In the permissive parenting style the parent indulges the child's whims without regard for fostering personal responsibility. Parents in this style are concerned with maintaining friendships with their children rather than exerting control. Children of the permissive parent feel entitled to have input on household decisions and may feel offended if not consulted on such matters. The permissive parenting style is characterized by low demandingness but high responsiveness (Pellerin, 2005). Provided below are child outcomes predicted by the permissive parenting style.

1 Empathy development
2 Attachment
3 Parental practices
4 References

Empathy Development

This style of parenting is believed to directly contribute to low cognitive and emotional empathy development (Aunola et. al., 2000). Because this parenting style is completely child focused, concern for others feelings and experiences are not of high importance to children of permissive parenting.Empathy development is believed to be an essential character trait in positive adult outcomes. In turn, the relationship between low empathy development, permissive parenting and antisocial behavior is believed to have effects that establish in childhood and continue into adulthood (Schaffer, Clark, & Jeglic 2009).

Attachment and Achievement

Children of permissive parents tend to have high social confidence and self-esteem but lower academic achievement and school involvement.Of significance to note, children of this style have been shown to improve academic performance provided that their school climate is authoritative.Some research suggests that the gender of the permissive parent is significant with regard to developmental outcomes (Milevsky, 2007). Because the nature of a father/child relationship is frequently more playful, permissive fathering is thought to enhance parent /child closeness, thereby contributing to overall positive well-being.The permissive parenting style, like the authoritative style, is more child-centered than other styles which accounts for strong parent/child bonds. Where this style differs from authoritative is with regard to expectations. The permissive parent places little to no expectation on their child concerning achievement and behavior. Children of permissive parents engage in more selfishly motivated activities than do children of differing parenting styles. However, because these children have high parental engagement they tend to be creative, self-confident and playful. On the negative side they also tend to be less responsible and more easily drawn into negative social behavior.Children in this category of parenting also exhibit higher rates of hyperactivity and aggression than other styles (Meteyer & Jenkins, 2009).

Parental Practices

These children have a propensity to engage in deviant social behaviors more frequently which includes drug use and early sexual contact (Pellerin, 2005; Shumow et. al., 1998). Without fear of repercussion, these children are free to experiment with both positive and negative behavior. Prosocial behaviors are a result of sympathy development and can be linked to parenting practices (Carlo et. al, 2007). Parenting practices are behaviors exhibited by parents in the commission of parental duties and have a direct effect on positive or negative child outcomes (Brenner & Fox, 1999). Parenting practices of the permissive parent tend to overemphasize the child's capabilities and attributes creating an overinflated persona promoting egocentrism. Research suggests that positive adult outcomes are possible for children of permissive parents if parenting practices include sympathy developing techniques that promote prosocial behavior (Carlo et. al, 2007). One promising area for future research concerns service-learning experiences and how they relate to prosocial behavior development. Evidence suggests that parents who foster social consciousness through spontaneous prosocial behavior (i.e. service learning experiences) will strengthen the likelihood of positive adult outcomes (Carlo et. al, 2007).


Aunola, K., Stattin, H., & Nurmi, J.E., (2000). Parenting styles and adolescents' achievement strategies. Journal of Adolescents, 23, 205-222.
Brenner, V. & Fox, R.A. (1999). An Empirically Derived Classification of Parenting Practices. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 160, 343-356.
Carlo, G., McGinley, M., Hayes, R., Batenhorst, C., Wilkinson, J. (2007). Parenting style or practices? Parenting, sympathy, and prosocial behaviors among adolescents. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 168, 147-176.
Koehrlen T. (2007) The permissive or Indulgent parenting style picture. Retrieved November 21, 2010, from:
Meteyer, K.B. & Jenkins, M. (2009). Dyadic parenting and children's externalizing symptoms. Family Relations, 58, 289-302.
Pellerin, L.A. (2005). Applying Baumrind's parenting typology to high schools: toward a middle-range theory of authoritative socialization. Social Science Research, 34, 283-303.
Schaffer, M., Clark, S., & Jeglic, E., (2009). The role of empathy and parenting Style in the Development of Antisocial Behaviors. Crime and Delinquency, 55, 586-599.
Shumow, L., Vandell, D.L., & Posner, J.K., (1998). Harsh, Firm, and Permissive Parenting in Low-Income Families. Journal of Family Issues, 19, 483-507.