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Is it uninvolved or permissive parenting for the following:when a 7,8,9 year old child must make their own school lunch, use the clothes washer and dryer, has no table manners, is slovenly dressed for school and is allowed to make her own dinner when the one provided isn't to her liking.

Jill Urbane, The Mentor Mom

Interesting question, Bobbi. It is hard to say without more information about the parents role (or lack thereof). Is the parent supervising/keeping an eye on these activities and giving feedback, e.g., "Honey, that shirt has a stain on it. Let's go upstairs and see if we can find a clean one" or "Let me see what you packed in your lunch. Great, you've got a sandwich, drink and some fruit. Well done!" If the parent is providing no feedback/interaction, it would be indicative of the uninvolved parenting style. A permissive parent, on the other hand, would be more likely to do these things for their child or let the child do what they want, e.g., have nothing but sweets in their lunch, etc.

The key difference between the two styles is really the attachment. The uninvolved parent has no interest in parenting. They do not feel that connection to their child whereas the permissive parent loves and is involved in their child's life, however, they don't provide limits, e.g., they may let their child talk to them in a disrespectful tone, eat when and where they want, etc.

I'm not sure if I answered your question, Bobbi. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. Thanks for swinging by my site!


My boyfriend's ex-wife is an extremely uninvolved parent practically begging him to take the kids anytime he's available / not working to support them all. He takes them as frequently as he's available. Yet she has told him that if he were to miss a weekend she will ask him to pay for child care fees during that time.
The 7 year old (eldest of three boys(others are 4&3)) is acting out in school and telling the father he hates him and doesn't want to spend time with him. The younger boys are fine so far (were raised primarily by a nanny who taught them good manners and now go to daycare / preschool).
I believe that if the boys had boundaries and discipline in their custodial home (and hopefully no negative influences about their father) things would calm down a bit.
Is there a resource that would encourage more hands-on involvment by the Mother so that she realizes how essential it is to instill respect and responsibility in her boys?
The father would like to be consistent in discipline methods but since there are none established he's worried the boys will resent him if they are only given boundaries 2 days a week, by him.

The Mentor Mom

That is a great question, Katherine. It is always beneficial if the expectations regarding children's behavior is the same or similar between the two homes. Being on the same page as parents, even if living in different homes, can minimize children working them against each other. It also aids them in learning. There are lots of wonderful resources out there offering all sorts of methods to aid in raising responsible and respectful children. Having said that, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. His ex has to WANT to make changes and be willing to put in the work. As Dr. Phil says, "you can't change what you don't acknowledge." Good luck with this and please feel free to e-mail me if you would like to discuss further :)

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