“I’m a cool mom.”

How many of you have seen the movie “mean girls”? In the film, Regina’s mother plays the role of a permissive parent. When Regina brings her friends over, she introduces herself as follows: “I just want you to know, if you ever need anything, don’t be shy, OK? There are NO rules in the house. I’m not like a *regular* mom, I’m a *cool* mom.” She later says how the girls are her best friends and how she just loves them.. etc. I would like to expand on both the benefits and risks of this type of friendship, I mean… parenting style.

Although I am aware that an authoritative parenting style has proven the most successful results in parenting, I would like to first identify the pros of permissive parenting. “Permissive parenting” is the term to identify a generally easy-going parenting style. Within this style, the child is allowed to make their own decisions, is fully supported by the parent in these decisions, is given limited boundaries and little discipline, and generally assume a role more similar to a friend than a child. The benefits of this style are few, but I can understand why a parent would willingly choose to be permissive. First, the child will like the parent; they may even call you a “cool mom.” Due to the little structure and discipline given within this style, it may even require less effort as a parent in raising the child. Additionally, a more relaxed atmosphere is present, in which the child is able to fully explore the world to their liking, thus they may have a more prevalent sense of independence, which is, in my opinion, favorable.

Research would agree that the risks generally outweigh the benefits of this style, which follow. Within this style, a child may find that there is chaos out in the real world. In school, they may find that their teachers and friends are not as loving and forgiving of them as mom and dad. Because of this, they may even have trouble making friends, in respect to their previous self-centered and self-involved environment. Also, children need instruction in making good decisions. This is due to the rules that all must abide by in the real world, and children need to know this from their childhood, so that they are on a path to make good decisions for themselves. Another, somewhat less established concern, is that the child may lose respect for their parent at a later time. They may, in fact love that they were raised in such an environment, but there is the possibility of them questioning their caregivers’ quality of parenting and overall capability in their upbringing.

However glamorous this style may sound to a parent, in that your child is your ‘best friend,’ etc, it is not only a risk to the child later in life in a number of areas, but in class we learned that it can in some cases be considered ‘robbing a child of their youth,’ which is, in my opinion, among the worst mistakes a parent can make overall.

Kellie Gibson

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~ by alicefairinloveandwar on December 14, 2009.

3 Responses to ““I’m a cool mom.””

  1. I liked your example, I remember watching that movie and wondering how life would be if my mom was my best friend and that easy going; but then I realized that she wouldn’t be my mom anymore and would become another friend. I agree with you that this type of “parentling style” has many more consequences than benefits. What about the other parent though? Would it become a Single-parent family if the other parent is still a parent and not a friend to the child?
    -kathy phan

    • I had never thought of that.. that is a really interesting perspective.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Kellie Gibson

  2. I think that parents should be models for their kids, sometimes this could be too hard if they were “friends” before parents.

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