After all the helicopter, pilot and satellite parenting here comes another “ Good Cop, Bad Cop Parenting.”I wonder why today parenting is covered with lots of complexities, confusion and doubts. All the above names given to parenting seem to be out of this world and simply beyond the understanding of a common man. The high speed technology and consistent performance pressure has opened doors and made parenting burdensome. Nevertheless we can sort out ways and learn how to walk the aisle and transform this journey from complex to simple.
How many you have come across game changing situations when our parents disagree with each other’s opinions concerning discipline of their children. I suppose in every home, we have these episodes playing daily. A child’s basic instinct is to support the parent who always support him and says ‘Yes’ every time he asks for something and label the other parent as a ‘Bad Cop’, or may be something else as per their dictionary.
The other day I was getting dressed up for my friend’s marriage. My little son (Jai) entered the room and started playing with lipsticks. I got furious and told him “You don’t have any other work? You have spoiled all these and now who is going to pay for this? Do you think that money grows on trees? Blah Blah … . Suddenly his Daddy entered the battle zone and tried to cool me saying that it’s okay, stay calm. I will buy you another. It’s your mistake, you shouldn’t have left your precious lipsticks out for the baby to reach them.
From that day on wards I have been crowned as Bad Mommy while Daddy enjoying the title of Good Cop. You see how certain circumstances put us into this Good Cop and Bad Cop dance.
Personally, I believe in this journey of parenthood it is not possible to act ‘Good’ all the times. It’s okay to be not good at times but then, when this Good Cop, Bad Cop parenting takes extreme turns, it becomes a matter of concern. As parents we tend to scribble over various issues in order to discipline them, even the fundamental one’s like whether your child will sleep with you today in your bed as he didn’t clean up his room and it was all messed up, when the strict Dad returned from office. So he strictly told him that he will not be entertained. Poor mother did not like this at all and disagreed with him.
In this competition of arguments, fights and not approving of each other’s opinions and after the winner takes it all (either the mommy or the daddy), the child feels perplexed as to whom to trust because he has never seen his daddy reacting this way formerly. Moreover, it upsets the two spouses as they themselves start feeling guilty in such a situation.
Note: One the child learn this trick of distinguishing between Good Cop, Bad Cop parenting, it has a profound effect in their life. Chances are that they may even display or use these words in front of public or anyone and make us feel embarrassed. He may simply enjoy the fireworks after all the binge watching.
So what is the impact Good Cop, Bad Cop Parenting?
Ideally when parents act as good Cop and Bad Cop the child considers this type of dynamic as a way to flutter out of his responsibilities as quoted in the above examples.
According to a Well Known Life skills Counselor Gurmeet Kaur, based in Yamuna agar who is also the Director of “ Mummy Papa Ki Pathshala” from a very young age, it can be as young as four months of age – children start reading parental reactions to their own and gain expertise in emotional manipulation. It’s normal, self –preserving instinct that each one of us is born with. You see this in action every time a child cries, a parent magically appears. This consistency and predictability in parental responses to attention seeking stimuli- either manufactured or real – is a stabilizing force during the child’s formative years. And inconsistency can be harmful.
In addition to this, frequent disagreements take a toll on your marriage it becomes a matter of deep concern. Children get mixed messages as to which behavior is appropriate and they also start feeling guilty as they think that they might be the cause of conflict between their parents.
The question is now what should we do? For Good Cop, Bad Cop parenting:
What can be done about it so that we are at peace with our family and children?
We should work on improving both the styles rather than pinpointing and correcting them.
- First make a list of all those areas that you are great at. Like Manners/behavior.
- Start small with no negotiable. Pick three things that are really important to you. Set the rules and consequences. For example: If parents are facing issues regarding tidiness or lack thereof, one of the best approach could be that your child needs to pick up his toys by the lunch time and dinner time every day. Anything that isn’t picked up, will be taken care by Mom and dad. In this way, they will surely follow the rules that you have set up as they are aware of its consequences also. And also the fact that you and your partner are also equally participating creating a much stronger bond between all the three.
Agreeing on a unified front:
It must be learnt, that parents are not Cops rather learners and teachers of their child. Creating a hotspot through our endless squashes on how to control their children is not at all fruitful in any sense. In order to make it lucrative, the very first step would be to work out on a common ground. Even if you don’t agree to your partner’s opinion, never show it in front of your child. Always act that you both have the same thought and then later on when the child is not around, very calmly you can discuss this matter with your spouse in detail. This will give an open space for discussion and you will definitely come out with a solution.
We believe that no parent wants to fall into this category of Bad Cop parenting, because somewhere deep down we know that it hurts our children and stresses them emotionally. The holistic stability and the complete environment gets polluted. However, through consistent patience, practice and determination we can easily keep behind this discipline debate and nurture out as complete transformers.
Happy Parenting with Budding Star
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- Why Parents Should Not Follow Good Cop Bad Cop Parenting? - July 10, 2017