Permissive parents find it easy to empathize with their children but struggle to set rules and limits. This parenting style that emphasizes emotional connection and warmth is generally well-intentioned and enjoyable for the whole family. However, the lack of restrictions can have undesirable consequences for the kids.

Generally having a hard time saying "no" or "later," permissive parents would, for instance, let their children stay up as long as they want instead of setting a bedtime. Of course, this kind of method can have some benefits, such as a close parent-child bond and mutual empathy. However, a lot of freedom with few expectations can make it really difficult to develop the self-control skills children need so much during the first years of their lives.

While permissive parents are great at responding to children emotionally, they are often not so good at managing developing behaviors. They generally avoid punishment, which is definitely a good attitude, but their low expectations of obedience can backfire. Actually, permissive parents tend to consider their relationship with their offspring more as a friendship than that of a parent and child. This is the polar opposite of the authoritarian parenting style, which implies a lot of control with little or no responsiveness.

Permissive parents are very empathetic, value connection with their kids, and often try to provide them the independence they themselves may have missed, perhaps growing up with authoritarian parents. Sometimes they simply lack the time, the emotional capacity, or the tools necessary to deal with overwhelming parenting challenges. Such a warm and loving parenting style can have many benefits for kids, like a positive parent-child relationship, higher levels of social connection, and better self-esteem. So what's the problem?

Despite its benefits, a permissive parenting style has serious downsides. Since permissive parents shy away from setting and enforcing rules and limits, children may struggle to understand what they should do and what may be the consequences of their bad behavior and actions. They may have difficulty regulating their self-control, dealing with negative emotions, and making decisions.

Besides the "permissive" style, there are three other main parenting styles:

A style involving strict rules with high expectations of obedience and, often, punishment.

This parenting style also involves high expectations and strict boundaries. But in this case, the kids get explanations regarding the reasoning behind the rules, and parents and children work in collaboration.

Neglectful or uninvolved
This parenting style cares about children's basic needs but not much more.

In conclusion, even if permissive parenting can create a very loving environment for a child, this method lacks the important boundaries children need to grow well while learning crucial skills. Instead, education experts recommend the authoritative parenting style, which merges the warmth of permissive parenting with the benefits of following some strict but beneficial rules. A lot of research has shown that authoritative parenting gives better results than permissive parenting in the matter of self-regulation and mental health. Undoubtedly, it's a clear winner.

Picture: Mike & Alan, two naughty boys (