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FlyingWolf's avatar

Parents, do you find it is easier for you to be the good cop or the bad cop?

Asked by FlyingWolf (2815points) May 4th, 2014

I am much more inclined to want to be the good cop. I feel like my husband and I have a pretty good balance because the he doesn’t even know the meaning of the term good cop. Are you more suited to one?

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13 Answers

whitenoise's avatar

We have no cops in our house as parents.

We definitely don’t play good cop / bad cop. We try to be aligned in our approach to our children and aim to not create forum shopping opportunities for them.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@whitenoise I am not insinuating that we are not united in our parenting or that my children go “forum shopping” for opportunities. You are misunderstanding the question, and your response carries an unpleasant judgmental tone. I am asking about one parenting taking a more firm tone than the other.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@FlyingWolf The good cop / bad cop dynamic is a deliberate manipulation of a person who isn’t in on the joke, to provoke a desired outcome. You will therefore receive some answers that assume you are playing mind games with your kids. Perhaps adding some qualifying comments to your details would prevent this, and get you the answers you seek.

hominid's avatar

@FlyingWolf – I am even opposed to good cop/bad cop nonsense in law enforcement, and can’t imagine that having anything to do with parenting. Did you have a different thing in mind? There are no cops in my house.

whitenoise's avatar


I actually think I understood your question perfectly well.

If one of you is ‘the nice cop’ and the other one the bad one, then from your children’s point of view you are not aligned.

(My wife and I will standard ask ‘what did your mama say?’ (Or daddy, if so applicable.))

If you are aligned as you say and this is therefor a deliberate game, I suggest you reconsider. You risk alienating your child from one of you. On top, it doesn’t feel too good with me to play such a kind of game with them.

I must admit I admire your consciously thinking about this approach and asking for advice. I always tried to be open for other people’s experience based advice. Raising children comes with a lot of uncertainty, no manuals and a lot of contradicting advice.

Follow your heart in sincerity and don’t trust too much on anybody (including me and you) that thinks to know the perfect approach.

And sorry if my previous reply seemed unfriendly; I had no bad intentions. Just writing too quickly for nuance.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@whitenoise I wasn’t asking for advice. I was wanting to start a discussion about the fact that there are some parents who are better equipped to take a stern tone and others who are more laid back in their tone. Based on the responses so far, that was clearly a mistake. It isn’t playing games, it is about the reality of different personalities coming into play in the way parents interact with their children.

whitenoise's avatar

Then you may want to ask the mods to allow you to redact the question.

The good cop / bad cop thing normally isn’t about what cop in real life is friendly or nasty, it is a game aimed at manipulating the one interrogated. Choosing that theme just misdirects people.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I could have sworn someone just said that. :P

turtlesandbox's avatar

I would say I’m more of the good cop in the family and my husband tends to be more of a bad cop. He’s more authoritative and I’m more nurturing. We switch roles depending on the situation, and sometimes take on the same role, but it’s easier for me to take the gentler route because that’s my nature.

(It’s a shame the parenting police had to step in and piss on the Q.)

FlyingWolf's avatar

@turtlesandbox thank you! I was a little taken aback by the rush to judgment by people wanting to turn this question into a commentary on my parenting skills.

@whitenoise I spoke to the mods but as a long time member you should know that’s a long shot. @dappled_leaves I attempted to clarify the question and it did no good, just resulted in more judgment. I’ll chalk this up as a Fluther fail,.

whitenoise's avatar

Parenting police… Please…

The claim of being mistreated by judgemental people was a bit over the top, to begin with. It was a misunderstanding. No foul intended.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I’m a single parent, so I can’t be either. I have to be more like the plain clothes detective. My daughter leaves signs when she has done something wrong, but they can be very subtle. Mostly it presents like PMS. I have to find out why she feels guilty, when my only clue is her cranky behavior. Sometimes it goes quickly, sometimes it takes a while. I might have to bring up a number of topics to talk about, and notice whether any of trhem seem to stir a reaction.
Once I have her dead to rights, I have to go right to passing sentence which, of course, has to vary according to the offense.

FlyingWolf's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers what a great analogy!

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