While you might assume that permissive parents are the ones who allow their children to run wild without manners, a dress code, curfew or rules, you might also be surprised how some of your own habits could place you in the “pushover” or permissive parent category as well. Here are a few ways that parents can become too permissive, plus how and why you should alter these parenting ways.
No Limits or Routines
During pregnancy, it’s easy to read parenting books and plan out the best possible way to raise your child. However, once your baby arrives, life can continue to remain fairly hectic as the years go by, and implementing those plans may require time and energy you don’t have, especially if your kids don’t immediately get on board. Eventually, a family’s failure to establish a consistent routine can result in spoiled or lazy teens and tweens who have no schedule or responsibilities.
While most parents understand the need to establish habits, rules, and routines for their kids, busy parents may feel too exhausted after a long day at work, and don’t want to create an acrimonious atmosphere once they return home. Trying to tell a child that they need to maintain a bedtime or finish their home work before playing video games or getting on the computer can seem even more difficult when a child pushes back against these demands, especially when you’re already exhausted from work.
However, the only way parents can change these situations is to set family limits and start becoming less permissive. If you want your child to finish their homework on time, call when at a friend’s, or follow whatever rules you establish, you must maintain a calm and resolute attitude when your child tries pushing back, and don’t cave no matter what. If you’re married, it’s vital that your partner also get onboard with resolutely enforcing the family rules to keep your child from targeting the weak link in the family hierarchy.
Depending on the age of your child, once you establish and maintain new family rules, you should start to see your child respecting what you say on these matters after the first two weeks.
While no parent enjoys arguing with their kids, giving into your teen or tween’s demands simply to avoid getting into another argument can make you more unintentionally lenient than you might like. This can be especially true for parents who didn’t enjoy strict parenting when they were kids, so they willingly relax the rules with their own children.
Generally the amount of conflict increases within a family dynamic once a child begins puberty. The frequent door slamming, shouting matches, and eye rolls that come with this age can make nearly any parent feel exhausted. However, just because you don’t enjoy butting heads doesn’t mean you should back down on the house rules you’ve set.
If you really can’t stand conflict with your child, you can let a few of the minor thing slide. But it remains crucial for your credibility as a parent that you continue to stay tough about the things that truly matter. If your child repeatedly breaks curfew, never calls to check in, or doesn’t tell you where he or she is heading when leaving the house, you need to remain adamant that your child follows these rules or risk losing complete control of your household. Pick your battles, but don’t lose the war.
Allowing School to be Used as an Excuse
For many kids, the only time schoolwork takes precedent over doing anything else is when it’s used as an excuse to shirk their responsibilities at home. Whether skipping out on family commitments, neglecting their chores, or used as a reason not to baby sit a younger sibling, academics makes a wonderful excuse when used on parents who want to see their child do well in school.
While you might think you’re helping by doing chores for your child, your permissive attitude could actually hurt him or her in the long run. When your child grows up and enters the “real world” they must possess the skills needed to survive in an environment that constantly demands their attention. By sheltering your child from dealing with the demands of both home and school, you ill-equip them for the future demands that adulthood will place on them.
Better your child learn the importance of owning up to their responsibilities at a young age before having the learn the hard way what it means to meet the expectations of others.
Timothy Lemke is a freelance writer whose frequent family trips to the RV parks in Salem, Oregon has helped improve communication with his children.