Child, Parenting

The permissive parenting style – parenting with little control

The permissive parenting style - parenting with little control

The term permissive parenting style was probably first used in the 1960s by the American developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind, who was researching the impact of parenting behavior on child development. In her investigations, Baumrind made a particular distinction between authoritarian, authoritative and permissive parenting styles.
The psychologists Eleanor E. Maccoby and John A. Martin later differentiated the permissive parenting style even more narrowly, namely into a neglecting and a spoiling expression.

Permissive parenting style – what is it?

The permissive parenting style is characterized by tolerance and compliance towards the child.
Fixed rules, control or even punishment play only a minor role. There are no guidelines that the child can follow. The parents show a certain amount of affection without exuding too much warmth. As with laissez-faire, children with a permissive parenting style should be able to develop freely without their parents interfering too much in their development.

In the permissive parenting style, the child is under a lot of pressure. The consideration of the needs by the educators is only possible if the child is also aware of them and can express them. It must therefore become active itself and represent its own point of view.

Criteria for the permissive parenting style

  • the attitude of the educators is rather passive
  • Educators hold back and hardly set any fixed rules
  • dealing with the child is friendly
  • the child’s needs and desires are taken seriously
  • the child’s own initiative, for example when asking for help, is necessary


The permissive parenting style in the family

Parents who rely on the permissive parenting style leave many decisions to their child. For example, this can alone decide what to wear, regardless of the purpose or the weather.
School matters are rarely questioned and the child has to decide for itself whether and how to do the homework assigned by the teacher. There is no control by the parents. They only become active when there are questions from the school. Just as with criticism, parents are stingy with praise. To say that permissive parents neglect their children would be an exaggeration, however, because their development is usually very important to them.

Effects of a permissive parenting style

Diana Baumrind, researching the effects of parenting on preschool children, found that a permissive parenting style resulted in a low level of self-control and self-confidence in the children.
In contrast, Susie D. Lamborn and Laurence Steinberg, among others, focused on adolescents in their studies on parenting styles in the early 1990s. According to their studies, youth raised in a neglectful style were clearly at a disadvantage compared to those raised in an authoritative manner. If the children/adolescents came from pampering families, the results were rather mixed.


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