Day 20/30 – Does good cop/bad cop parenting works?

I was chit-chatting with the cousins a few weeks back about the One Day One Thought blog and talking about some of the topics that I was planning on writing. This is when my cousin Emily Quak, one of Malaysia’s top beauty YouTuber and makeup artist, suggested this topic. Credits to her for this awesome topic!

Good cop/bad cop parenting is when both parents take opposing roles when dealing with their kids. For example, the dad might be the ‘cool’ parent that is more relaxed and the mum will be the disciplinarian, or the mum might be the warm, loving parent, and the dad might be the nag.

Pardon my language, but I straight up think that the good cop/bad cop parenting is stupid, and shouldn’t be used in your interaction with kids

Have you ever realised that kids are masters of detecting and pushing boundaries? Alyssa is more demanding when she is with her grandparents because she usually gets what she wants. Throw a small fit and she gets to watch YouTube videos, fake a cry and she gets the snack that she has been eyeing for. Kids are so good at picking up verbal and non-verbal cues by adults that they even act differently in front of different people because they know who’s willing to do what and bend to their will

So if kids are so good at picking up cues, what happens when both parents take opposing stands? What happens if mum says no ice-cream and dad feeds her ice-cream behind mum’s back? Firstly, we are sending mixed messages and confusing our child. How is she supposed to know what is good for her and what is not if she gets contradicting answers on it? Secondly, children straight up needs to be taught boundaries and discipline. Parents with opposing styles aren’t the best role models to educate your child about both

Now, you might say that sometimes the good cop / bad cop thing needs to happen because one spouse does not agree with what another spouse does and takes opposing actions

No, it doesn’t (so long as the opposing actions does not involve hurting the kid)

If you don’t agree with your spouse’s action. Don’t make a face in front of your kid, don’t give a sigh, don’t give out any negative non-verbal cues. Most importantly, don’t ever argue about the issue in front of your kids. Just let what has happened happen first, and talk to your spouse about his or her actions personally, when the kids aren’t around. Settle on the middle ground or take a stand together, as a team, and communicate that to your children

I disagree with the good cop/bad cop parenting simply because it is splitting both parents into two opposing sides. I mean, aren’t we supposed to be a team? We’re here to teach our child that our family is one strong unit that is there for each another, not small fragments of opposing camps that are competing with each other.

I think parenting is less about the kid than it is about the parents. We’re lucky that both of us are one the same page that we do not want to impose our childhood believes on Alyssa and give her the chance to grow into an independent person. Alyssa shouldn’t be an extension of our unfulfilled wishes but a person on her own. End of the day, it’s Alyssa’s wellbeing that matters, not our own personal fulfillment. There’s still a lot of us to learn as parents, and we hope to do the best that we can.

On a side note – To all mothers out there, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day! No words will ever suffice for the sacrifices and endless love that you give out to your child. You are awesome!

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you if you have any parenting tips!



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