Permissive Parenting Style

On this site, you will interact with the phrase “parenting is tough” more times than you thought you are ready for. I am a strong believer in intentional parenting and so are most parents. However, can we all agree that we’ve all had our aha moments where we realized we ain’t even giving our children the bare minimum? If there is one class to learn humility, call it parenting. You will hear the word “incompetence” in 10,000 languages or more while at it. In this article, we will be looking at a very interesting topic in parenting styles: The permissive parenting style.

We are not about to condemn any parent here. Remember, we are all doing it the best way we know how. The most unfortunate thing as a parent is that you could be doing everything right at least according to you only to realize you had gotten it wrong all along. Sometimes knowingly or unknowingly, parents could be harming their children’s future through the different styles of parenting they adopt.

According to Diana Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist, there are 4 different parenting styles; Authoritarian parenting style, Permissive parenting style, Authoritative parenting style, and  Uninvolved parenting style. In her theory, Diana Baumrind discovered that pre-schoolers behaved differently, and that co-related to their parents’ parenting styles. She argued that different outcomes and development are expected from the various parenting styles. 

What is a Permissive Parenting Style?

A permissive parenting style involves parents treating their children as their equals instead of fostering a parent-child relationship that involves setting limits and boundaries. In this type of parenting, giving and bribery are the major tools as opposed to boundaries and expectations. These parents avoid confrontation and disciplining their children. They are not fond of saying No to the children and they want to be “friendly.”

These kinds of parents have the attitude of “kids will always be kids”. In most cases, these parents allow such privileges in the attempt of covering up for their emotional absence.

Story Time.

Permissive parenting, parenting, parenting styles

Also, on this site, you will find lots of personal stories. I am a learning parent. I have made mistakes, some I know and I am working on while others are yet to be exposed. Parenting has exposed me a great deal and From where I stand, I would confidently say “I am a piece of clay in the hands of a porter”.  I had for the longest time adopted the permissive parenting style. Anyway, let’s dive right into the story.

When I came to terms with my pregnancy and knew I am gonna keep my baby, I also made an intentional decision to be a “good” parent to her for what good is in my head. When she came, I started working harder because I wanted to provide every material thing she could possibly need. I shopped for toys, beautiful clothes, and shoes for her. In short, every day was a shopping spree for me to make my daughter feel special.

When she started weaning, I went on youtube, learned how to prepare different meals for her, and made sure she fed on very tasty meals not the usual Ugali with milk that Kenyan kids are accustomed to. Only to later on, realize she actually enjoys that ‘ugali’ more than any other delicacy I thought she deserved in her royalty.

I made a big deal out of her birthdays (nothing is wrong with this, I still think it is a big deal), Christmas, and valentines. I bought her flowers and a big teddy bear for her this year’s Valentine’s. I’m glad she liked the teddy though haha. I have done big celebrations for her birthday, and taken her out for kids’ gaming among other “material availability”.

Why do I call it “Material availability”? As a parent, I realized it is possible to offer nothing but material things to your child(ren). Sometimes if not all the time, parents tend to compensate for their lack of attention towards their kids with physical gifts. Whilst this happens unbeknownst to the parent, it is important to understand that gifts are only good if they are not replacing your time and affection.

How and When Did the Wake-Up Call Happen?

Permissive parenting, parenting, parenting styles

I had noticed my dear princess’  changing attitude and behavior something I actually justified in my head and with my domestic manager. She had major anger issues which of course for someone like me who sat in a few psychology classes will term as “tantrums and it’s normal by the way” haha. She would throw things at people and even beat us sometimes with her tiny hands. She even started raising her voice at me. I don’t know where she had learned it from, but she was even clicking unprovoked.

One day my friend who also sat with me in a psychology class came for a sleepover. She noticed the anger in my daughter and asked me “did you have anger issues during pregnancy”? Honestly, there is none I could remember. Of course, I had my tears and pain but I wouldn’t necessarily call that anger. She went ahead and asked me then why is your baby having anger issues? Of course, I pulled the tantrum card, and before I even said a lot, she reminded me why kids actually throw tantrums because they are trying to express their emotions.

I kept thinking even after she left what I wasn’t doing right. I honestly couldn’t pick something. On a different day, another friend; a bit elderly visited us. I was reading a book and my daughter was watching Cocomelon. Although we were seated on the same couch, everyone minded their business. After several discussions, my friend asked me “do you ever play with your baby, or does she only watch cartoons”? She continued with the lecture on how every time she passes by she finds my baby on TV.

When she left, I took time to think about what she and the other friend had told me and I started journaling how I have related to my daughter for the short/long period we have been together.


Permissive parenting, parenting, parenting styles

Upon paying attention to what my two friends had said and my baby’s newly adopted behavior, I came up with a few findings. These are typed directly from what I journaled that season.

  • Since my baby was born, I rarely held her in the fear of “she will get used to it and refuse to sleep in a bed which meant no working for us”. I only held her while feeding her.
  • I used to sing for her but was never consistent. I would do it today and then do it again after three days or a week.
  • I never cuddled with her when sleeping. I used to let her sleep by herself as I use my phone.
  • I didn’t play with her or even intentionally watch Cocomelon with her.
  • I used to feed her when doing something else maybe watching a show on Tv or using my phone.
  • I left her to sleep for a very long time since I had a “peaceful” time when she was sleeping.
  • I allowed her to watch cartoons the whole day as it would distract her from “bothering” me.
  • I hardly spoke to her apart from maybe one word “stop”, “take” and “good night” among a few others which were the only words she learned to say for a very long time, this is an exemption from the vocabulary she learned through watching.
  • Sometimes, I held her and gave her my phone to watch cartoons as I watch a movie on Netflix.
  • In conclusion, I found out that I never intentionally spent quality time with my daughter.
  • I allowed her candies and chocolates more than I should have.

The Steps I took From Permissive Parenting

Permissive parenting, parenting, parenting styles

If you are keen here, you will learn I excuse parents a lot for “not knowing”. As they say, ignorance is bliss but once knowledge kicks in, immediate action should be taken in the right direction.

  • I came up with a schedule of what must be done during the day. I am a work-from-home mom and sometimes balancing work and parenting can prove much of a challenge sometimes. However, that can be achieved through proper planning of your day.
  • I reduced the frequency and time that my daughter should watch TV.
  • I intentionally took lunch breaks to personally feed her and do nothing else while at it apart from talking to her and letting her know how good a girl she is for chewing her food.
  • I sit with her on the floor building blocks and destroying them.
  • I started spending time watching cartoons with her and singing along to the songs she was listening to. This assured her I am listening, I hear what she’s hearing and I am very interested.
  • I started cuddling with her during bedtime. Although this was faced with some resistance since this was all new to her, she is now used to it and sometimes she will just coil herself up in my arms when I’m taking naps.
  • I started taking her around my neighborhood for evening walks, eating some bananas with her, and laughing at cars and bikes. lol.
  • I enjoy holding her and I’m afraid she’s almost outgrowing my arms. It’s a shame that I failed to hold her when she was tiny.
  • I teach her some singing games we used to play as kids and she really enjoys them and keeps laughing.
  • I started hugging and kissing her regularly and assuring her of my love for her.
  • I started singing and reading to her before bed.

What the changes brought about

Permissive parenting, parenting, parenting styles

  • Unbeknownst to me, my daughter’s anger issues left and she now is the normal sweet girl I gave birth to.
  • She started trusting me and became more comfortable around me. She can now come and sit on me without me asking something she couldn’t do before.
  • She taps me to see something funny and we both laugh.
  • She asks for hugs from me especially after a fall or something hurt her.
  • She says “No” to me if she doesn’t want something. Remember this is the same girl who would have thrown a shoe at me to express discomfort or disagreement.
  • We went to the store another day and she wanted a ball, she just said it. I was very impressed. I never heard her ask for anything in the stores. When some parents would call that discipline, I call it fear. However, this is dependent from case to case.
  • She became clingy in a way that I like. Before, she was almost unbothered by my presence or absence. I used to call it independence and I thought she had achieved it at such a tender age. I was in fact so proud of her. Only to realize she was insecure and lonely and had no one to be dependent on.



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