunity.
  • In the long run, it usually results in low levels of maturity and personal success.

Permissive vs. flexible homes

Many parents think that with this parenting style, they’ll be able to raise their children in a loving environment, but the reality is that in permissive homes, little ones can become tyrannical children who think and feel like they’re the center of the world and that their parents should be their servants.

A father holding his toddler son as they walk along the beach.

At the same time, in a flexible environment where rules and limits are the order of the day but where there’s some flexibility depending on the circumstances, children will know what’s expected of them at all times and above all, they’ll have more confidence in their parents because they’ll feel more secure being by their side.

Children who live in flexible homes will be more involved in their behavior and will feel more motivated at school, something that won’t happen in children raised in permissive homes. When children grow up in a permissive home, they won’t feel responsible for their behavior and won’t feel motivated to do things right.

The consequences of a permissive upbringing on children can be exactly the same as if the children are in a very authoritarian upbringing. Many parents choose precisely the lenient style in order to escape the disadvantages of this rigid upbringing; However, neither extreme is appropriate.

Flexible parenting, where the child’s interests and thoughts are respected and the child knows what’s expected of them at all times is the most appropriate.

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.

  • García Ramírez, N., Rodríguez Cruz, E., Duarte Rico, L., & Bermúdez-Jaimes, M. E. (2017). Las prácticas de crianza y su relación con el vínculo afectivo. Revista Iberoamericana De Psicología9(2), 113–124.
  • Ramírez, M. A. (2005). Padres y desarrollo de los hijos: prácticas de crianza. Estudios pedagógicos (Valdivia)31(2), 167-177.

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