Here’s why you should both be fighting to be the Bad Cop: Because it’s the easiest role to maintain and the one that gets the most respect. And, contrary to popular belief, the Bad Cop can still be fun.
The Good Cop, on the other hand, is the one who usually gets the least respect and is the one the kids are most likely to push and test. If you don’t have control, you have less stress-free time to enjoy the kids.
So, how do you decide who’s going to be which Cop? Those are roles you’ll naturally just fall into. Parents usually want to be the Good Cop as they see that as the more popular role, the one the kids are going to like more. That’s just not the case. It’s often the Bad Cop the kids naturally gravitate toward as they feel more security around the confident parent.
But, those roles don’t have to be at opposing sides. One parent is usually the more strict and the other more easygoing, that doesn’t mean it’s all black and white. Good Cop can easily maintain the rules and if all else fails, threaten the kids with the Bad Cop parent. They already know you’re the softer parent, it’s no secret. So let them know you’re okay with the roles you’re in and that they’re working just fine for everyone. If you get that confident attitude toward the set-up, they will quickly learn that there’s no point pushing either parent’s buttons as you’re working as a team.
Once the Bad Cop gets the boundaries clearly defined, both can relax and there are no Cops necessary, just parents working as a team. And cohesive teamwork is what makes it all work.
So, figure out your roles early on. Get a good working system set-up and never oppose one another in front of the kids. The hard work will be those first 3-4 years then you’ll just coast along as a cohesive team for about 10-12 years. What happens next? The Good Cop, Bad Cop routine is usually necessary again … but that’s another article.
Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach (email: email@example.com OR phone: 604-944-7479)