Maybe the fire alarm went off in the middle of night. Maybe the dog was sick (oh, I’ve been there…). Maybe you drank some coffee too late in the afternoon, only to pay for it at bedtime. Maybe you actually went out with your friends for once!
Tired parents become permissive
I have some bad news: whatever ruined last week's sleep also may have this week's parenting. A new study finds significant correlations between sleep problems and “permissive” parenting. Mothers who experienced sleep disruptions (or who simply slept too little) were more likely to let their teenagers off the hook for misbehavior or passively allow them to run amok.
This doesn't seem to be mere correlation, because even within demographic groups, the parents receiving less/worse sleep parent more permissively than their better-rested counterparts.
The problem with permissive parenting
What’s so bad about “permissive parenting?” Permissive families aren’t missing warmth and affection, but they’re missing responsibilities and expectations for children. Children of permissive parents are more likely to misuse alcohol and less likely to achieve in school. They eat and sleep less well, and watch more tv. Children may enjoy their freedom at times, but at other times it may make them anxious.
Sleep affects everything
Getting enough sleep isn’t enough to make you a good parent, of course. But, for such a physically & emotionally demanding task, making well-restedness a priority certainly can’t hurt. (Here’s a quick read about parenting styles)
If your children are sleeping poorly and it affects your parenting, you might consider some behavioral approaches to helping them out (no crying necessarily involved). If you’re the poor sleeper, you can start with some sleep hygiene tips too!