Permissive Parenting

It suddenly occurred to me that one of the BIGGEST triggers for parents is the idea that their kids are going to “get away with” something, or “get the upper hand” or “pull one over on” them. They’re incredibly triggered by the idea of being tricked, manipulated, and controlled – and it’s no wonder, since the vast majority of us were tricked, manipulated and controlled throughout our childhoods and adolescence. What if we suddenly understood that our kids have no desire to trick us, manipulate us or control us? What if what our kids really want is to connect with us and to have some control over their OWN lives? What if it suddenly became clear that developmentally speaking, children cannot manipulate in the ways we often think of as manipulation? Wouldn’t parenting change dramatically if we viewed our children this way? And in turn, wouldn’t children would be treated with more respect by adults everywhere?

I truly believe this fearful view of children’s motives is where the argument against permissive parenting stems from. Everyone is worried about being a permissive parent. But research shows that even permissive parenting has better outcomes than punitive parenting. It is DISENGAGED parenting and ABUSIVE parenting that has incredibly poor outcomes. Let’s stop blaming things based on our fears and instead move toward a new paradigm. Let’s rebel against control-based parenting.

I’m not advocating for permissive parenting. I’m advocating for engaged, emotionally regulated, relationship-centered parenting. I’m advocating for a new view of our children and children everywhere.


Take care,



Want to learn more about this topic? 

You can start with Robbyn Peters Bennett’s interview with Alfie Kohn on
The Myth of the Spoiled Child” from our 2014 Peaceful Parenting No-Spank Challenge :


You can also listen to his radio interview on KQED HERE.



And if you’re interested in gaining the skills to begin to parent without punishment, I hope you’ll join our Facebook page to learn more and consider joining us for webinars, podcasts, and other learning sessions.


Here are some additional links:

  • Amy Bryant of Parenting Beyond Punishment provides online consultation services are for parents and caregivers who are looking for support and guidance with the unique challenges they face. Whether you’re struggling with your child’s off-track behavior, your own, or someone else’s, together we will discover the strategies you need to work with and resolve these challenges in respectful and meaningful ways. Learn more here. (At home consultation services are available for families in the Atlanta, GA area.)
  • Lori Petro of TEACH Through Love can help you discover your biggest communication mistakes and learn what to say instead to build cooperation. Learn more HERE.
  • Hand in Hand Parenting provides support to parents and provides them with the insights and skills they need to listen to and connect with their children in a way that allows each child to thrive. Learn more here.
  • Lives in the Balance is a non-profit organization founded by child psychologist Dr. Ross Greene, originator of the Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) approach (formerly known as Collaborative Problem Solving*). Their mission is to advocate on behalf of behaviorally challenging kids and their parents, teachers, and other caregivers and to provide web-based resources on Dr. Greene’s model, as described in his books The Explosive Child and Lost at School. For a one-page overview of the CPS model, click here.
  • Other resources include Sheena Hill of Parenting Works, Amy Phoenix of Presence Parenting, & Rachel Bailey of Rachel-Bailey.Com
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