Spoil the Child?

tcsIn this section of the site I want to address the dangers and issues of permissiveness. Unfortunately, most people in America are under the impression that you have a choice between being punitive and being permissive. Those who don’t want to be permissive embrace a punitive style of parenting, and those who don’t want to be punitive typically embrace permissiveness

The reasons vary but some of the most popular reasons include having been parented with punishments and not wanting the same for their own children (which very much challenges the idea that children want to be punished), not being willing to spank and not knowing what else to do, not being comfortable with their child being unhappy and doing everything they can to keep them happy, and having been raised permissively themselves and not knowing what else to do.


Unfortunately, permissive parenting can be just as damaging to children as punitive parenting and, in the extreme it produces neglect. While children do not need punishments, they do need limits. Boundaries are what make a child feel safe in their life.

Many parents complain that when they stop punishing their children get out of control. A statement like this indicates that they have slipped into permissive parenting and have dropped the standard along with the punishments. This is not healthy for children or the family dynamic as a whole. When the standard is dropped children will feel insecure.

What typically happens, if the parents don’t work to get their tool box filled with GBD tools, is that they punish the child and the misbehavior stops. They mistakenly conclude at that point that it was the punishment that worked and GBD that didn’t, when what they were doing wasn’t GBD and it wasn’t the punishment that worked, but the firm boundary put on the child’s behavior.

Another common dynamic is for a permissive parent to get tired of everything being out of control in their home and they make a choice to adopt a punitive style of parenting, and it does result in better behaved children. This, again, is because a punishment puts a very firm boundary on the child and their behavior and that firm boundary helps them feel safe and when they feel safe they do stop pushing the boundaries.

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