What are Marshmallow Parents?

· October 8, 2017

There are many different types of parents. We all have our own way of parenting. And since there is no manual for parenting, everyone does what they consider best. We often end up contradicting everything we said we would not do when we become parents.

“Marshmallow parents” are considered the types of parents who raise their children without limiting their actions. Every parent has a choice on how to raise their children; however, in some cases mistakes can be made.

Being too condescending or permissive can make us marshmallow parents. Claudia Sotelo, director of the Center for Specialization in Psychological Studies of Children explains to us what what the term means.

Characteristics of marshmallow parents

There are many marshmallow parents the world we live in. They usually work hard and their income allows for them to give their children whatever they want. Here are the characteristics of marshmallow parents.

  • They usually range from 30 to 45 years of age.
  • They come from very strict homes.
  • One or both parents are soft and sweet (like marshmallows).
  • They are usually professionals.
  • On average they have what we would consider “spoiled” children.
  • They do not influence their children’s habits.
  • The failures of their children are not tolerated and they tend to blame them on others.
  • Marshmallow parents are not aware that their parenting style puts their children’s future at risk.

“A marshmallow parent – whether it be mother, father or both – is a parent that is as soft as candy, sweet with their children due to their lack of limits. They do not represent an authority figure for their children. This makes it hard for them to make rules or to make sure the rules are followed”– Claudia Sotelo

Without realizing it, these parents put their children at risk in many ways. When they are parenting they only think of seeing their child happy. They love to compensate and please. However, many times these decisions can create consequences in the child’s behavior.

Showing our weaknesses or inability to establish limits can cause the child to become disconnected from reality. At home, their parents are pleased with everything, but the real world is very different. Therefore, although we want the best for them, we might be making a serious mistake.

How educating without limits affects a child

A marshmallow parent’s good intentions are indisputable. Usually they are products of very strict homes, where their parents reprimanded them simply by looking at them. They believe that their parenting style breaks the frightening pattern, so their children don’t have to go through the same time. Unfortunately, extremes can have undesirable consequences. Among the main effects, we can observe the following:

  • Children raised this way often have little tolerance for frustration. If they don’t get what they want they get confrontational and throw tantrums. This attitude can lead to problems with parents, teachers, friends and family.
  • They are unable to solve problems on their own since their parents do everything for them.
  • During puberty their behavior can get out of control. According to experts the children of marshmallow parents are more likely to fall into addiction.

“We must pay attention: It is a red flag, if from 3 to 8 years of age, tantrums are their only form of communication.” — Claudia Sotelo

  • They might suffer from eating and/or sleeping disorders because their parents allow them to sleep or eat at any time of day. Other habits such as hygiene can also be affected.
  • They don’t understand hierarchy therefore, they don’t respect elders.
  • The children of marshmallow parents know their weaknesses. They believe they’re afraid of their anger. Consequently, they often manipulate them.
  • They are not taught to face reality. This is why they fail in many aspects of life.
  • Most of the problems generated by their behavior are not only evident at home. This makes interaction with others difficult.
  • They have problems working in groups which can impair their performance at school.