What Is Permissive Style Parenting And What Are Its Benefits?

There are a few advantages to permissive-style parenting over authoritative-style parenting, but overall, the best style is a balance between those two extremes.

While all parents have their own unique approaches and techniques when it comes to child-rearing, there are actually only three major parenting styles: authoritarian-style, permissive-style, and balanced-style. Authoritarian-style parents believe that a structured and ordered approach is the only way to parent. They set high standards for their kids and they expect their children to meet all of the pre-determined goals that are set out for them. They are often strict and over-bearing, and they set up many rules for the house and the kids. Children with authoritarian parents are likely to have several responsibilities at home and they are also likely to be expected to excel scholastically. Many experts in the field of child development have posited that authoritarian parents are best suited for rambunctious and "wild" children - children who really need the rules and standards to be clearly outlined and enforced in order to behave properly. The authoritarian style of parenting is not advisable for parents with children that are shy, timid, and soft-spoken because having too many demands placed on a shy and nervous child can cause him or her to become paranoid and self-defeating.

The permissive parenting style, on the other hand, is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Permissive parents are more easy-going and laid-back when it comes to their children. They believe that their kids should make their own choices, and that a parent should be there to support the choices that the child makes, basically regardless of what those choices may be. There are several different motivations for a parent to adopt the permissive style. One could be that the parent was brought up in an intensely strict and rigid home. If the parent did not thrive in an authoritarian environment, then that parent might in turn decide to approach parenting in the complete opposite fashion. It is also possible that the parent was raised in a very lax and permissive home him or herself, and if that situation worked very well, then that parent is likely to believe that permissive-style is the best way to raise children. While these two motivations are fairly understandable, there are some more unfortunate scenarios that can lead a parent to use the permissive style, such as that the parent is disinterested in the child's life ands simply doesn't have the care or concern to get involved in parenting and upbringing in a meaningful way.

There are certainly many critics to the permissive parenting style. Many experts claim that this style creates an environment wherein the child is in control of the parent, instead of the parent being in charge of the child. Especially in the teenaged and adolescent years, a permissive style can definitely be taken advantage of in a negative way. A teen could decide, for example, that experimenting with alcohol and drugs is okay, and a permissive-style parent may accept this behavior as merely being normal youthful experimentation (whereas in reality, it could be life-threatening behavior). However, despite all the nay-sayers, there are some pros to permissive-style parenting. Shy and withdrawn children generally respond better to a permissive parent than an authoritative one. Children with permissive parents are able to learn quickly that the decisions that they make are important and should be taken seriously, and these children often mature earlier and have a more solid sense of self-confidence and self-reliance.

It is clear, however, that the ideal parenting style falls somewhere in the middle. Balanced-style parenting combines the best of permissive and authoritative all into one moderate and level-headed parenting strategy. Children need boundaries, but it is equally important that they know how to think for themselves and weigh the pros and cons of situations independently. Parents are not supposed to be their child's best friend, but they also are not supposed to be their child's worst nightmare, and that is why finding the right balance between permissive and authoritative parenting styles is essential to raising a well-balanced and responsible child.

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