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parenting types - permissive parenting vs attachment parenting

The Differences Between Gentle, Attachment and Permissive Parenting

We do our best as parents and don’t always realize that every situation, action and reaction we have can be embedded in our children’s memory bank. They have the potential to become certain types of people based on the way we parent, however different it may be.

3 Common Types of Parenting That Might Sound a Little Too Familiar

The following are three parenting types most people didn’t even realize had their own names: Gentle Parenting, Attachment Parenting, and Permissive Parenting.

What is Gentle Parenting?

Gentle parenting considers empathy and respect to be of high regard and is meant to keep the age of the child at the forefront. So instead of viewing a child as automatically naughty, gentle parenting likes to view them as simply needing to learn because they just don’t know or understand the situation due to their age.

gentle parenting for confident children

We all know that kids can sometimes test their parents with acts they already know are wrong. Gentle parenting will get past the act and look for the reason it was done in the first place. They understand that kids typically act out when they’re bothered or have strong feelings about something. It’s believed that a parent should give the child respect just as the parent themselves expects respect.

Gentle parenting believes that empathy is an important part of building a child’s confidence. With this comes a lot of understanding and listening, instead of telling and for many parents, yelling due to frustration.

What is Attachment Parenting?

Attachment parenting focuses significantly on the attached relationship between parent and child. It can start from a stage as early as pre-birth, helping parents understand their babies the best way possible. It encourages touch, such as baby-wearing, breastfeeding and co-sleeping, which are all believed to be very nurturing and a great way for the parents to connect with their baby.

Attachment parenting is often a controversial topic in the parenting universe, because it is seen as the key component to a child growing up and knowing whether or not that child can have normal/healthy relationships as an adult.

best attachment parenting quote

Outside of this, positive discipline that doesn’t include things such as spanking are encouraged as well. Attachment parenting urges parents to see beyond a temper tantrum as the child trying to communicate. So, instead of forcing a child to bend to your will, they suggest talking with the child and coming to a solution together with them.

There’s a worldwide educational association that identifies 8 principles for attachment parenting. It includes actions to encourage love, respect, independence, security, empathy and all the fundamental aspects of a healthy, positive lifestyle.

What is Permissive Parenting?

Permissive parenting involves a lot of nurturing with a very loving base. However, the “loving” part can sometimes be a misconception for outsiders looking in because of its relaxed style.

Have you ever threatened your child with a consequence or a punishment but never actually enforced it? Situations like this can be an example of permissive parenting. It’s when rules and expectations are set, but the guidelines are often weak and typically unenforced.

Permissive parenting often encourages the child or even reminds the child of their freedom rather than the responsibilities they hold. Kids are often calling the shots with parents sometimes believing that it’s a great way to show respect. However, it lacks any level of discipline and structure with a lot of bribing just to get the child to calm down or behave.

According to research, permissive parenting can generate negative consequences. Results show the likelihood of kids having more aggression, making poor decisions and sometimes prone to delinquency and substance abuse.

These may all be different parenting types, but they have one key component in common – love. As parents, we are all given the great ability to love our children. It just takes our special skills to help them thrive and become the adults we all hope them to be.

Karlyn Bishop

Karlyn Bishop

Karlyn Bishop is the proud mommy to little Oliver and wife to hubby. She is a resident of Laguna Beach and a big player in the web's large social media circle.


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  • i think that the way a parent reacts when a kid misbehaves says a lot. while i have no kids myself, i know i am the least patience person and my mom really deserves so much and more for all the patience she had with my brother and myself.

  • There are so many parenting styles, however, I think all parents are a mixture of each and every parenting style. I don’t think there is a a total permissive parenting parent, or a total authoritative parent. As long as we are doing what we feel is right for our child, we don’t need to be classified into a style or a group.

  • I don’t think I fall under any of these categories, which is good since I don’t want to be stereotyped as such. I’m gentle with my child, but I’m also a disciplinarian at the same time. If I need to punish my child on the very rare occasions that he misbehaves, he will get it.

  • Great topic, I think many of us try to justify one specific way of parenting to be the ONLY way, but there are several ways to do it and do it well. I’ve noticed a lot of other commenters stating they have a combination of more than one style you talk about and I think it’s really interesting to see how each is effective in its own way.

  • I fall far from permissive parenting. Respect is very important to my husband and I. I’m somewhere in there with gentle parenting because I’ll explain everything to my children in order for them to understand who what where when and why. But next time, you will be disciplined.

  • This is a big problem in our household with the kids, because my ex-husband’s fiance and me discipline the children differently. It’s a real battle for the kids, because they have to learn two sets of rules and guidelines for their dad’s house and for my house. My oldest daughter who lives with me full-time, she is way better off than some of her friends who are more spoiled and get into a lot more trouble than she does. I think being honest with your kids about life, makes them not want to do stupid things. My parents were really strict growing up, so I learned the hard way.

  • This is so interesting to read about! I am not a parent but I studied different parenting styles in my Psych class and it was interesting to see what works and what does not work as well in each style! I will definitely have to keep this in mind if I have kids!

  • I never really knew the specific differences between permissive and attachment parenting. I’m not even sure my style of parenting fits into one specific category. I tend to parent based on the child, the situation and the results I need in that moment. Great post and great insight.

  • Great post with lots of food for thought. I can certainly see aspects of each style in the way I raised my kids. Each family and child is so different. In our situation, the way I raised my daughter was far different than my son. They both have families of their own now and it’s been fun to watch them navigate the world of parenting for themselves!

  • I read over these trying to determine which category that I fall into, and I really couldn’t figure it out. I’m not really one specific type. I suppose that I am a combination of them, but I also have other parenting characteristics that are not mentioned at all.

  • I fall closer to the permissive side, but my son is far from a delinquent. 🙂 I have rules, but I explain the reason for them and strive to never make arbitrary rules just for the sake of having rules. For example, my son is allowed to play games and watch shows that a lot of other parents don’t allow, but we talked about them at great length before I allowed them. We had very long conversations about the difference between video game violence and real world violence. We discussed the difference between cartoon humor and what is appropriate in actual conversations. As a result, my son actually has an amazing moral compass. He has to, lol, I told him that if I see it slipping south, he’s back to Dora and Diego! He’s 12. 😀

  • Rearing children is a “to each their own” issue. We all see parents with their kids in stores, school functions, etc. How parents react to their kids in those settings speaks volumes to how they parent. How one parent teaches their children could be totally different than how we teach our children.