- Dr. Shane Owens
Permissive parenting means trouble for college students
Permissive or indulgent parents provide emotional support, but have few behavioral expectations for kids. They are more like friends than mothers or fathers. Permissive parenting leaves kids ill-prepared for the real world. It also does not prepare them for college. Kids of permissive parents lack independence and problem-solving skills. They are also left with an inflated sense of self-worth and entitlement. On the other hand, parents who both care and set limits raise more resilient, persistent, and well-adjusted kids. According to one recent study, permissive parenting leads to poor mental health and well-being in college students. This is partly due to feelings of academic entitlement, which is the result of permissive parents’ anticipation and removal of obstacles to their kids’ good performance. Academic entitlement leaves students less able to handle the new, more rigorous academic and social expectations of college life. These students believe that their work is good enough just because it has been completed and submitted. They believe that they are good friends or roommates just because they have tried to be. They are less autonomous, have poorer relationships, and believe that success and failure are beyond their control and, therefore, not their responsibility. Bad grades are the professor’s fault. People who don’t like them are $&%@#*s. Raising good adults—whether they go to college or not—requires parents to care and to set limits in equal measure. Kids who are faced with challenges learn to face and overcome them. Those who are allowed to fail learn to persevere in difficult circumstances. And those who hear “no” every once in a while learn how to deal with disappointment. For more advice on preparing your kids to be good adults or college students, please contact me.