Parent is Too Lenient

We love our children, which is why we want to protect them from everything that feels bad – even from the consequences of their own actions. It is out of compassion and love that we sometimes neglect to discipline our youngsters. However, permissiveness can tend to backfire. Kids need firm guidance and adequate parental control (especially on issues involving appropriate behavior, safety, health and emotional well-being) in order to grow into healthy and mature individuals.

What are the signs that a parent is being too lenient with a child? Consider the following:

You Don’t Set Rules
Rules are important in any household. Not only do rules help prevent arguments and conflict (i.e. a rule that says that sweets are given only AFTER dinner helps stop children from begging for candy at all times of the day), they also set limits (i.e. candy is not being offered all day!). Limits imposed from the outside can help children learn to set their own limits eventually. For instance, having a few simple rules like “homework must be finished before T.V. or computer time,” “teeth must be brushed morning and night,” “sugar cereal is only eaten on weekends” and so on, can help children develop healthy habits for a lifetime. What starts off as a rule can eventually becomes a way of life.

You Don’t Implement Rules
You’re a lenient or permissive parent if you’re all talk and no action. Rules in a household are only good to the extent that they are implemented. If children do not see a consistent consequence for misbehavior, they are less likely to comply with rules. The first time a rule is broken, explain what the consequence will be for future infractions. When it is broken a second time (and from then on), be sure to implement the consequence. If they child continues to break the rule, this means that your selected consequence is ineffective. After using it three or four times without seeing improvement, select a different consequence and see whether the child is now observing the rule. Continue experimenting with consequences (give each one a trial of 3 or 4 times) until you find “the right priced ticket.” You can find more information on effective discipline in Raising Your Kids without Raising Your Voice by Sarah Chana Radcliffe.

You Grant Your Children Age-Inappropriate Liberties
Parenting is not just about setting and implementing rules, it’s also about giving your children enough space in order to explore their identity and develop their independence. But note that there are age-appropriate freedoms, and freedoms that have to be curtailed because children have yet to develop the maturity to handle responsibility. You don’t hand your pre-teen an unlimited credit line, you do not ask your 10 year to decide whether he or she wants to go to the doctor or not, nor do you encourage your 12-year old to engage in an active sexual lifestyle – unless you have a poor sense of age-appropriate activities. A lenient parent is one who is not prepared to say “no” when viritually all other parents of a child of that age would have no trouble doing so.

You Give in to All of Your Child’s Requests
Lenient parents can’t say “no.” They give their child whatever he or she wants no matter the cost. It doesn’t matter if they child already has an excess of the item or if the child has no need for the item – if the child wants it, he or she gets it. The lenient parent hates to disappoint a child and tries very hard not to, even when saying “yes” is detrimental to the child’s development.

Overcoming Leniency
Attending a parenting class is a good way to get perspective and learn some techniques to counterbalance a lenient tendency. Some parenting books can also be very helpful in this regard. Consulting a parenting professional or mental health professional can also be a constructive way to acquire some “backbone” without harming the relationship you have with your child.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *