9 Ways Permissive Parents Hurt Children

9 Ways Permissive Parents Hurt Children

OK, I admit that it may be an exaggeration to say that if you are a permissive parent you are hurting your children, but there are problems associated with being the parent who doesn’t discipline and doesn’t set limits or consequences. Following are 9 problem areas that can crop up when “Permissive Parents” don’t set limits. See if you can identify your parenting style with any of them. 1. Permissive parents let the children dictate the rules. Seriously, the child does not need to see the R-rated movie when they’re only 14; or they don’t need to stay up late on a school night; or they don’t need a curfew later than is age appropriate. These can be harmful to a child who needs help with setting limits. 2. Permissive parents feel the rights of children trump the rights of adults. You’ve seen me blog on this. These are the kids whose parents let them run all around in the nice restaurant because they haven’t been taught good behavior. This, in my opinion, is where the parents (not the children) need a consequence. Can we send our dinner tab to their table since their rowdy children disrupted our dinner out? 3. Permissive parents are overprotective. If mom and dad overprotect their child from the inevitable life lessons that sadness and disappointment bring, then a child begins to fear failure. They might avoid taking risks because they don’t believe they can emotionally handle a possible poor outcome. 4. Permissive parents don’t encourage self-denial. I equate self-denial to self-discipline. Think of how a lack of self-discipline can set a child up for failure. This becomes more evident as children get older with more responsibilities. They need to be able to tell themselves…No, I can’t afford that new car, or cell phone, or

Read more

What You Need To Know About The “Black Sheep” In Your Family

The “Most Wanted Criminals” family member whose picture shows up in the online public posting. The goth child with spiked hair, multiple body piercings, and cringe-worthy body modifications. The gay uncle who brings his new, years-younger boyfriend to the family event and is “all over him” to where you want to tell them to “get a room!” The addict who comes to the family reunion drunk and staggers around spilling his drink on the guests… Whoever the “Black Sheep” is in your family, maybe they are just misunderstood. Who gets the label of Black Sheep? Families will give the label of “Black Sheep” to the individual who doesn’t follow the pack. They don’t fit the norm of the family group. This can be in the areas of how they dress and look, or in who they choose as a life partner. Maybe they just have a different set of values and beliefs about religion and politics. Whatever it is that makes them different, they are an outsider; they are the “Black Sheep” of the family. Where does the Black Sheep label come from? According to wikipedia.org, the term Black Sheep is used to describe an odd or disreputable member within a family. This comes from the fact that in flocks of white sheep (the animal, not human kind), a recessive gene will show up with the birth of a black sheep. This black sheep stands out in the flock much like the goth child with spiked hair and piercings would stand out in a preppy, upwardly mobile family unit. Hence, the Black Sheep in the family. As expected, the straight and narrow family members will judge the unusual personality negatively, and possibly characterize them as a deviant. Especially if it tarnishes their social reputation in their community! What sets the

Read more

School Officials Let Popular Student Get Away With Bullying

This father wants to do the right thing by his son who is being bullied by the popular kid at school, but he also wants to work within the system of school administrators in a reasonable way. He’s not about making waves; he just wants to protect his son. Ed first heard from his son about the bullying. Soon after, he found out that the school officials knew his son was being bullied at school, but he was never notified. As this father delved deeper in to the issue, he came to feel like this bully was “getting away with it” because his parents are very involved in the school’s athletic programs. The bully’s parents, in response to hearing that their son was being accused of being a bully, were heard to say that this was all because their son is “popular.” When your child is bullied, and school officials know about it but don’t notify you, what is a father to do? Ed felt that the school officials weren’t taking the aggression toward his son seriously. As taken from violencepreventionworks.org, when schools don’t take action against bullies, the entire climate of the school can be affected. An environment of fear and disrespect develops. Students can begin to dislike school. School administrators who take the stance of “looking the other way” or “letting bullies off the hook” can leave students feeling insecure. All can adversely impact learning. When action isn’t taken at our schools to address bullying, the students can begin to feel that their teachers and school principal don’t care about them as individuals. That, or they can be seen as ineffective in controlling the student population. Eventually, school officials will be called to task and the community as a whole may get involved. Parents, like Ed, won’t stand

Read more

If You’ve Fallen Out Of Love, Here’s How To Win Your Love Back

When the first blush of romance hits, it’s like you’re walking through life with your feet floating above ground. You glide through your days and nights, barely noticing what’s happening around you. All you feel is your new love, and life is perfect! Your friends see the change in you. They notice the doe-eyed, far-off look, or the giddy laughter when you talk about your new flame. Chances are, your besties will know that you’ve fallen in love before you do! Ahhhhh! Falling is love is such a sweet thing. We all hope those moments of bliss will last forever. But, they will not. While new love can turn into a steady-as-she-goes love that you can depend on, if your relationship has taken a turn from bliss to blistering, it’s time to work at winning your love back. Is this a love you want back First, determine what has happened in your relationship to disconnect you from each other. Familiarity, inattention, busy careers, differing interests, and parenting responsibilities can chip away at your love. Those you can deal with. However, the really tough stuff of infidelity, abuse, addictions and lies can set your relationship on a course of self-destruction. Whatever has caused your relationship to drift apart, before you can commit to bringing it back together, you need to make sure that’s what you want to, and need to do. If the distance in your relationship has been brought on by hurtful destructive patterns, you need to take a serious look at whether or not this relationship is good for you. If your relationship is all shades of dysfunctional, beware. Instead of trying to rekindle your love, yours is the type of relationship that needs a massive overhaul, or maybe even a permanent disconnect, because love isn’t supposed to hurt.

Read more

A Family Member Murder

We see it in the news daily. Stories of violent killings in our communities, in our nation, and on the world stage. While the media focuses most of their attention on the victims and the perpetrators, the families who suffer the loss of one of their beloved family members often go unnoticed. Murder is violent and it is unexpected. It is shocking and brutal. There is no way for a family member to anticipate this trauma, and just by the nature of the crime, it makes grieving as a family much more difficult. Each member of the family will react in their own way to the murder. Once the initial shock is over, some may try to quickly move on with their lives, others will harbor intense feelings of anger and seek ways to avenge the death. There are those who will suffer with feelings of guilt, feeling that there should have been a way for them to prevent the murder. There can be anger toward the victim for having put themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, or to involve themselves with these types of dangerous people who live in a culture of violence. There are the family members who refuse to leave any stone unturned, especially if the murderer remains at large. They will work closely with law enforcement and some even turn to psychics to try and find the killer. Others will try to find meaning in the tragedy by becoming an activist for change. With all the different ways that family members react, it can cause an emotional divide within. Differences of opinion on how to keep moving through this trauma can distance family members from each other. This, at a time, when they need each other most. When a member of the family

Read more

A Talk While High on Heroin

She wasn’t making sense and her words were slurred and garbled. After she talked about her trouble with drug abuse, I asked her if she was high. She was. On heroin. Heroin is the most abused, fast acting and popular of all opiate drugs. Almost immediately upon using heroin, users experience euphoria, warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, heaviness in the arms and legs, and poor cognition. Cara exhibited poor cognition when she wasn’t really tracking with our conversation. It was disjointed and, to be honest, I almost hung up on her. It was frustrating trying to talk to her. Yes, I was trying to talk to someone in the throes of a heroin high. Other signs of heroin and opiate abuse include: • Shortness of breath • Disorientation • Sudden changes in behavior or actions • Cycles of hyper alertness followed by suddenly nodding off • Droopy appearance, as if extremities are heavy • Constricted (small) pupils Opiate abusers, even those pill poppers who abuse Oxycontin, Vicodin, Lortab and that class of medications, may initially be able to hide their drug abuse, but one sign they cannot hide is the constricted pupils. If you suspect an opiate addiction, one sure sign is if you see that their pupils are small, even in dim light, where the pupils in your eyes would normally open wider. Behavioral signs of heroin and opiate abuse include: • Lying or other deceptive behavior • Avoiding eye contact • Sleeping more • Poor hygiene • Slurred, garbled, incoherent speech • Apathy, lack of motivation • Stealing or borrowing money • Hostile toward loved ones • Withdrawal from family and friends While the above signs can apply to all opiate addictions, those specific to heroin abuse include possession of drug paraphernalia such as needles, syringes,

Read more

Sociopathic Children

“He killed one of our pets and beat our other animals”, said the mother who adopted a sociopathic child. “At the point that he threatened my life and our daughters life and told us how he was going to kill us, I couldn’t do it anymore”. Mich tells her story on my radio show of how she and her husband adopted a 4-year-old boy who from the start displayed bizarre behaviors, and how eventually his behavior became “very scary and violent”. While we mostly think of sociopaths as being adults, sociopathic behavior in children does occur and is a result of antisocial personality disorders. Let’s start with some definitions. The National Institute of Mental Health provides this definition: Antisocial personality disorder is defined by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) as “…a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.” People with antisocial personality disorder may disregard social norms and laws, repeatedly lie, place others at risk for their own benefit, and demonstrate a profound lack of remorse. It is sometimes referred to as sociopathic personality disorder, or sociopathy. According to Mayoclinic.org: Antisocial personality disorder symptoms may begin in childhood and are fully evident for most people during their 20s and 30s. Children at risk exhibit the following risk factors: • Bullying • Conflict with peers, family members and authority figures • Stealing • Cruelty to people and animals • Fire starting and vandalism • Use of weapons • Sexual assault • Repeated lying • Problem behaviors in school and poor academic performance • Gang involvement • Running away from home Although the precise cause of antisocial personality disorder isn’t known, certain factors seem to increase the

Read more

Surviving a Dysfunctional Family

Growing up with an alcoholic or substance abusing parent can be chaotic and unpredictable. Rules and expectations can change on a daily basis. Children are to be seen but not heard. Any expression of your feelings is forbidden or ignored. And, there is absolutely NO talking about the elephant in the room…the parents’ addiction! This leaves children feeling insecure, frustrated and angry. Moving toward adulthood this can cause difficulties with relationships where honest emotional expression is key. Children of substance abusers are also at risk for developing their own problems with addictions. Growing up with a parent who is chronically mentally ill or disabled, sets up a situation where the family responsibilities fall to the older children. From a young age they may be called upon to care take their younger siblings, get food on the table, and attend to adult responsibilities. This often leaves them feeling inadequate and guilty, and those feelings can follow them in to adulthood. Growing up with the helicopter parent who is overly controlling and overly involved, can leave a child feeling resentful, inadequate and powerless. These parents try to control and dominate everything their children are involved with. As adults, children raised this way can have difficulty making their own decisions. Growing up with a parent who is verbally or physically or sexually abusive leaves the deepest scars. Verbal abuse can be very direct such as criticism or belittling, or it can be more subtle, such as put-downs disguised as humor. Physical abuse can be disguised as “discipline” but creates an environment of fear, terror and anger. Children who grow up in an environment of verbal and physical abuse have difficulties developing feelings of trust and safety as adults. Growing up with sexual abuse can carry feelings of self-loathing, shame and worthlessness. Children with

Read more

A Love-Hate Relationship With Food

Compulsive eating is my greatest enemy, but it is also my greatest friend. Both my parents are alcoholics. Living with a mom who is a screamer and a dad who is passive-aggressive drove me to food for comfort. Mom was a compulsive eater too. After her nightly fights with dad, she would retreat to her bedroom with a bag of chips, a box of crackers and two liters of soda. My parents weren’t there for me because they were too wrapped up in their own problems. At least I could always predict and rely on the comfort of a macaroni and cheese casserole. ~This story comes from “Maura” who shared her story about compulsive eating on the Internet. Compulsive overeating, also referred to as binge eating, is a serious eating disorder that carries with it both physical and emotional complications. “Maura” posted that she suffered with depression, muscle aches, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome and stretch marks. She wrote, “None of that is as bad as the inner pain, the low self-esteem, the shame, the isolation and the embarrassment” that her compulsive overeating have caused her. There are qualified professionals available to help. One effective program is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It can help binge-eaters learn to challenge the distorted beliefs and thoughts they have related to food. Becoming more aware and mindful of their desires, uncomfortable feelings and urges that drive them to overeat begins the process toward change. CBT helps people like “Maura” find a way to “sit with” the uncomfortable feelings that drive them to eat instead of judge them. It helps to replace their unhealthy urges with new, healthier eating behaviors. “Maura” has found hope and is making progress. She is learning to love herself and treat herself better and you can too. Take the first step

Read more

Toxic Family Members, When Enough is Enough

The three brothers have such a deep history of not getting along that Tee, my radio talk show caller, was concerned there could be a fist-fight at their mothers funeral. Digging deeper in to the story of this family tension, it was uncovered that for years the mother had been pitting the brothers against each other. It was an interesting revelation in to the roles of what I want to call, Toxic Family Members. We’ve heard it said before that we don’t get to pick our family. So true. Who wouldn’t like to re-birth in to royalty; what girl doesn’t want to be a princess, what guy a prince? If you’re royalty, even if there is family dysfunction, at least there are the crown jewels to hide behind! When it comes to toxic family members, you know who they are. They’re the ones that everyone puts up with and make excuses for, the ones who create all the drama and discord. You dread seeing them at the family functions and maneuver around the buffet table in an attempt to avoid talking to them. They are the ones who’ve lost jobs, friends and respect by their peers for just plain being selfish, or nasty, or critical, or royal jerks…there’s a little piece of family royalty for you…the royal in your family may be a “royal” jerk? So, when is enough, enough? When is it time to cut ties with those toxic family members? First, let’s review the typical evolution of dissolution. (Evolution of dissolution? How’s that for a little rhyming ditty?…) You’ve spent years in conflict trying to figure out how to fix things. You’ve complained incessantly to your friends. You’ve had other family members try to mediate. You’ve wondered why you’ve been the target of this toxic family member. You’re

Read more