This is the type of approach to parenting that drives me crazy. The bad cop is always the primary carer of the children and the good cop may come in the form of the other parent, who dips in and out, a grandparent or other relative or even a child care professional.
Us bad cops are not really bad at all, we are just with our children all the time, day and night and therefore trying to maintain a consistent parenting approach around the clock. We might sound like nags to the rest of you but really we are just trying to keep the peace, instill some boundaries, discipline and routine, among the fun and frolics.
So when you think it is unreasonable that we raised our voice when one on the children threw their food on the floor, when your response was “oh dear, never mind” please remember that whilst that might have been the first time you have witnessed that behaviour, it is likely to be about the 20 something time we have picked up food from the floor, or chiseled it off the walls that week.
Whilst treats are fine and flexes to a routine necessary to enjoy various different things, please remember that the bad cop has to get things back to ‘normal’ at some stage.
One of the most unfair things the good cop does begins in simply playing with a child. As the good cop might not get the opportunity to do this very often, play can quickly escalate to winding a child up and the bad cop is then required to intervene and ‘fix’ the situation.
As a child I don’t ever remember a divided opinion when it came to asking my parents something, they always at least said, that they thought the same.
For a child it is very confusing to hear mixed messages from parents. This can also lead to dishonesty and manipulation later on. I remember a few of my school friends saying they always asked one parent something as they knew the other would say no.
Are you in a good cop/bad cop situation? Which one are you? Are you sabotaging another persons approach without realising?