Thursday, September 22, 2011
"Just wait til your father gets home!" - Good Cop/Bad Cop Discipline while Co-parenting
A few months back, I wrote about a single mother of (what I believe is) a 6 year old narcissist-in-training.
He is her only child and she spoils him completely rotten. She encourages him to have girlfriends, even at his young age, and believes he can do no wrong. She shares halftime custody with her ex-husband and is newly married to a man who has a teen son.
Recently, she was concerned about the punishment her ex-husband doles out to their son. When their son gets in trouble at school, he gets spanked by his father/her ex. She, however, doesn't punish the child at all. In fact, I've been witness to her losing complete control over the child and then calling her ex-husband for assistance.
Her ex is a good man. He is there when she needs him and is obviously someone who cares both for his son and for his ex-wife's well-being. He is the "heavy", the disciplinarian... and she is the coddler. He works with his child to face his fears, like swimming (as an example), whilst she'd never take a life jacket off of him.
I imagine it's a good balance... and I suppose it would be if they were still married. After all, I know I often heard, "What until your dad gets home!" It was then I knew I'd be spanked for sure. Dad was the bad cop and Mom was the good cop.
The problem I've noticed, however, is that their son is playing the victim role for his mom really well. He gets very dramatic about every scratch, knowing she'll nurse and attend to him. When he is with his father, however, he's a tough guy, playing the role I'd expect from a growing boy filled with testosterone. He's figured out this game and he plays it very well.
Last week, she complained that their 6 year old son is not controlling his behavior at school. She is finally at her wit's end. Her new husband doesn't want to be the bad guy so guess what they chose to do?
They called her ex-husband to come over and spank the child.
I was surprised because, to hear her talk, she sounds very anti-spanking. You'd think her ex was an awful dad for spanking and punishing the child, the way she tells it. But I've seen EACH of them with this child and trust me, this kid gets treated like a prince!
So now, because she wants to save face with her child, she calls her ex to come over during her custodial time to discipline the child?!
I don't know. I know it's not my business but if there's one thing that irks me, it's when people won't discipline their children. This isn't a spanking-vs-not-spanking discussion at all. To me, it's plain and simple...
When it's YOUR time with the children, YOU must discipline them, be both the bad AND good cop... you can't call your ex a bad guy one day (to your son!) and then the next day threaten the child with the same bad guy.
Would LOVE to know your thoughts about this....