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Are You The Good Cop Or The Bad Cop In Your Home?

posted 8 years 9 months ago
This is such a common parenting dilemma that is played out in almost every home. When I read this article I knew that I just had to share it with other parents.

If you and your spouse take opposing roles in dealing with your kids, you’re not alone. Many parents take on the roles of “good cop” and “bad cop” in the family. For instance, Dad is the kid’s best buddy, and mom is the nag. Or dad is strict and mom is a sympathizer.

Which “cop” is right? And should you be a cop at all?

I see two problems with the notion of good cop/bad cop parenting. First, is the very idea that somebody has to be a “cop” all the time. Parents don’t need to be cops. They simply need to be coaches and teachers for their children.

Second, what’s really happening when parents become good cops and bad cops is that the kids have learned to split their parents. The area of the split is where kids go to get out of meeting their responsibilities.

For example, Tommy goes to mom and says, “Dad’s making me clean my room before we go to the mall.” Or he says to mom, “Why do I have to clean my room? Dad doesn’t make me do it.” When your child makes complaints like this, both parents have to be supportive of each other. You have to be able to say, “These are the rules Dad and I both have, and you have to do it or you’re going to be held responsible for the consequences.” Then turn around and walk away. That’s it. Give simple statements of support. The more unified you are as parents, the more likely your child is to complete his responsibilities, because he doesn’t have another way out. The only way out is to act responsibly and do what’s asked of him.

But what if you don’t really agree with what Dad is asking Tommy to do? If you have a problem with a rule or limit your spouse sets or a request that’s being made of your kid, don’t make a face. Don’t sigh. And, by all means, don’t argue with your spouse about the issue in front of the child…or even indicate that you are going to argue. Just tell your child he has to do what’s been asked of him. Then talk with your spouse later, after the kids have gone to bed and out of earshot. This is important, because kids pick up on non-verbal cues from their parents a lot more than you think. If your child sees that you disagree with what’s being asked of him, he’ll bring up the issue again and again, to split you and your spouse and to avoid meeting the responsibility.

Simple statements of support work when you use them consistently. When Tommy complains that Dad won’t let him play Runescape before he does his homework, and you say, “Your father said you can’t play Runescape until you do your homework. That’s the rule,” you can bet Tommy will stop trying to split you and your spouse.

This article has been written by James Leman, author of The Total Transformation Program and has been reprinted here with permission.

posted 8 years 9 months ago
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haha im definately the bad cop!! me and mark have very similar thoughts and rules, but with me being at home 24/7 with Kailey and Mark being away at work all day, he wants to come home and play with her and give in to everything, and by then, ive become monster mum!! it's pretty easy though... Kailey's seems to listen to me generally, unless she is ready for bed!!

Although i haven't gotten to the 'but dad said i could do this' stage, she still has her ways of dividing us!! She's figured us out already!!

posted 8 years 8 months ago
i would agree with that LOL

posted 8 years 8 months ago
yeah thats right but most parents do not want to use physical punishment as a form of discipline. A child that lives in an abusive environment is likely to grow up and either be abusive themselves or have severe social, emotional, physical and cognitive delays in development. Parents' disciplinary methods serve as strong models to children that teach them how to deal with life's day-to-day challenges. It is important for parents to model appropriate behavior and to establish expectations as well as limits. Children have a right to live in a safe, secure and nurturing environment, and their dignity must be respected. Parents must consistently use fair and logical consequences whenever children fail to follow rules. They must keep in mind that a child is not a miniature adult, but only a child and that discipline must be age appropriate and fit the child's temperament and maturity.

posted 8 years 8 months ago
We each take turns in playing good and bad cops. Keeps the kids guessing and then they can't play to our weaknesses! I'm good cop when it comes to giving in to 'fun' things, bad cop when their bedrooms are a mess. We'er both bad cop when they're fussy at dinner time. DH is good cop when it comes to staying up past bed time!

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