Indulgent Parenting: A Comprehensive Guide with Examples for Every Age

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mom and son forehead to forehead. indulgent parenting

Indulgent parenting, often known as permissive parenting, is characterized by high responsiveness and low demands.

Indulgent parenting is like giving your kids the keys to the kingdom but forgetting to mention there’s a curfew. This style is all about major freedom, minimal rules, and parents who are super nurturing and chatty. While this can create a cozy and accepting vibe, it might also throw a few curveballs as your kids grow up.


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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Basics of Indulgent Parenting
  3. The Pros and Cons of Indulgent Parenting
  4. Associated Keywords: Exploring Further Dimensions
  5. Indulgent Parenting: Specific Examples for Each Age Group
  6. Balancing Indulgent Parenting: Finding the Middle Ground
  7. Conclusion

In this guide, we’ll dive into the world of indulgent parenting, weigh the pros and cons, and give you a sneak peek into how it looks for toddlers, kids, tweens, teens, and adults. Plus, we’ll explore five key terms that shed more light on this parenting approach. Buckle up for a fun and informative ride!

Indulgent parenting, also known as permissive or lenient parenting, is a style where parents are highly involved and nurturing but provide few guidelines and rules. This approach is often characterized by:

  • High responsiveness: Parents are warm, loving, and nurturing.
  • Low demands: Parents set few boundaries and rules.
  • High levels of freedom: Children are allowed to make many of their own decisions.

2. The Pros and Cons of Indulgent Parenting

man and woman with their kids - indulgent parenting
Photo by Yan Krukau on


  1. Strong parent-child relationship: High responsiveness and nurturing can lead to a close and trusting bond between parent and child.
  2. High self-esteem: Children often feel valued and confident because their parents are highly supportive and accepting.
  3. Creativity and independence: With fewer restrictions, children may develop creativity and independence as they explore and learn on their own.


  1. Lack of discipline: Without clear boundaries, children may struggle with self-discipline and self-control.
  2. Difficulty following rules: Children might have trouble understanding and adhering to rules outside the home, such as in school.
  3. Entitlement issues: Overindulgence can lead to a sense of entitlement, where children expect to get their way without understanding the need for effort or compromise.

3. Exploring Further Dimensions

mom and sons reading a book under a blanket and flashlight. Indulgent parenting

Let’s delve into five associated keywords found in a Google search to expand our discussion on indulgent parenting.

A. Permissive Parenting 

Permissive parenting is synonymous with indulgent parenting. It is marked by a laid-back attitude toward discipline and a high degree of parental warmth and affection. Parents who adopt this style often prioritize their child’s happiness and autonomy, sometimes at the expense of structure and rules.

Example for Toddlers: A permissive parent might allow their toddler to choose their bedtime, resulting in inconsistent sleep patterns. They might also let the child decide what to eat, even if it means having ice cream for dinner.

B. Parenting Style Impact on Academic Performance 

Research indicates that parenting styles significantly influence a child’s academic performance. Indulgent parenting, with its lack of structure and high freedom, can have mixed effects on a child’s education.

Example for Kids: A school-aged child with permissive parents might struggle with completing homework on time due to the lack of enforced study routines. However, the same child might excel in creative assignments because of the freedom to think outside the box.

C. Emotional Regulation in Children 

Indulgent parenting can impact a child’s ability to regulate emotions. Children who are not given boundaries may struggle to cope with disappointment or frustration.

Example for Tweens: Tweens with indulgent parents might have outbursts when things don’t go their way because they haven’t learned effective coping mechanisms. They might also have difficulty handling criticism or failure.

D. Social Skills Development 

The development of social skills is another area affected by parenting styles. Indulgent parenting can result in children who are confident and sociable but may also struggle with sharing or respecting others’ boundaries.

Example for Teens: Teenagers raised with indulgent parenting might be popular among peers due to their outgoing nature. However, they may also exhibit selfish behavior, expecting others to conform to their wishes without compromise.

E. Long-term Psychological Effects 

The long-term psychological effects of indulgent parenting can include both positive and negative outcomes. While some children grow up feeling secure and loved, others may face challenges in adulthood related to discipline and responsibility.

Example for Adults: Young adults who were raised with indulgent parenting might excel in careers that value creativity and innovation. However, they might struggle in environments that require strict adherence to rules and deadlines, potentially impacting their professional success.

4. Indulgent Parenting: Specific Examples for Each Age Group

family bowling indulgent parenting

Let’s explore what indulgent parenting looks like across different age groups with specific examples.


  • Bedtime Flexibility: Allowing toddlers to choose their own bedtime, leading to irregular sleep schedules.
  • Food Choices: Permitting toddlers to eat whatever they want, resulting in poor nutritional habits.
  • Minimal Discipline: Rarely saying “no” to a toddler’s demands, leading to tantrums when they don’t get their way.

Kids (Ages 5-10): 

  • Homework Freedom: Letting children decide if and when they do their homework, leading to inconsistent academic performance.
  • Unlimited Screen Time: Allowing unrestricted access to TV and video games, which can affect social interactions and physical health.
  • Overindulgence in Toys: Frequently buying new toys and gadgets without teaching the value of money or hard work.

Tweens (Ages 10-12): 

  • Lenient Chores: Not enforcing regular chores, resulting in a lack of responsibility and household contribution.
  • Flexible Rules: Allowing tweens to set their own rules, may lead to difficulties with authority and structure outside the home.
  • Excessive Freedom: Permitting tweens to go out with friends without setting boundaries, potentially leading to risky behaviors.

Teens (Ages 13-18): 

  • Unrestricted Social Life: Not setting curfews or checking in on social activities, leading to potential exposure to negative influences.
  • Financial Independence: Giving teens money without requiring them to earn it, which can foster entitlement and poor financial habits.
  • Academic Autonomy: Not monitoring school performance, leading to potential academic underachievement.

Adults (Ages 18+): 

  • Ongoing Financial Support: Continuously supporting adult children financially without encouraging independence.
  • Lack of Accountability: Not holding adult children accountable for their actions, which can hinder their development of responsibility and resilience.
  • Overinvolvement: Remaining overly involved in their adult children’s lives, impacting their ability to make independent decisions.

5. Balancing Indulgent Parenting: Finding the Middle Ground

mom and daughter doing laundry indulgent parenting

Think of yourself as the conductor of a symphony. Indulgence is the melody that brings joy and creativity, but without the harmony of rules and structure, you’ll end up with a cacophony instead of a beautiful piece of music.

While indulgent parenting has its pros, finding a balance is crucial for raising well-rounded children. Here are some tips for incorporating the positive aspects of indulgent parenting while mitigating the potential downsides:

A. Setting Boundaries with Love: Combine high responsiveness with clear boundaries. For example, allow children to express their opinions but set firm rules about bedtime and homework.

B. Encouraging Responsibility: Teach children the value of responsibility by assigning age-appropriate chores and encouraging them to earn privileges through good behavior and effort.

C. Fostering Emotional Regulation: Help children develop emotional regulation skills by modeling appropriate responses to stress and frustration. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and find healthy coping mechanisms.

D. Promoting Social Skills: Encourage children to develop strong social skills by teaching them to respect others’ boundaries, share, and compromise. Provide opportunities for social interactions in various settings.

E. Preparing for Adulthood: Gradually increase responsibilities as children grow older to prepare them for adulthood. Teach financial literacy, time management, and decision-making skills.


Indulgent parenting is all about being the warm, fuzzy blanket your kids adore. It creates a cozy, supportive environment where children feel cherished. But let’s face it, even the snuggliest blanket needs some structure. Balancing all that love with a few clear rules and expectations is key to raising disciplined, responsible, and socially savvy kiddos. By grasping the ups and downs of indulgent parenting and tailoring your strategies to their age, you’ll be on track to nurture confident, well-rounded humans ready to take on the world.


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