Where Every Family Matters

Stop Making One Parent Always the “Bad Cop”

Tweak your parenting skills with easy tips that will bring out more of your kids' gorgeous smiles.

With two parents holding the reins to discipline, there are bound to be differences. A Nashville parent recently asked for advice from the Fatherly’s resident parenting expert, Patrick A. Coleman, about a situation where one parent is always playing the “bad cop.”

“You may be surprised to hear that the problem may not simply lay in your difference of discipline styles,” says Coleman. “In fact, if you feel you are continually forced to be the bad guy, then the issue may lay deeper in the relationship with your wife. It’s could be time to have a serious talk.”

Which is what every parent should do when confronting a child on the discipline front. However, if you see that one parent is always the “bad cop,” and you’re ready for a change, try these five parenting tips from author Cathy Glass, author of Happy Kids: The Secret to Raising Well-Behaved, Contented Children (Harper). They could help make your kids (and you) all-around happier on a daily basis.

1) PARENTING — Be consistent: Consistency between parents and other family caregivers is important because children learn how to be in the world by observing the behavior of the people around them. The more consistent the message, the more stable the child. If you and your spouse make house rules, for instance, be sure you enforce them. Your kids should know there are certain rules that aren’t breakable (such as not hitting siblings, no playing with balls in the house).

2) PARENTING — Be united with your spouse: Parents must stick together for discipline to work. Consequences must be agreed upon and must be appropriate to the situation.

3) PARENTING — Sort out conflicts: If your children were fighting, but you weren’t around to see it yet they’ve come to you, listen compassionately to each child but refrain from taking sides. Instead, focus on helping them come to a resolution.

4) PARENTING — To discipline kids effectively, make sure the consequences are appropriate and related to the event that created them: For instance, if your child screams and throws a toy, remove your child from the play area and talk to him, rather than taking away his television privileges for a week.

5) PARENTING — If you find that you are losing patience with your children, take a moment to regroup: Breathe in and out slowly. Discipline kids by teaching them a better way, rather than yelling at blaming or shaming them.

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