Why I want to be a permissive parent

Source: thesfile.com

I’m in a bit of a reflective mood at the moment and have been thinking about what my life would be like if I were a permissive parent. Sometimes I ask myself, wouldn’t life be so much easier if I were permissive?

I could be much more lax. I could let my children do as they please. I could let them live in the moment guided by nothing but pure happiness. I could completely forget about obedience.

And as sad as this sounds, I also wonder if I would love and enjoy my kids more if I were permissive. I wouldn’t be worried about discipline, timeouts, etc. Oddly enough, I think of my cat. He was born in my mom’s closet and passed away in September at age 19. He was my first baby. The love was completely unconditional, and I never had to worry about behavior issues. I rarely had a negative thought when it came to my beloved cat.

So why can’t I be that way with my children? Honestly, it sounds very appealing. But I know that it’s just not realistic. Unlike my cat, my children can talk. And they can be loud, argue with each other, and speak disrespectfully. And unlike my cat who rarely left the house, my children need to learn how to live in our big wide world. They need to learn to happily coexist with friends, teachers, coaches, babysitters, etc. They need to grow up to become educated, respectable, successful adults.

I don’t want to be the only one who likes them.

I also think that I couldn’t really be a permissive parent. Those little misbehaviors would bother me. I can’t imagine that I could learn to let them go. Even if I could turn back the clock and never read an Ezzo book, I would know what bad behavior looks like. And I would have to be honest with myself about why I’m attracted to permissiveness. The word “lazy” comes to mind. :)

And while allowing my children to do whatever they wanted seems like it would make them happy, I know in my heart that it’s not in their best interests. Children crave boundaries. They need and want structure. They misbehave partly because they want us to correct them. Though it’s completely subconscious, through their behavior, they ask us to set limits.

So where does this leave me? I fully believe the parent I am today is the parent I was meant to be. I appreciate the Ezzos because without them, I would lean toward permissiveness and wouldn’t know what to do when faced with behaviors that I couldn’t let go. I think of parents on Supernanny who flip-flop between permissiveness and yelling/threatening. I would be one of them. Thanks to the Ezzos, I can take comfort in my instincts about how I want my children to believe and behave and have a plan to get them there.

I think there are some things I can learn from permissive parents (and my cat), like fully loving my children in every moment, no matter how poor their behavior. But now that I think about it, this is something the Ezzos teach us to do. And not only do they tell us to love and encourage our children, they give us a plan to do so effectively (love languages).

Have you ever considered being more permissive in your parenting? Have you ever been a permissive parent?



  1. This is the way I felt when I was doing Babywise with our son. Sometimes I would get frustrated and I would look at all the other moms who were just letting their babies eat whenever, sleep whenever (or not), go about their days as they did before the kids came, etc. And I would think, “Aren’t their lives just so much easier?” And my husband would tell me that if I was frustrated, I could throw the book out the window. But I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, because I knew that while things were sometimes hard, I was creating habits that would benefit us all in the long run. And they have. And while those other parents I knew seemed to have an easier time at the moment, they were also creating habits–just not very helpful ones. :/

  2. So true! I was the same way. When I look at those parents now, I don’t envy them. I just look at the child and think “poor thing.”

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