What happens to kids when parents are permissive and indulgent? Research suggests that they are lower functioning across several measures–socially, emotionally, and academically–and they certainly aren’t much fun to be around. This is a legacy they bring with them into adulthood; many of today’s twenty-somethings, researchers like Ron Taffel note, were raised with so much indiscriminate and unwarranted praise, and so few appropriate boundaries and rules, that they have an inflated sense of their own importance and achievements, and unrealistic expectations not only within their own family system, but also in the world (I am reminded of a nanny candidate with a B.A. but zero full-time nanny experience who told me she “required” an outrageous salary–in cash –”in order to be happy”)
I hope it’s not too confusing that my most recent post was about the Mommy Tiger–and this one is about Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, wherein she asserts that there is a place for strict, authoritarian parenting.
It’s something stepmothers might dream about–parents so firm that stepmom gets to seem fun in comparison. Alas, too often the opposite is the case. Divorced dads are notoriously guilty and permissive parents. Single moms may be so frazzled and busy (or undermining of the child’s relationship with dad and stepmom) that they don’t do their part to raise responsible and considerate children on their end. And so the stepmom with normal expectations looks draconian and wicked compared to “good time Mom” and “Disney Dad.”
Sound familiar? Hope you will read my piece on different parenting styles, and why permissive parenting is for the birds, on psychologytoday.com