Am I Considered Permissive? - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 19 Old 02-10-2008, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am new to GD, can some one explain how my view of GD would be “labeled”?

My vision of GD for us is not using time outs... finding flexibility and mutual respect and family meetings and talks for conflict resolution...and for my toddler (14 months), holding her and sitting together and breathing...

I do have two non-negotiable items bedtime & bathing… but even those I would be willing to make occasional exceptions to. Other than that our rule is “respect yourself, respect others and the respect world around you."

Is this style considered permissive?

(That is the label my dd's mainstream Grandparents have given me...)

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha.
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#2 of 19 Old 02-10-2008, 11:04 AM
 
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Im interested to hear thoughts because I think Im kinda permissive our only rule is you cant hurt yourself or others (and sometimes when she hits me or dh its hard to keep from laughing cause she thinks its the funnest game in the world) .... there is no bedtime or regular bath or mommy time or set dinner time.......
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#3 of 19 Old 02-10-2008, 01:49 PM
 
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Hmmm, honestly, I think being permissive, in the literal sense, is a good thing.

The problem here is that the older generations consider adult control and maintenance of the adult agenda to be the most important aspect of parenting. You clearly do not. So are you permissive? Yes, I think so. Is that a bad thing? Your parents think so (as mine do of my parenting), but I don't agree. I think permitting a child to have their own thoughts/feelings/agenda and finding respectful ways to negotiate is a GOOD thing.

Have you heard of consensual living? If not, I think that philosophy would appeal to you, as would unconditional parenting.

may my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living whatever they sing is better than to know  - e.e. cummings
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#4 of 19 Old 02-10-2008, 02:00 PM
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Permissive is a vague label. If you let your child tear down displays at the store, get into things that are dangerous, hit without giving some kind of feedback about the hitting, repeatedly give the child whatever they want just because they scream even when it is not in your budget or something you view as morally okay for a child to have then you would probably be on the permissive side of things.
Using discussions, family meetings, and being aware of your child are not permissive things. You can guide a child very well without using time out though sometimes you will need to take a break yourself and come back to the issue later as your child gets older and into more annoying behaviors that take a lot of discussion to get out of.
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#5 of 19 Old 02-10-2008, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
Permissive is a vague label. If you let your child tear down displays at the store, get into things that are dangerous, hit without giving some kind of feedback about the hitting, repeatedly give the child whatever they want just because they scream even when it is not in your budget or something you view as morally okay for a child to have then you would probably be on the permissive side of things.
Using discussions, family meetings, and being aware of your child are not permissive things. You can guide a child very well without using time out though sometimes you will need to take a break yourself and come back to the issue later as your child gets older and into more annoying behaviors that take a lot of discussion to get out of.
Thank you so much for responding OneGirl! Though I am easy going, I would not be okay with my dd causing damage, being in danger, etc. Thanks also for the encouragement & tips for when she is older.

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha.
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#6 of 19 Old 02-10-2008, 04:45 PM
 
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There are so many degrees and different ways to be GD. I agree "Permissive" is too vague.

My in-laws think I'm too permissive because I don't spank or yell at my child or punish him for acting like he's five years old (I do use time out, because DS's personality like mine needs a cooling off period to think rather than talk. Never more than 5 mins though and always done in a calm manner). Yet those same people think I'm too strict by not allowing my child to watch tv, drink soda and eat candy daily.

Point is: someone is ALWAYS going to disagree with how you are raising your child. If you child is growing up healthy, happy and respectful to others it doesn't matter how you taught them to be (barring abuse obviously).

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#7 of 19 Old 02-10-2008, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm, honestly, I think being permissive, in the literal sense, is a good thing.

The problem here is that the older generations consider adult control and maintenance of the adult agenda to be the most important aspect of parenting. You clearly do not. So are you permissive? Yes, I think so. Is that a bad thing? Your parents think so (as mine do of my parenting), but I don't agree. I think permitting a child to have their own thoughts/feelings/agenda and finding respectful ways to negotiate is a GOOD thing.

Have you heard of consensual living? If not, I think that philosophy would appeal to you, as would unconditional parenting.
I was actually wondering if being permissive is a bad thing.... but I agree with the pp that permissive is a vague term.

I know Unconditional Parenting and really love his view. My knowledge of CL is limited to only what I have read here and since I do have "rules" as minimal as they are.... wouldn't that mean I was not CL?

Can you explain the differences between UP and CL? Also is CL based on a book, if so what book?

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha.
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#8 of 19 Old 02-10-2008, 07:49 PM
 
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My view of "permissive" involves trying to keep a child happy at any cost. Letting him have/do whatever he wants so that he won't be sad, and going to great lengths to tip-toe around his anger. Permissive parents often feel that the most important thing is having their kids "like them." I think it is damaging to be permissive because essentially, it is an approach that dissallows the expression and experience of negative feelings. Conflict is viewed as dangerous and scary, rather than manageable and constructive. And it teaches a child that he "can't handle" certain strong feelings.

I think that structure and routine also play a part in parenting style -- but that the "right" level of structure is not set in stone and applicable to every family. Different kids, even within the same family, have different levels of need for structure. Its important to know your kid, and be sensitive to how much they rely on routine and structure. Some kids need a set bedtime more than others do, kwim?
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#9 of 19 Old 02-10-2008, 08:29 PM
 
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Well, I suspect that you'll discover a few more non-negotiables as your child gets older, such as running into a busy street, running away from you in a parking lot, hitting, biting, throwing blocks toward the picture window....

But, there are ways to deal with all of these without hitting, shaming, punishing. If you allow your child to destroy other people's property or to hurt them (their bodies or their feelings) deliberately and don't intervene to teach your child differently, then yes, you're permissive.

I don't see how what you're doing could be considered permissive. Redirecting, baby proofing, and helping a child calm down is not permissive.

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#10 of 19 Old 02-10-2008, 08:36 PM
 
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"Mean what you say, and say what you mean." If it isn't that important, and you don't want to get into a power struggle, don't say anything at all, and save it for the important things.

Expect respect from your kids, don't allow them to hit you, or insult you.

Treat them with the same respect that you deserve.

I think "permissive parenting" is for those who are too afraid to tell their kids anything at all, or worse, those who do tell their kids to "Go to bed", "be home by 6:00" and it means nothing, because the kids don't have to do anything the parents say. So, the child comes home whenever they want.
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#11 of 19 Old 02-10-2008, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Breeder View Post
Point is: someone is ALWAYS going to disagree with how you are raising your child. If you child is growing up healthy, happy and respectful to others it doesn't matter how you taught them to be (barring abuse obviously).
This is sooo true, I try to not be affected by it but do want to be proactive with other discipline tools to use as needed.

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Originally Posted by mamaduck View Post
I think that structure and routine also play a part in parenting style -- but that the "right" level of structure is not set in stone and applicable to every family. Different kids, even within the same family, have different levels of need for structure. Its important to know your kid, and be sensitive to how much they rely on routine and structure. Some kids need a set bedtime more than others do, kwim?
This is a very true statement as well! Because I am a work at home mom my schedule is very flexible & was child-led, that just did not work best for my dd or myself. I established a basic daily rhythm and my toddler is thriving!! So I do feel there is value in routine.

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha.
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#12 of 19 Old 02-10-2008, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I suspect that you'll discover a few more non-negotiables as your child gets older, such as running into a busy street, running away from you in a parking lot, hitting, biting, throwing blocks toward the picture window....
Lynn you are right I am sure there will be other non-negotiables as my dd gets older but most of the items you mentioned fall under my "respect' rule or safety items....

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"Mean what you say, and say what you mean." If it isn't that important, and you don't want to get into a power struggle, don't say anything at all, and save it for the important things.

Expect respect from your kids, don't allow them to hit you, or insult you.

Treat them with the same respect that you deserve.

I think "permissive parenting" is for those who are too afraid to tell their kids anything at all, or worse, those who do tell their kids to "Go to bed", "be home by 6:00" and it means nothing, because the kids don't have to do anything the parents say. So, the child comes home whenever they want.
See that is what I took permissive parenting to mean and I don't feel I am that. I love that you stress respect because I try to lead a respectful life and would expect the same of my dd.

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha.
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#13 of 19 Old 02-10-2008, 11:48 PM
 
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it's all about perspective.

My family and inlaws have commented time and time again, lovingly and jokingly, about my permissiveness/softness regarding my children.

If you talk to my children you will get a completely different take on it...they are well aware of boundaries and expectations etc.

The difference is in the method of maintaining the boundaries. I use communication, respect and loving guidance instead of just ordering them and punishing them.

So I am simply gentle in my approach. I have no problem hugging a child who has "misbehaved" particularly if they are simply being emotional. A child who is crying/tantruming is not misbehaving, they are simply upset.

So I am permissive by most people in real life standards.

But really, I just do it differently.
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#14 of 19 Old 02-11-2008, 01:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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it's all about perspective.

My family and inlaws have commented time and time again, lovingly and jokingly, about my permissiveness/softness regarding my children.

If you talk to my children you will get a completely different take on it...they are well aware of boundaries and expectations etc.

The difference is in the method of maintaining the boundaries. I use communication, respect and loving guidance instead of just ordering them and punishing them.

So I am simply gentle in my approach. I have no problem hugging a child who has "misbehaved" particularly if they are simply being emotional. A child who is crying/tantruming is not misbehaving, they are simply upset.

So I am permissive by most people in real life standards.

But really, I just do it differently.
That is a beautiful outlook toward it.

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha.
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#15 of 19 Old 02-11-2008, 02:04 PM
 
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Can you explain the differences between UP and CL? Also is CL based on a book, if so what book?
There's an excellent thread here in "finding your tribe" on Consensual Living.

I think there's lots of overlap between Unconditional Parenting and Consensual Living. UP, as I understand it, is a total move away from behaviorism (rewards and punishments), and towards unconditionally accepting our children and talking with them to help them develop empathy and understand how their actions affect other people.

But Alfie Kohn, in his book Unconditional Parenting, does say that it's sometimes necessary for parents to impose their wills on children. He advises parents, though, to have "yes" be their "automatic pilot" response to their children (if they're going to have an automatic pilot response), so that the no's will only come for a very well-thought-out reason.

I think many of us who endeavor to practice Consensual Living/Radical Unschooling, see Unconditional Parenting as a transitional tool. I embraced UP before I embraced CL/RU: UP definitely opened me up to the more radical concept of non-coercive parenting.

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#16 of 19 Old 02-11-2008, 02:23 PM
 
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The problem here is that the older generations consider adult control and maintenance of the adult agenda to be the most important aspect of parenting. You clearly do not. So are you permissive? Yes, I think so.
Yes, according to many behaviorists, we're "permissive" for nursing our babies on cue, holding them all the time, and gently helping them to explore their environments safely, rather than confining them to playpens and/or smacking their hands when they cross a boundary.

I definitely see literal permissiveness as a positive thing -- since it's basically an attitude of, "Yay, go for it, kid! The world is your oyster!"

However, the word "permissiveness" is often used, in our culture, to describe parents who are so busy doing their own thing, that they don't want to be bothered with mentoring and guiding their children. So they just leave them to themselves a lot.

My brother had a friend whose mom didn't want to stop her drinking/drugging ways when she had kids -- so she just gave them free access to the stuff that she enjoyed tripping on. She didn't believe in being a hypocrite! She rationalized that if it was okay for her, it was okay for them.

I don't see your description of your parenting as permissive in the culturally-defined sense of "leaving kids to themselves," and absconding your parental responsibility to protect and guide your child. However, those of us who diverge from the mainstream value of "adult control and maintenance of the adult agenda," are bound to get the "permissive" label slapped on us from time to time.

The key is to be comfortable enough with what we're doing, that we stop getting so phased by the ways that ignorant people categorize us, in their attempt to rationalize their own practices.

Susan -- married WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005), who started out unschooling and have now embarked on the public school adventure.
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Can you explain the differences between UP and CL? Also is CL based on a book, if so what book?
Here is an old thread "Compare/Contrast UP, CC, TCS for me":
https://www.mothering.com/discussions...ohn+consensual

"Consensual living--who coined this term?": https://www.mothering.com/discussions...ohn+consensual

You can read more at the CL website. It has a suggested reading list. Pam Leo's book Connection Parenting is probably the closest to CL philosophically, imo. http://www.consensual-living.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Connection-Par.../dp/1932279172



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My view of "permissive" involves trying to keep a child happy at any cost. Letting him have/do whatever he wants so that he won't be sad, and going to great lengths to tip-toe around his anger. Permissive parents often feel that the most important thing is having their kids "like them." I think it is damaging to be permissive because essentially, it is an approach that dissallows the expression and experience of negative feelings. Conflict is viewed as dangerous and scary, rather than manageable and constructive. And it teaches a child that he "can't handle" certain strong feelings.

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#19 of 19 Old 02-21-2008, 03:00 PM
 
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My view of "permissive" involves trying to keep a child happy at any cost.
See, I sometimes get labeled as being this way because of my desire to help my children find ways to do the things that they want to do.

For instance, if my toddler keeps putting a tiny, plastic ring into her mouth, and we're worried she might swallow it, I'll look for something else -- in the case of today, she ended up having heaps of fun making a bracelet with our large lettuce twist-tie instead.

Of course, I think this is a far cry from saying, "She has to be kept happy 'at any cost'"-- meaning, I guess, that I'd let her keep putting the plastic tiny ring into her mouth, 'cause if she chokes on it, at least she'll die happy.

But some parents would see my desire to make a tradeoff, and redirect her to something else that's fun but also safe, as a desire to "keep her happy at any cost" and as "failing to give her a chance to experience and cope with disappointment."

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Letting him have/do whatever he wants so that he won't be sad, and going to great lengths to tip-toe around his anger.
I always find it preferable to help my children transition happily to something else -- but I guess some people would see that as "tip-toeing around their anger." I'm not saying that this is what mamaduck means ... I'm just saying that this is how some people have perceived my attempts to "work with" my children, rather than "doing to" them.

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Permissive parents often feel that the most important thing is having their kids "like them."
I already know that my kids don't just like me, they love me. And I've heard enough accounts of severely abused children nevertheless wanting to stay with their abusive parents, and loving their parents and believing the best about them, to know that it'd take an awful, awful lot for a child to reject a parent.

So my desire for happy relations with my children, certainly isn't based on any deep-seated fear that the slightest sliver of unhappiness is going to irretrievably drive us apart.

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I think it is damaging to be permissive because essentially, it is an approach that dissallows the expression and experience of negative feelings.
I find that, even though I endeavor to be a "go ahead" kind of parent myself, life throws in all kinds of frustrations that give us opportunities to express and experience negative feelings.

I honestly wouldn't know how to "disallow" negative feelings. That doesn't even seem very permissive to me.

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Conflict is viewed as dangerous and scary, rather than manageable and constructive. And it teaches a child that he "can't handle" certain strong feelings.
Constructive conflict, where people express their differing opinions and work together to find mutually agreeable solutions, definitely encourages a child to feel strong and capable in his journey toward learning to handle strong feelings -- and a big part of "learning to handle" these feelings, is learning to express them in ways that help him to be understood, and to affect positive change in his situation.

However, I don't see imposing my will on my child as "constructive conflict." It's not even genuine conflict, since I already know the outcome. And yes, this version of conflict, which is really just coercion plain and simple, is going to be perceived as dangerous and scary to the person on the receiving end. I don't see a way to get around that.

It doesn't seem honest to tell myself that imposing my will is really a positive thing, because it's the "only way" for my children to learn how to handle strong feelings. In the world I share with my kids, there's enough organically happening to engender "strong feelings," without me needing to add anything to the mix.

I'm not saying that means I never do add my own issues to the mix, because I'd be lying if I said that. I'm on a journey of learning, just as my kids are.

Susan -- married WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005), who started out unschooling and have now embarked on the public school adventure.
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