As a parent, it is tempting for children to have positive opinions of you. It feels good to please them. But while beautiful experiences tend to put a smile on your children’s faces temporarily, it is also their limits, expectations and consequences that help children grow into adults who can find their way around the world.
In fact, experts say it can hurt children in the long term to always have compliant parents who allow children to do what they want most of the time with little limit or consequence.
“It is important to allow your child to make choices, to find their own way and to learn from their mistakes,” said Stephen Glicksman, developmental psychologist and professor at Yeshiva University. “But compliant parents give their children this great responsibility for their own development without a secure base from which to start or to return to when they need support.”
What exactly is a too tolerant parenting style?
On the surface, tolerant parents have good relationships with their children. Your children are free to do what they want, and parents often follow the child’s example. Compliant parents are warm and loving, according to the Michigan State University Extension, but are more likely to turn down the idea of being responsible for their children.
While this style of parenting is often based on love and understanding, this is not always the case, according to Glicksman.
“All parents want the best for their children, but I think people often choose indulgent parenting because they are afraid – fear that their children will not be happy, or fear that their children will not be their ‘friends’ “, he said.
The consequences of a very indulgent parenting style
For example, very indulgent parents let their children choose their bedtime or meals freely, and do not require manners or respect. Often this is well meant, but it does not help the children.
“What compliant parents fail to realize is that parents shouldn’t necessarily be ‘friends’ with their children, and that parents who express their love by respecting their children’s preferences and opinions, but also communicating clearly and setting boundaries, will last for a long time Often make children happier, ”Glicksman said.
Having parents who are overly lenient can make it difficult for children to adjust to the expectations and boundaries they will encounter in the world, as students, employees, and in relationships.
Children who are given no limits often become child-like adults
“Research suggests that children with indulgent parents report being happier, more positive as children, and more likely to become dependent, moody and lacking in social skills as they age,” Glicksman said. “It is as if, by giving them so much freedom as children, they learned that their childhood personalities are sufficient and therefore end up becoming child-adults.”
Glicksman says it’s never too late to start setting boundaries and commitments to your children. He recommends moving towards a more authoritative parenting style, which experts say is best for children in general in the long run.
“Don’t panic,” he said. “While research suggests that some parenting styles are better than others, children are very difficult to crack.”
This is how you can change your indulgent parenting style
If you are trying to become a less tolerant parent, start by saying both “yes” and “no” more often and explaining to your child the reasons for each answer.
“The goal is to say ‘yes’ so often that your children will learn that if you say ‘no’ it is likely for a good reason,” Glicksman said.
Here’s how you could start setting expectations and boundaries for your children:
- Make a list of household responsibilities and chores based on your child’s age
- Let your child earn activities like screen time by doing positive things at home like washing the dishes.
- Start by saying “no” and sticking to it.
Adjusting can be difficult for kids who never had limits, according to Glicksman. They will probably fight back for now, but if you are able to stick with this new parenting style, it will be better for you as a parent and for your child in the long run.
“Parenthood is a long game,” said Glicksman. “Dealing with disappointment or belated satisfaction and learning how to work for what you want are important experiences that you can offer your children, even if it is a great challenge for you and for them at the moment.”
This text has been translated from English. You can find the original here.