Permissive Indulgent parenting: Why is it a risk for your kid?

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Parenting styles have a significant impact on how well our children develop and how happy they are. Indulgent parenting, also referred to as permissive parenting, is one such parenting style that has gained attention in recent years. While choosing a permissive parenting style may at first seem tempting, it is crucial to comprehend its characteristics, its impacts on children and parents, the risks involved, and the significance of using a balanced parenting style.

What is Indulgent Parenting?

indulgent parenting

Indulgent parenting refers to a parenting style that is characterised by leniency, few to no demands, and high responsiveness. According to psychology framework, it is the parenting style with high responsiveness and low demandingness. Indulgent parenting can reflect in three dimensions:

  • Material indulgence: Which is where parents provide excessive material goods for their children.
  • Relational indulgence: Where the parents are overprotective and do everything for their child which is developmentally not appropriate.
  • Behavioural indulgence: Where parents have limited expectations for responsible behaviors from their kids.

Parents who follow this technique frequently refrain from establishing boundaries and guidelines for their kids. Typically, they are kind, nurturing, and eager to satisfy their child’s wants and needs without taking long-term consequences into account.

Characteristics and Examples of Permissive Parenting:

characteristics of permissive parenting
  1. Not setting limits and rules: Permissive parents tend to impose few or unclear rules, giving their kids a lot of leeway in making choices. Example: Not enforcing a bedtime routine and allowing children to stay up late on school nights.
  2. Not enforcing consistent discipline: Lack of accountability is a result of permissive parents’ frequent failure to enforce consequences or disciplinary actions when their kids disobey. Example: Failing to handle disrespectful behaviour while ignoring or overlooking it.
  3. Over-involvement: Indulgent parents may get too involved in their kids’ decisions, disagreements, and activities, which can prevent them from becoming independent. Example: Interfering in every dispute the child has with their peers and preventing them from resolving conflicts on their own.
  4. Hard to say No: Indulgent parents find it hard to say no to their children. As a result, they end up yielding to all of their children’s demands. Example: Buying whatever the child asks for without a second thought

Effects of Indulgent Parenting: 

effects of permissive parenting

On the Child:

  1. Lack of self-control: Children raised in permissive homes may have trouble with self-control and self-discipline since they are not used to adhering to rules and experiencing consequences for their conduct.
  2. Entitlement and lack of responsibility: Overindulgence can breed a sense of entitlement in children, who then struggle to accept responsibility for their actions as they grow up expecting quick gratification.
  3. Poor academic performance: Without structure and boundaries, kids may have trouble in school since they don’t have a routine, a sense of discipline, or motivation.
  4. Social challenges: Permissive parenting may obstruct the growth of vital social abilities including compromise, cooperation, and conflict resolution, which makes it difficult to establish meaningful relationships.

On the Parent:

  1. Parental burnout: Permissive parenting can result in higher stress levels, feelings of overload, and a constant need to satisfy a child’s demands while disregarding one’s own needs.
  2. Ineffective communication: Permissive parents may find it difficult to exercise their authority and communicate with their child in an effective manner, which makes it difficult to set limits and deal with behavioural issues.
  3. Parental conflict on parenting: When there is a difference in parenting styles among partners, it may cause conflict on important decisions. This is more profound when the other parent is an authoritarian.

Why are you a permissive parent- The reasons:

Becoming a permissive parent can stem from various reasons. Here are some typical reasons for adopting this parenting approach:

  1. Parental guilt or fear of damaging the child: Some parents may be concerned about being overly strict or authoritarian because they fear that enforcing rules or enforcing discipline may be detrimental to their child’s emotional health. To prevent repeating the unfavorable experiences they had as children, they would try to create a caring and permissive environment. This stems from the fear of losing the child’s love and trust for the parent.
  2. Lack of knowledge or parenting skills: Permissive parenting may be used as a default strategy by parents who are unaware of effective methods of discipline or who lack understanding of how children develop. They could find it difficult to develop structure and regulations if they fail to understand the value of establishing boundaries and employing consistent discipline.
  3. Parental exhaustion or overwhelm: When faced with too many obligations or pressures, some parents may find it simpler to give in to their children’s demands than to resolve problems or enforce rules. They might not have the resources or the energy to effectively discipline, which would result in an indulgent parenting approach.
  4. Desire to be the child’s friend: Some parents prioritize being a friend to their child more than being a parent. They could adopt a permissive attitude that puts short-term enjoyment before long-term growth because they want their child to see them as approachable and avoid confrontation.
  5. Influences from culture or society: Parenting styles can also be influenced by cultural and social norms. Permissive parenting may be less prevalent in societies that place a high value on submission to authority and respect for it. However, there might be a propensity for more permissive parenting styles in the western societies that value independence and personal autonomy.

What are the Risks of Indulgent Parenting?

  1. Emotional and psychological problems: These children, when they become adults, may lack the skills of good decision making.As a result, they are rendered incapable of making accomplishments. This leads to conditions like anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression, which can emerge as a result of a lack of structure and direction. 
  2. Increased risk-taking behaviour: Children may engage in risky behaviours, such as substance misuse, early sexual activity, or delinquency, in the absence of clear limits and consequences.
  3. Long term effects: Negative consequences can linger for a long time, affecting a child’s behaviour, relationships, and general well-being far into adulthood. These are the children who find it hard to make social connections, and relationships and face academic incompetence as they grow into adults.

Are there any Pros to Indulgent Parenting?

The pitfalls of indulgent parenting are numerous, yet it is important to remember that being an indulgent parent has some good effects too. Studies show that many children raised by permissive parenting have better self confidence as they learn to be independent. These are the children who are more creative and explorative.

Permissive vs. Authoritative Parenting: 

Contrasting permissive parenting with authoritative parenting highlights the importance of finding a balance. This is an infographic depicting the difference:

permissive vs authoritative parenting

Warmth and responsiveness are combined with a set of clear expectations, standards, and consistent discipline in authoritative parenting. By promoting independence, self-control, and positive social connections, this strategy promotes the growth of healthy children.

What Should You Do If You Are a Permissive Parent?

  1. Reflect and evaluate: Consider your parenting approach and the potential effects it may have on the development and well-being of your child. This article might help with self reflection on parenting through questions and quiz.
  2. Learn and adopt positive parenting: Being a permissive parent might make it easier for you to adopt positive parenting techniques. Educate yourself about the techniques and tools to implement them.
  3. Discuss and let your family know: Before practicing the techniques, discuss with your partner and announce to your children that you are going to set some rules and limits in the home thereafter.
  4. Define boundaries and rules clearly: To help your child comprehend boundaries and the consequences of their actions, establish clear rules and expectations. Explain to them the reasons and consequences of breaking the boundaries.
  5. Communicate effectively: Develop assertive and composed communication skills by outlining your expectations and addressing behavioural problems. Children can become very manipulative when they start missing what they are used to getting. Be firm and assertive. Often, remind yourself why you are practicing this approach now.
  6. Encourage independence and accountability: Within age-appropriate boundaries, encourage your child’s independence and decision-making abilities. Clearly state what is acceptable and what is not for your children.
  7. Seek assistance and direction: To improve your parenting abilities and deal with any issues, speak with parenting specialists, join support groups, or consider counseling.


Indulgent parenting may at first seem pleasant, but in the long run, it is less preferable due to the risks and negative consequences it has on both the child and the parent. Fostering healthy child development, encouraging self-discipline, and putting kids on the path to success all depend on adopting a balanced and authoritative approach that combines kindness, responsiveness, and firm boundaries. 

Parents should be educated more clearly about positive parenting techniques. So that parents can foster a caring environment that promotes their child’s development and well-being by being aware of the dangers of indulgent parenting and taking proactive measures to change their approach.

Frequently asked questions:

Q1:Is permissive parenting the same as being a “cool” or leniet” parent?

 Although being lenient or “cool” might be used to describe permissive parenting, it extends beyond being carefree. The lack of boundaries and rules set by permissive parents might result in the child’s lack of structure and accountability.

Q2:Are permissive parents neglectful or uninvolved? 

Parenting that is permissive is distinct from neglectful or uninvolved parenting. Parents who are permissive are often kind, loving, and attentive to their children’s needs. They might, however, find it difficult to impose consistent discipline and set reasonable boundaries. Read this article to understand the distinction between permissive and other parenting styles.

Q3:Can permissive parenting lead to spoiling or overindulgence?

Yes, permissive parenting can lead to a child being spoiled or overindulgence. Permissive parents risk unintentionally encouraging a sense of entitlement and a lack of understanding of delayed fulfilment by routinely giving in to their child’s demands and wants without considering the long view.

Q4: Are there societies or cultures where permissive parenting is more prevalent? 

Different cultures and societies may have different parenting styles. Permissive parenting, however, can be seen in any cultural setting. Parenting styles, such as how lenient or rigid they are, can be affected by cultural values, beliefs, and social standards.

Q5: Can permissive parenting result from a fear of being too strict or authoritarian?

 Yes, some parents may choose a permissive parenting style out of fear of adopting a rigid or authoritarian style. They could think that being overly harsh would be detrimental to their child’s emotional health or might affect their bond with them. Finding a healthy balance is necessary for effective parenting, though.

Q6: Can children with permissive parenting have behavioural issues? 

Parenting that is too permissive might cause behavioural issues in kids. Children may have trouble understanding acceptable behaviour without clear limits and consistent discipline, which can lead to issues with self-control, resistance, and disrespect for authority figures.

Q7:Can one’s own upbringing be a reason of permissive parenting?

 Yes, a person’s own upbringing can occasionally have an impact on their parenting style. Those who had very strict or authoritarian parenting styles may switch to permissive parenting to provide their kids a different upbringing. Finding a balance that encourages healthy development is crucial, though.

Q8: Do some circumstances call for permissive parenting more than others? 

In instances where children require autonomy, creativity, or problem-solving abilities, permissive parenting may be more appropriate. To protect their safety and wellbeing, it is crucial to set up clear boundaries and provide guidance—even in these situations.

Q9: Can permissive parenting impact a child’s ability to handle responsibilities as they grow older?

Yes, permissive parenting can affect a child’s ability to handle responsibilities. Children may find it difficult to acquire the necessary abilities and habits for taking on responsibilities independently if they have never had the experience of consistently following the rules and facing with the consequences.

Q10: Is it possible to modify or adjust permissive parenting over time?

 Permissive parenting can, in fact, change with time. The first step is to acknowledge the effects of permissive parenting as well as any potential concerns. Parents can learn and adopt more rounded strategies like positive parenting that combine warmth, responsiveness, and healthy boundaries with self-reflection, education, and support.

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  1. Pingback: 4 Parenting Styles Impacting your Child’s Development - TheLivelyStories

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