August 17, 2011

Wait until your father gets home! Oh wait....

I remember my mom yelling "Wait until your father gets home!" if she really wanted to scare the crap out of us when me and my brother misbehaved.

It's not like my dad beat us or anything.  But he was the parent who doled out the spankings.  He also had and still has a deep, thick New York-Italian accent that could make you wonder if you'd be "sleeping with the fishes" instead of in your own bed.

Basically, when there was a good cop-bad cop dynamic being played in my home, mom was the good cop and dad was often the bad cop.

(I remember my mom would try and play bad cop by taking a wooden spoon out of the drawer and threatening to hit us with it.  And I can still remember the day we all realized she would never actually use it.)

At the time, it seemed like all of my friends had the same dynamic playing in their homes.  They could get away with all kinds of stuff with their mom.  But they would be in big trouble if their dad found out.

Now it seems like times have changed.

I talk with my fellow mommy friends and it seems like the dads are often the softies and the moms are becoming more of the disciplinarians.

I'm not saying this is bad or good. Just different. 

Could the shift in "traditional" roles be because moms are more likely to be home longer with the kids during the day? 
Or could it be because once dad IS home, mom cannot relinquish her role as the disciplinarian?

While I do not think a good cop-bad cop dynamic is needed in all households, I do feel a little fear of punishment (by either parent) can go a long way in keeping a child out of real trouble.

1 comment:

  1. The perception that fathers have somehow become "soft" because they don't run around the house screaming and yelling while wielding a leather belt or wooden paddle is wrong.

    While I agree that being dad sometimes includes being the "bad guy" let me give you a dad perspective for a minute. I walk in the door from work to hear my wife telling my child "dads home, your in trouble now..." Ok, fine. I brace myself for the life altering news. Thinking to myself...i wonder if she set her room on fire, maybe she spray painted the dog or killed the computer.. But no, what do I hear instead...."Your daughter just stained her new dress". OK?..and what exactly am I supposed to do about this?

    Don't get me wrong, I get it. This is a less than desirable behavior. However, please keep in mind that sometimes the compounding of a days events can be overwhelming and effect perspective. It can.

    Now what I, the "bad cop", am being asked is to huff and puff (as if I give a crap) to appease my wife in support of a situation that while less than ideal, I really don't think is that big a deal. I just don't. I'm sorry.

    My point is simple. If you want a bad cop show me a criminal.

    There will be plenty of opportunities (if our kids are anything like us) that will require strong responses. When those happen you'd better believe I intend to have retained as much intimidation as possible for real behavior modification. If I start huffing and puffing over every little situation my daughter gets herself into (and there are plenty)she will simply look at me and laugh the next time I tell her it's not okay to post You Tube videos of setting the spray painted dog on fire.. and I just can't have that.