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Old 23rd March 2018, 8:15 PM   #1
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Permissive parenting?

This is sort of a spin-off from something I've noticed in another thread. To me, it seems like so many parents are permissive and let kids run their homes and lives. Is this normal these days? How have parenting techniques changed over the last two or three generations, and have they changed for better or worse?

Part of my perspective comes from my own childhood. My husband says I "grew up like a weed" because I pretty much wasn't parented. As long as I was quiet and didn't make trouble, I was left alone. When my little sister came along I was still in elementary school, but my mom left the responsibilities for her care up to me. My mind was occupied with important stuff like where my next meal was coming from. Unfortunately, I have little family experience of my own to base my decisions on.

Now that I'm living with my husband, I compare/contrast how he raises his kids with what I'm seeing in society in general. His oldest will be going to school this fall, so his bunch is still pretty young. But they are well behaved. Granted, they have a lot of adult contact from their moms at home and frequent contact with grandparents, which must help. The oldest daughter is calm, helpful, and when I ask her to do something she always answers with a very courteous, "yes, ma'am." (she's adorable!) And it isn't like my husband is super strict either. I've never seen him do spankings, or raise his voice much. Grandpa is a force to be reckoned with, however, but is still kind and gentle as well.

When I'm out at a store, or in friends' homes, what I see are children screaming, throwing things, and running rampant. One of my friends has three kids under age 6 and they won't stay in their beds at night. She can hardly sleep because of the misbehavior. In spite of her misery, she hasn't gotten around to locking them in their rooms at night, and hasn't found a single disciplinary consequence that works for them.

I think some of the parenting stuff changed in the 1950's with a doctor named Benjamin Spock. I've compared some advice about parenting given by him and others to older advice given to parents prior to WWII. It seems to be a night-and-day difference. For example, most parents today feed a baby at will. Prior to WWII, babies were often fed on a schedule, the same way my husband does. Parents today seem reluctant to let a child cry themselves to sleep, whereas that was the norm in earlier generations.

So where do I go with all of this? My husband's methods seem to work quite well, but seem so different from what other people do. If modern parenting methods aren't working, then why are they the norm? Or is something else the cause of having happy, well-adjusted, disciplined children vs having crazy, moody, bratty ones?
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Old 23rd March 2018, 8:50 PM   #2
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My kids are super respectful. I'd be shocked if they ever backtalked me. It's just not who they are.

But, I consider myself a permissive parent. I'm way more permissive than their dad is. He's quite strict, but it's largely because he is so anal. My kids have messy rooms here. I don't require military type neatness. I just close their doors. I let my teenage son stay up past midnight if it's not a school night. When I ask either one of them to do something, they do it without complaining, but I'm not constantly on them to do stuff. They shoveled three times the other day without complaining once (we got a lot of snow).

When they were babies, I fed on a schedule (Read BabyWise....that's what I did...feed/play/nap cycle). I stuck to naptimes (but wasn't a crazy person about it if something came up during naptime). My kids went to bed at 6:30 p.m. One was a great sleeper. One was an awful sleeper and would never stay in her bed.

I'd never have locked either in their rooms, BUT I did use a crib tent for my son .
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Old 23rd March 2018, 9:23 PM   #3
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You need perspective: Fuddy duddies from from the beginning of time have been bemoaning the behaviour of young people and how they are sending us to hell in a handcart.

15 Historical Complaints About Young People Ruining Everything | Mental Floss
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Old 24th March 2018, 6:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by major_merrick View Post
This is sort of a spin-off from something I've noticed in another thread. To me, it seems like so many parents are permissive and let kids run their homes and lives. Is this normal these days? How have parenting techniques changed over the last two or three generations, and have they changed for better or worse?

Part of my perspective comes from my own childhood. My husband says I "grew up like a weed" because I pretty much wasn't parented. As long as I was quiet and didn't make trouble, I was left alone. When my little sister came along I was still in elementary school, but my mom left the responsibilities for her care up to me. My mind was occupied with important stuff like where my next meal was coming from. Unfortunately, I have little family experience of my own to base my decisions on.

Now that I'm living with my husband, I compare/contrast how he raises his kids with what I'm seeing in society in general. His oldest will be going to school this fall, so his bunch is still pretty young. But they are well behaved. Granted, they have a lot of adult contact from their moms at home and frequent contact with grandparents, which must help. The oldest daughter is calm, helpful, and when I ask her to do something she always answers with a very courteous, "yes, ma'am." (she's adorable!) And it isn't like my husband is super strict either. I've never seen him do spankings, or raise his voice much. Grandpa is a force to be reckoned with, however, but is still kind and gentle as well.

When I'm out at a store, or in friends' homes, what I see are children screaming, throwing things, and running rampant. One of my friends has three kids under age 6 and they won't stay in their beds at night. She can hardly sleep because of the misbehavior. In spite of her misery, she hasn't gotten around to locking them in their rooms at night, and hasn't found a single disciplinary consequence that works for them.

I think some of the parenting stuff changed in the 1950's with a doctor named Benjamin Spock. I've compared some advice about parenting given by him and others to older advice given to parents prior to WWII. It seems to be a night-and-day difference. For example, most parents today feed a baby at will. Prior to WWII, babies were often fed on a schedule, the same way my husband does. Parents today seem reluctant to let a child cry themselves to sleep, whereas that was the norm in earlier generations.

So where do I go with all of this? My husband's methods seem to work quite well, but seem so different from what other people do. If modern parenting methods aren't working, then why are they the norm? Or is something else the cause of having happy, well-adjusted, disciplined children vs having crazy, moody, bratty ones?

Yeah, no way would I want to have a kid who refers to me as "ma'am".

I want actual closeness with my child and a bond. I want her to be comfortable and safe with me and know that she can come to me with anything in the world and I'll be there for her. She doesn't need to fear me.

I don't need or expect perfection from her. She's a human being in her own right, not just "my kid". She's entitled to a bad day, she's entitled to a bad night.

It always surprises me when people who advocate these "old-style" parenting (whatever that is), bring up kids who run around screaming their heads of (even though I have never seen these supposed children who run around stores breaking things and screaming). You do realize that there is middle ground between raising your children super strict and not raising them at all?

I like the middle ground - I have my daughter on a routine since she was born. However, am I super anal and strict about it? No. We'll go get ice-cream before dinner sometimes. We'll have snacks in my bed while we watch movies in the evening. We'll make a mess in the kitchen while making cookies for her school. She and her friends will play with the sprinkler system in our yard and splash water everywhere. They'll do crafts and get paint on the table.

She's a fantastic, bright, polite, respectful and funny kid. Who sometimes whines when I tell her to set the table because she doesn't feel like doing it that day. Or she doesn't feel like cleaning her room. So I don't nag her, I give her a choice - you can do it today or if you don't feel like it, do it tomorrow but then you won't have time for that playdate we arranged. So she begrudgingly does it.

What most experts advocate now is positive discipline. It does not mean permissive parenting or not disciplining at all and it is grossly misunderstood by most people.
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Old 24th March 2018, 7:55 AM   #5
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She's a fantastic, bright, polite, respectful and funny kid. Who sometimes whines when I tell her to set the table because she doesn't feel like doing it that day. Or she doesn't feel like cleaning her room. So I don't nag her, I give her a choice - you can do it today or if you don't feel like it, do it tomorrow but then you won't have time for that playdate we arranged. So she begrudgingly does it.
The other day I asked my son to fix the ice maker and he told my daughter and me that my daughter should be the one to fix the ice maker when it goes on the fritz (ice collects/clogs it up) since he doesn't use ice and she does. I said, "I make your lunches every day for school, and I'm not the one who eats them!" He just laughed. And fixed the ice maker.

(At their dad's house they have to make their own lunches.....another example of our different parenting styles....neither is wrong).
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Old 24th March 2018, 9:02 AM   #6
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Well there is no way I'd lock my kids up in their room at night. Nor would I refuse to feed a crying hungry baby just because it wasn't their scheduled feeding time.

My kids are grown and long gone from home and now I have grandchildren. I guess I would consider my grandchildren somewhat spoiled compared to the way I was raised or the way I raised my own kids, especially in terms of material possessions, but they are definitely not bad kids. They excel at school and their extra curricular activities, they are fun to hang out with and they are respectful, although they have their occasional pouty defiant moments like most kids do.

I'm a lot older than the OP and I always have to laugh at the "well, when I was a kid" stories people love to tell. While it's true that kids from my generation and generations before me may have had a much tougher upbringing, a lot of us grew up and left home with serious issues. We all like to tell stories of how tough our parents were on us when we were kids but a lot of the girls grew up with poor self esteem and self worth and many boys grew up with a deep anger. Sure we may have appeared to be "good kids" who knew we better not step out of line, but how many of us grew up with a bunch of emotional problems that took us years to figure out and overcome?

My childhood was rough. Nobody babied me. My stepfather was mega strict. If he didn't like the expression on my face I would get the belt. I would never speak up to him, not even in my dreams. I wasn't allowed to express my own opinions and my feelings were never taken into consideration. Before my mom married him when I was 9yrs old, she couldn't be bothered to parent me. I was passed around to live with different family members and friends of hers. I was the best behaved kid you could have ever met. Always polite, respectful, and obedient, but boy did I have problems when I grew up. I had no sense of worth, I felt hopeless and unhappy, dealt with depression and major anxiety. I dated men with similar childhoods and they had grown up to become angry men, many of them with substance addictions.

So when I see my granddaughters being loved and nurtured, exhibiting healthy egos and self worth, knowing that they matter, who am I to complain about how "spoiled" they are? They may not be as quiet and obedient as I was as a child and I'm glad for that. I can tell that they are going to become strong, independent young women who know their worth.
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Old 25th March 2018, 1:53 AM   #7
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Yeah, no way would I want to have a kid who refers to me as "ma'am".

It always surprises me when people who advocate these "old-style" parenting (whatever that is), bring up kids who run around screaming their heads of (even though I have never seen these supposed children who run around stores breaking things and screaming). You do realize that there is middle ground between raising your children super strict and not raising them at all?
I actually find how my husband's kids use the "yes sir/yes ma'am" thing as sort of quaint and charming. But it is more common in the area where we live (rural mid-South). In turn, my husband often addresses children as "young ladies/gentlemen," especially if he is teaching a group.

As for the running screamers, I've seen it too many times in the city where we shop. It is actually a threat to my mother-in-law, who has some difficulty walking due to a disability. We literally have to watch out for children running in stores because if a running child were to knock into her, she could fall and be seriously hurt. My husband has a commanding teacher voice, and has stopped children in stores for their unruly behavior if his mom is at risk. Shockingly, the parents want to challenge him over it as if their kids have the right to misbehave and go unchecked....

In the end, I'm trying to figure out what I am supposed to do when my own kids come along. I'm not actually sure how much freedom I will have to decide how my kids are raised, since my husband has his system already in place. Judging by his results so far, his methods seem sound...but I want to raise my kids with my own touch. I am just not sure what that is yet. My husband's second wife is a very motherly type, and usually tells me that I'm way too worried about it and that my instinct will kick in when the time comes. I hope she's right...
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Old 25th March 2018, 2:24 AM   #8
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OP - Interesting topic. However, please take this as kindly as possible but your familia situation is extremely unique in western society. Comparing it to say a single parent household or even a dual income household is sort of like comparing the result from a greenhouse on Mars to a field in Iowa. Ok, maybe not that extreme but you definitely have some parenting conditions that are simply not in the realm of possibility, much less present, for most families in the US.

That being said, to your second point about how you should raise your soon to be child - I LOVE that you're already thinking about this. Keep thinking about it. It is great that you are. But i'll leave you with these "parenting truths":

Truth: The parent you think you'll be and the parent you will become are two very different things. About the only thing you can count on is that they won't be the same!

Truth: You really don't know squat until you're a parent. Oh sure, being a step-parent or sister mom will help you immensely, but still won't truly have a clue until you become a mom.

Truth: You are inheriting a whole system here. It is probably akin to blending families or a second wife having her first child with a husband who already has some. It is good that you like how your husband's kids are being raised because to go against that would be tough sledding indeed. You kind of have to take that as a starting point and work from there.

Truth: All that being said, always remember that your child is your child and you have at least a 50% say in how he/she is raised. Trust your instincts. And boy howdy you will have them. It is hard to explain but as soon as the baby enters this world it is like several million lines of computer code all of a sudden turn on in your brain. It is crazy.

Truth: Recognize that your family and parenting style will account for maybe 50% or 60% of your child's upbringing. The rest comes from others - friends, fellow students, etc. The best you can do is to make your contribution the very best it can be and put your child in situations where the other 50% are beneficial to his/her upbringing.

Hope this helps!

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Old 25th March 2018, 2:37 AM   #9
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Truth: Parents can raise children which have completely different outcomes even though their approach is sound. I know parents who have one solid, respectful, studious child while their other is a terror. And I also know of families where there are sigificant parenting issues, yet one of their children turned out fine despite the odds.

It's not all about the parenting.
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Old 25th March 2018, 7:53 AM   #10
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Not that I have definitive answers, but I do have a clue, and an extraordinary well-balanced 22 year old daughter to show for it... so, a few suggestions.

Think of discipline at teaching, not punishing. Most children are inherently motivated to do the right thing, you just have to help them understand what and how (granted some are easier than others).

Never make your love conditional on good behavior. A child should never have to question whether s/he is worthy of being loved. If you need to address a behavior, make it only about the behavior while validating the child's worthiness with calm, loving, consistent guidance.

Keep a larger perspective and a cool head. If a child makes you angry, it's you that needs an adjustment. It's not about you, your ego, or insecurities as to how you or the child are perceived by others.

Be empathetic toward the child, and teach the child to be empathetic to others. Ask them to imagine how it would feel to be treated a certain way and help them to internalize the feeling and treat others with kindness and respect.

When they do things right, affirm that you are proud of them and emphasize how good it must feel to them to have accomplished this thing. Let natural consequences do much of the teaching, which often means that privileges are granted/revoked based on completion of responsibilities. Be somewhat laissez-faire so the child can learn that reaping rewards and suffering consequences is something that THEY control. Time-outs work well for younger children.

Never spank, argue, denigrate, withhold affection, or punish by the silent treatment. If a child disrespects you, teach them that it's unacceptable and won't be tolerated, but don't make it personal, and don't lose your cool.

Read, read, read to your kids every day. Practice rituals at bedtime, mealtime and so forth as this promotes feelings of comfort and security.

Tell them you love them, show them you love them, and also help them understand that the world doesn't not revolve around them (at the appropriate age - infants can't comprehend this). They must understand how they fit into the family structure as toddlers, and society overall as they mature.

Short version: love, teach, be attentive, and set good boundaries.

Last edited by salparadise; 25th March 2018 at 7:57 AM..
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Old 25th March 2018, 9:53 AM   #11
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Truth: Parents can raise children which have completely different outcomes even though their approach is sound. I know parents who have one solid, respectful, studious child while their other is a terror. And I also know of families where there are sigificant parenting issues, yet one of their children turned out fine despite the odds.

It's not all about the parenting.
Oh yeah! I always say my second child humbled me because before he was born I was the best parent ever! Turns out I just lucked out with a very easy first baby/child, and it had nothing to do with my parenting .
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Old 25th March 2018, 11:07 AM   #12
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As a single dad of two toddlers, I don't have too many rules.
No hitting/biting.
No disrespect.
Use your words.

Disrespect covers a lot of things like back talking, tantrums, ignoring my requests and so on.

I keep three things in check.
Setting boundaries. They need them and want them. They will push them everyday though.
Setting a routine. They want them. They like knowing what to expect.
Ensuring the kids know the boundaries and routine. It's not fair to play a game of life when you don't even know the rules.

Most important, follow your own advice as they learn by observation more than your words. It's confusing for them if you act in a way they aren't supposed too. You are basically teaching them how to be an adult and so you also need to the example on how to act like an adult. That's the biggest fail in my opinion.

I believe it's important to let them have their own opinions, feelings and how to express them so I can fill then to the best I can. However they must express them with respect and dignity.

For example.
"I want apple juice now" my youngest one says.
"I'm sorry, I don't negotiate with a terrorist and get up on demands like that, I'm the parent remember? I make the rules in this house"

"May I have juice please?
"Absolutely sweety, We have apple juice and orange juice, what cup do you want to use?
Then I let them choose the cup and what juice they want.

This allows them an opinion yet they must be respectful about it.

Everyday is a new challenge and everyday they change so much by the time you think you know what your doing they change on ya. I hear the first 20 years is the hardest. After that parenting gets easier.
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Old 25th March 2018, 12:10 PM   #13
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Not a parent. I'm just going to say that my mother was strict and punitive. She was like a military general who also used frequent and excessive corporal punishment. Shouting and insults were common. I was a very good child because I was terrified. Unfortunately, I ended up with significant mental health issues which will never heal completely. I also choose not to have children largely due to my emotional damage.

My husband was raised with no affection. His parents rarely even hugged him and they never told my husband that he was loved. His mother was very critical of him as well. It was stereotypical cold WASP parenting. My husband did not become warm and effusive until he met me.

I'm sharing our experiences to illustrate how old fashioned methods of parenting can cause other issues in children. I do agree that overly permissive parenting seems to be the norm these days but that is only my observation as a non parent who has been in care giving roles. Parents who are too permissive make it much harder for other adults who are responsible for their children. I love authoritative parenting rather than the permissive or authoritarian parenting styles.
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Old 25th March 2018, 12:30 PM   #14
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ildren. I love authoritative parenting rather than the permissive or authoritarian parenting styles.
Absolutely. Late last night I received a text from my son, who was in another room in the house, telling me he had broken his computer monitor by throwing his mouse at it. (Playing Fortnight) Now, I was not happy about this at all because it is the second time something like this has happened (first time was his phone), but he was sufficiently angry at himself that he did not need ME to insult or berate him further. What he did actually need was for me to reassure him that he was not all of the names he was calling himself (in his texts to me), remind him we all make mistakes and he needs to learn to handle his frustration better, literally wipe his tears, and tell him he'll just have to save up money for a new monitor. I was already planning on paying him to clean the garage today (and if it would stop freaking SNOWING he'll do that) so that's a start.

Some may see my actions as permissive parenting since I'm not punishing him in any way and didn't show anger. But, I know my son and how sensitive he is, and how much he hates his own actions, so choosing grace was the right way to go in this case. His dad likely would have handled it very differently and made him feel even worse about himself. But, I also think he wouldn't have done it at his dad's house!! So, there's that.....
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Old 25th March 2018, 6:20 PM   #15
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That just wasn't permitted when I was young. Schools would discipline you if your parents wouldn't, and did.

But the ones you notice are the ones like that. There are still many families actually parenting their children. It's their job to prepare them for adulthood, not protect them from maturing. Those kids will be worthless in the job environment and end up living at home forever, a lot of them.
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