There are many types of parents out there, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. There are the clinically recognized types of parents and, of course, all of the labels society has created to define parents. (Think helicopter parent and crunchy moms.) As annoying as they can be, these labels can help you and your co-parent recognize where there is room for improvement and where you're doing well. Knowing the signs you have a permissive parenting partner, for example, might make sense of some of the struggles you've been facing, especially if you identify as another "type" of parent.
According to studies from Vanderbilt University, there are four recognized types of parents — authoritative, neglectful, permissive, and authoritarian — notwithstanding the host of other labels society has already created. According to the university, permissive parenting is one of the "potentially harmful" parenting styles that needs to be identified and balanced out right away
Permissive parents, although typically incredibly loving and big-hearted, are exactly as the name implied: indulgent, oftentimes to a fault. The following signs of permissive parenting can operate on a spectrum — one parent might not be as extreme as the next. But if you can identify your partner with a few of these traits, they're most likely a permissive parent.
1. They Rarely Say No
According to an article from Very Well, permissive parents very rarely tell their children no. As noted in the article, they have "low demands with high responsiveness." Perhaps they're unwilling to make their child upset, or perhaps they genuinely believe that never saying no is what's truly best for their child. Regardless, the lack of structure is usually more damaging than beneficial.
2. They Have Trouble Enforcing Consistent Rules Or Boundaries
Ppermissive parents won't likely have rules in place, or if they do, they'll have a very difficult time staying consistent with those rules. And, according to Parenting, a lack of rules for young kids can have many consequences, which is why working together to establish healthy rules is important.
3. They'd Rather Be A Friend Than A Parent Figure
Another trait of permissive parents is preferring to be seen as a friend rather than a parent to their child or teen. The aforementioned Very Well article stated that sometimes this is out of a genuine desire to be a good parent, but more often than not it can come across as lazy parenting. It often results in children who lack knowledge of basic boundaries and even a lack of the social skills necessary to succeed later in life.
4. They Turn To Bribery As A Form Of Discipline
Along the friendship line, permissive parents often use bribery instead of more effective methods of discipline to get their child to do what they want. According to Kidspot, however, bribery almost always backfires for parents, and is a slippery slope when it comes to healthy child development.
5. They Ask Their Child's Opinion Before Making Major Decisions
Very Well also noted that permissive parents generally ask for their child's permission or opinion before making major decisions. Although this can oftentimes be beneficial, basing your parenting decisions on your child's reasoning and feelings is equally dangerous.
6. They're Extremely Loving And Supportive
On the up side, Michigan State University noted that permissive parents are often very emotionally supportive of their children, but when taken to an extreme, the lack of boundaries can be damaging.