The Friend, more commonly referred to as the permissive parent, is the one who tends to be a lot more, well, permissive.
You are a very tender hearted and compassionate momma. You want to build a great relationship with your child that isn’t hurt by harsh discipline and control. You are very responsive to your child’s needs and wants and that shows in the bond you have.
There is usually open communication between you and your children because they feel heard and respected which also helps boost their self-esteem. Another huge win is that your children may be more imaginative and positive than other kids their age. This is because they are offered more freedom to play and explore and conflict is minimized or avoided.
While these are certainly good outcomes of permissive parenting, there are also some downsides.
While allowing some age appropriate freedom is good and encourages learning and self-confidence, too much freedom can often have a negative impact.
Children raised in permissive homes have a higher likelihood of engaging in risky behavior, lacking appropriate respect for others, and defiance of rules and expectations.
Because they have not been used to hearing the word “no” or having to adhere to specific limits, it becomes difficult for them to do so when they reach school age and adulthood.
They also may struggle with creating safe boundaries for themselves as well as with coping skills because they may not have been taught these skills as children.
But the good news is, there are some things you can do to improve in the areas where permissive parenting falls short!
First, work on setting (and sticking to) some simple limits. You don’t have to punish or scold your child. You don’t even have to give a consequence every time something doesn’t go well. But it is important to provide a framework to help your child know they are safe within those boundaries.
It’s kind of like when you’re on a bridge high up above a raging river. When there are guard rails to keep you from falling off you feel more safe to explore, to get close to the edge and experience the beauty around you.
But if those guard rails aren’t there, you may feel fearful and nervous – most likely staying as far away from the edge as possible. Certainly you wouldn’t feel free to run and explore in the same way. You miss out on the beauty all around you because you’re forced to focus on your safety.
Second, know that we all make mistakes as parents. Not a single one of us is perfect. We’re all human and we all have bad days, get cranky, frustrated, short-tempered, and a host of other things.
But when you’re tempted to believe that you’ve let your child down or that you’re causing lifelong damage, remember Romans 5:3-4
In other words – our failures (and our subsequent amends) help us and our children develop endurance, strength, and character – all of which can lead them to an abundant life.*
Of course, we still must do our best to parent gently and with respect. But it’s essential to set boundaries and to give yourself grace when you don’t quite meet the standards you have set for yourself (because, let’s face it, we all have sometimes unrealistically high standards for ourselves).
You are rocking this mom thing! Be easy on yourself and know that your kids are blessed to have you as their momma. <3
*Disclaimer: This is not meant to justify abuse. If you know someone who is mistreating or abusing their children under the guise of discipline, teaching, or religion, please report it to authorities immediately.
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