Permissive parents love their kids. They are typically nurturing, affectionate, warm, and relaxed. In permissive parenting, there are fewer rules and the family dynamic is very child-led. While there are several different types of parenting styles, one is not better than the other. Identifying your style though can sometimes be helpful in understanding why you and your partner make certain decisions as a parent. So if you are wondering if your parenting style falls under a specific category, here are some signs that you are a permissive parent, which you may not have noticed.
In general, signs that your parenting style is permissive include that you don't set up a ton of rules for your kids as you allow them to have a good amount of freedom, and when it comes time to setting boundaries and saying "no", the process involves a lot of negotiating between parent and child, more so than if you are a parent who's more authoritative. Like many topics when it comes to parenting, the definition of what kind of parent you are can be very gray. In the 1960's, psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study that identified different parenting styles — authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive; later, Eleanor Maccoby and Peter Martin expanded that list of styles to include uninvolved.
In addition to permissive parenting, a couple other overarching styles of parenting include authoritarian parenting (in which there are strict rules and punishments set in place), uninvolved (where parents have little interaction with their kids and few demands of them).
Though there are clearly defined labels, this doesn't mean that a parent must be, or necessarily even can be, described as one singular type of parent because many parents might use different styles at different times and different styles with different children. "Just like how some children require a strict teacher to thrive and others need a more nurturing one who does more creative activities, different children might require different parenting styles," says social worker Jill Kaiser, and parents will oftentimes recognize this and adjust how they handle certain situations and personalities accordingly.
Kaiser said that it's good to reflect on why parents choose a particular parenting style. Is it a reflection of their own parents' style? Some people who grow up in an authoritarian household swear they will do the opposite and become permissive parents themselves. Some who like their parents' style will adopt the same philosophy in their own home. Either way, Kaiser believes that it's important for parents to look at their motivations when selecting this style of parenting. Some parents make the choice with the child in mind, feeling that a looser atmosphere is more in line with their philosophy in life. Others do it for their own benefit, because they don't like confrontation, may be insecure about their parenting choices, and want to be liked by their children.
Ultimately, you should determine the parenting style that fits your family's needs. If you are wondering if you fall under the permissive parent category, here are some signs that you may be one.