4. It let’s our children know we believe in them.
Children crave boundaries. When a parent or guardian invests time and energy in the growth of a child, it helps that child feel valued and safe. When parents place few demands or expectations on their kids, they may think they’re being kind, but they’re likely sending messages they don’t intend.
Permissive parenting, in essence, says, “I don’t believe you can do better. I don’t believe you’re able to self-regulate or grow in this area.” Children raised without consistent boundaries will grow up feeling unsafe and insecure.
It’s normal and healthy for children to test their limits. It’s not healthy for adults to expect, through permissive parenting, kids to set their own. This will leave them confused and uncertain and could hinder their desire to succeed.
When my daughter was in high school, she had two types of teachers. One had very few expectations for the students. My daughter felt like, as long as she showed up, she was practically guaranteed an A.
She had another teacher, however, who was much more challenging. She had high expectations of her students, and, though she wasn’t stingy with her praise, she also didn’t lavish the youth with unwarranted compliments.
Whether holding the kids accountable for missed assignments or challenging them to try harder, her actions consistently communicated, “I see great potential in you.”
The result? My daughter lost her enthusiasm for the subject taught by the overly-relaxed teacher and poured her heart and energy into the work assigned by the stricter one—and she did this with joy. She did much better in the class with high expectations and developed a lifelong love for the subject. Her confidence to master the material grew, whereas in the class with lower expectations, it decreased.
When we discipline our children, we let them know we believe in them and feel they’re worth our time and effort.
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