Positive Parenting Is Not Permissive Parenting

Parenting is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do in your life. The thing is, everyone tries their best to be a good parent, but sometimes your tactics can be all wrong, which can make it hard for your child to grow and develop.

When you feel overwhelmed by your children, it can be all too easy to snap, or start yelling, but this is not the way forward.

Instead, you can try positive parenting. Now, positive parenting is hotly debated in the child rearing world, as some people refer to it as permissive parenting, or letting your child do whatever they want. 

But, positive parenting is not permissive parenting! The two are very different parenting styles and techniques, and have very different outcomes when it comes to raising a child.

So, let’s take a closer look at what positive parenting is, and what permissive parenting is,  and how they differ from one another.

What is positive parenting?

Positive parenting is all about recognizing, rewarding and reinforcing positive, good behaviors and impulses. The purpose of positive parenting is to show your child that you are there to support them, offering them guidance, empathy, encouragement and understanding in everything that they do. 

In positive parenting, it is vitally important that you take a sensitive approach to parenting, and understand that your child has needs individual to them, and challenges specific to them. In this case, you should tackle those needs with respect and empathy, to help them learn, grow and move past such challenges.

This does not mean that you do not discipline your children. You still have to be assertive, and have realistic expectations and rules for your children to follow. However, it means that you reward good behavior, and create a safe environment for your children to thrive and learn. 

What is permissive parenting?

On the other hand, permissive parenting is a new type of parenting style, where the parent looks at their child as a sort of equal or friend, rather than being their parent. With permissive parenting, the parent is not demanding, and they tend to leave the children to regulate their own emotions and behavior, and make the vast majority of their choices.

When it comes to permissive parenting, parents do not really set rules, regulations or guidelines for their children. They do not set times for playing, studying and sleeping, and instead, the children are free to decide this for themselves.

The idea is to give children a sense of control over their lives, and turn them into independent individuals. 

What is the Difference Between Positive Parenting and Permissive Parenting?

As both types of parenting tend to treat children with a lot of respect so that they can become individual and independent adults, the styles are very different. Generally speaking, there are three different forms of parenting. 

There is authoritarian parenting, positive parenting, and permissive parenting. Authoritarian parenting tends to have a lot of control, but little warmth when dealing with children.

As a result, this style of parenting involves frequent use of discipline and punishment, with high expectations, little flexibility when it comes to rules, and one way communication between parent and child, where what the parent says, goes. 

This style of parenting has been known to lead to hostility between the child and parent, along with rebelliousness and antisocial behavior as an adult. On the other end of the spectrum, permissive parenting is when parents provide lots of warmth, but very little control.

Instead, children are left to their own devices, and there are very few rules and never any discipline. 

Permissive parents are very loving and care about their children, but do not set limits, provide guidance or lead their children well. This sort of indulgent parenting can create children with low self control, little emotional control, and can become spoiled. 

Finally, there is authoritative parenting- which is also known as positive parenting. This style of parenting provides a lot of warmth, but also a lot of high expectations. What this means is that children have a lot of rules, responsibilities and regulations to follow, but they are led towards those rules in a nurturing and kind way. 

In authoritative parenting, parents will set limits for their children, but will explain those limits clearly, and communicate calmly and with respect that there are boundaries and certain behaviors that need to be upheld. 

This style of parenting is by far considered the best, as you will create a well rounded adult, able to control their emotions, communicate their feelings, understand social boundaries, and be able to exhibit self control and moral reasoning.

Pros of positive parenting

There are many benefits to positive parenting that outweigh the other types of parenting techniques. For instance, positive parenting:

  • Creates stronger bonds between parents and children
  • Provides children with more confidence and self-esteem
  • Reduces negative/bad behavior
  • Creates a safe environment with mutual respect
  • Improves communication skills
  • Leads children in the right direction

Negative effects of permissive parenting

Permissive parenting techniques have been shown to create more impulsive and aggressive children. Children who have been parented permissively have been allowed to indulge themselves, whether that is with foods, leading to obesity, or by doing what they want to do rather than what they should do.

As a result, permissive parenting can lead to bad academic performance, as homework and studying is not monitored by the parents. In addition, children may develop poor social skills, choosing to play by themselves rather than being encouraged by parents to make friends and step outside of their comfort zones. 

Permissive parenting can also lead to children and adults that are not able to self-regulate or exhibit control. This means that they cannot manage their emotions, or feelings, and can be more prone to alcohol or substance abuse later in life.

Examples of positive parenting

Positive parenting is similar to permissive parenting only in the way that we treat children with respect, and allow them freedom to make their own choices. But this is not always the case.

Children are not fully mentally developed, and therefore need guidance in making choices and decisions to keep them safe and healthy.

For instance, a child would want to eat cake and candy for every meal, but it does not mean that you should let them. As the parent, it is your responsibility to guide them, offer leadership and let them know what is right and wrong.

In addition, you will need to set appropriate boundaries and limits for your children. These limits have to be enforced with kindness, positivity and firmness.

It’s important not to yell and shout at a child for doing something, but instead, explain why it is unsafe or wrong, and show them the right way to handle the situation, or an alternative way of doing what they are trying to do. 

When it comes to discipline, it is vital that you are not punishing your child, but teaching them. Children are constantly learning and taking in new information, so it is essential that you steer them in the right direction by calmly explaining, and teaching them why something should not be done, or why their actions are wrong. 

Empathize with them, and explain things in a calm manner, without yelling and teach them a lesson rather than forcing them to sit on a naughty step in silence. For instance, if your child tries to hit their sibling, calmly intercept the situation, and tell them that hitting is wrong, as it can hurt someone else. 

Be sympathetic that your child was angry and that’s why they tried to hit the other, and explain that they need to take a moment, and count to ten until they calm down. This helps your child to regulate their emotions, whilst also teaching them that it is not okay to hit someone because they are mad. 

The key is having expectations and rules, but offering guidance and support in reaching those expectations, rather than anger and punishment.