Parenting is one of the most debatable subjects. Different parents have different approach and styles in bringing up their kids. While some parents are rigidly stern with their children, there are others that prefer to indulge their children’s desires to better promote their creativity and expression.
Permissive Parenting is one of the four major parenting styles originally introduced by the developmental psychologist, Diana Baumrind. Instead of hovering over their children's every move, permissive parents are incredibly lax and rarely make or enforce any type of rules or structure. Their motto is often simply that "kids will be kids." While they are usually warm and loving, they make little or no attempt to control or discipline their kids.
According to the article, Have Sweden’s permissive parents given birth to a generation of monsters?, a best-selling Swedish academic concluded that permissive parenting is creating a generation of arrogant young adults who lack social empathy, personal resilience and, after a childhood of pampering, are destined to be bitterly disappointed in life.
Author of the book, How Children Took Power, David Eberhard who is also a psychiatrist and father of six, said that parents should act like parents and not friends to their children. Parents have the responsibility to prepare their children for adulthood. He pointed out that the breakdown of discipline in schools, plummeting grades and a worrying rise in attempted suicides among teenagers as evidence that allowing children to be boss has failed.
Sweden was the first country on the planet to introduce a ban on physical punishment in 1979. Thereafter, the view was taken that hierarchy within families ought to be jettisoned in favour of treating children like adults.
“The so-called experts think that parents should negotiate, rather than punish. They have misunderstood the concept of parenting. Children are not as fragile as they think, “says Eberhard.
Supporting Eberhard was Frank Furedi, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent and author of Paranoid Parenting.
“What strikes me as the most disturbing feature of Swedish society is the voluntary abdication of adult authority. It began with stigmatising the punishment of children and mutated into a fear of disciplining them, which is what parents are supposed to do. The area for concern isn’t what happens to them as children, but what happens to them as they grow up,” says Furedi.
While it would have seemed to be an idyllic picture, something is rotten in the state of Sweden. Eberhard pointed to growing social problems in school, where Swedish pupils routinely refuse to follow teachers’ instructions, and later on in what he views as their unfulfilled young adulthood. He also observed that young people in Sweden had the tendency to be very disappointed in life, especially in their twenties. While there was a falling rate of suicides, there was a huge rise in suicide attempts, especially among girls aged 15 to 25.
Raising a child is a journey and most parents go through different phases. Parents need to learn to put on different hats and to play different roles. It is hard to understand their behaviours, but it is the parents’ responsibilities to educate and prepare them for the real world. In the actual world, there is limit to tolerance.
Leong Kim Weng is a writer who writes about parenthood's articles. He uses this platform to reach out to the young parents. Writing for www.parentsdojo.com has given him the opportunity to learn and share interesting perspectives with others.