Good Cop, Bad Cop.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I always knew that the Husband and I had very different discipline styles. He, being the more laid back one was clearly going to be the "good cop." Me, the more high strung one (to put it nicely) prefers things to be a bit more orderly, calm, scheduled, which in turn means I was destined to be the "bad cop" when it comes to parenting our son. Now that the little man is in the throws of his terrible twos these different styles have become much, much, much more apparent. Much more. If the Husband is the "good cop" than that means by default I have to be the "bad cop" and the truth is I don't always want to be the bad cop. In fact, I don't ever want to be the bad one, but sadly, I don't see anyway around it.

I have recently realized that since I am the one who is with the little guy all day long, then I alone have to be the enforcer of the rules the majority of the time. As in all the rules. Those of you with kids know that if you let one thing slip just once, or let one rule be bent/ broken, then there is an extremely high likelihood that it will bent/broken FOREVER. It really doesn't matter how many times you say "no," it's the one time you say "yes" that he is going to remember (don't you just hate that?) At least that's the way things go in our house. This means that all day long I am the one who has to administer time outs, scold, take away privileges, and generally be the bad guy. Oh, how I hate this role. The Husband on the other hand gets to be the one who swoops in at 6pm to save the little man from his evil (self inflicted title) mommy. They then get to play, run around, and the little man can tell him about all the "mean" things I did to him during the day. Of course there is no need for discipline to be involved because in that hour that they are playing the little guy is always on his best behavior. 

On the weekends things change slightly. By slightly I mean when the little guy starts acting up the Husband will inform me of this fact and then I am the one who again has to step up and be the hard ass. What really gets me is that when his Daddy does scold him or in some way punish him, the little man totally listens and does exactly what he is being told to do. Not fair I say.

 I've also noticed that my "boys" have begun to team up on me. I'll see out of the corner of my eye the little man doing something he is not supposed to (like hitting for example) and the Husband will begin some kind of serious coverup (assuming no one else is involved/injured) letting the little man get away with his crime scot-free. They then have like a secret smile and a handshake and bond over the fact that they pulled one over on Mom. Where's my handshake? Where is my "team." See this is why I need a daughter too.

I suppose in every relationship someone has to be the bad guy. The alternative would be the old, "wait until your father gets home," but the last thing I would want is for the little man to dread his dad coming home given that this is his favorite part of the day. Maybe the dynamic will change, and I can assure you if we do have a daughter it will likely be the Husband who is the bad guy, especially during those trying teenage years. So I guess for now I will have to except my role as judge, jury, jail keeper, and bail bondsman but one of these days I may just have to let the little guy out early for good behavior. Of course, this will only be when it was his daddy is the one who locked him up in the first place.

Do any of you have this same issue? Wouldn't it be nice to be the good guy all the time? 

11 comments :

Anonymous said...

Ahh! I feel you, and I think it is so easy to slip into those roles. I know it is easier said than done, but you must really convince hubby to back you up on the evenings and weekends. Ideally, there is no good cop/bad cop, but parents who discipline generally the same way. Definitely not fair for you to carry all of the burden of this! But don't feel bad, I think it is a process all parents must journey through.

Jodi said...

Yeah I agree I would seriously kick my dh butt if he did that to me and I do pick battles with him. The twins do usually listen better to him however, they know i am a softy. I have noticed/caught my dd manipulating me with fake tears lately ughhhh We just started time out and 60 seconds seems like 60 minutes

Anonymous said...

Forgive me for being blunt, but your husband needs a time-out! It's his job too to parent, not just yours! Sounds like he's got it pretty good- no parental responsibilties all day,fun time at night and then when he's home all weekends, you're still solo on the discipline scene. My husband did a little of this too when we first had children. I believe, looking back, that he just wasn't sure how to handle his new role, where I had lots of practice all day. I would let it play out on the weekends- don't jump in to rescue him and do the disciplining. He's got to develop those skills himself. If he still won't parent with you, maybe it's time to have a talk about the joys of adulthood...

Yummy Mummy said...

I definitely think it's more me "jumping in" than it is him taking a step back. After posting this I am definitely more aware of this and I am going to try to back off a bit and let him take over more of the responsibility in the discipline department. I also need to let some of the little things go more and make sure everyone is on the same page as far as the rules go.

It's all a learning process isn't it? We should be a well oiled machine by the time number two ever gets here!

xoxo

KT said...

In my house I am the "heavy" and it's not just a weight reference. I'm also the closer. You know, dad mentions bedtime and it is up to me to close the deal. Great.

Jill said...

Oh god I feel your pain. But since we are home all day with our boys, we have to be the good cop/bad cop/mummy/best friend/ teacher/student/all in one.

My husband is quick to discipline, but only at certain times...my husband is a stickler for manners, esp. when it comes to women (he's trying to teach my TWO Y.O. to let mommy go up the stairs first, help me pull out my chair, etc). Very cute, but a little early, in my estimation :)```

Anonymous said...

As "cute" as he may think it is to be in cahoots with LM, your husband is teaching your son how to undermine your authority and even that it's a fun game. Big, fat, red flag. Your husband needs to enforce your rules, even if he doesn't always agree with them. If you need to confer on changing rules, do so out of earshot of the boy. Otherwise -- always, always, always a united front. This goes for you when you have a daughter. No helping her hide things from Daddy, even in the name of girl power solidarity. You'll just teaching her to be sneaky. Then when she's lying about where she is when she's 16 you'll wonder what went so wrong.

Grams said...

I remember feeling exactly the same way when mine were little. I often felt like they had their own little pact to keep things from me. But, truth be told, I did the same thing when Dad wasn't around. The real problems came when they got older and Dad wanted to ground them. IMHO grounding them also grounded me. If they couldn't go anywhere, neither could I. I finally told DH that he would have to enforce whatever punishment he set. I think whomever has to enforce should get to set the rules.

Polly said...

My husband is so soft, it drives me insane. I feel like I spend half my time scolding my husband for not scolding Ollie..

lunarossa said...

Same here, don't worry. As my husband sees the kids only in the evenings, it's easier for him to be more indulgent and I'm often considered the "bad guy", but I'm also the one the kids turned to when they have problems or they're happy, so I get my little rewards! You will alway be number one for LM because you're the mummy and there is only ONE mummy! Hugs. Ciao. A.

Callie Durbrow said...

I was the exact same way with my dad. Mom was the one that laid down the ground rules and dad was much more easy going. BUT...when he said jump, we jumped!
I guess being his only daughter helped too!