Home Australia Why “good cop, bad cop” roles for parents can end in tears and put couples at war as they try to keep their kids under control, experts reveal

Why “good cop, bad cop” roles for parents can end in tears and put couples at war as they try to keep their kids under control, experts reveal

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But one expert has warned that this approach could be bad for your relationship and that finding a

When it comes to parenting, some may decide that assigning “good cop – bad cop” roles can help keep kids under control.

But one expert has warned that this approach could be bad for the relationship and that finding a “middle ground” can be much more beneficial.

A new book, titled ‘Couples as Parents’, features interviews with experts on different aspects of raising a child.

One section features Sophie Corke, a psychotherapist who offers private couples therapy in London and Surrey.

But one expert has warned that this approach could be bad for your relationship – and that finding a “middle ground” can be much more beneficial (File image)

In it, he warns that assigning “good cop – bad cop” roles can leave parents feeling “trapped,” with each parent “angrily asserting what is ‘best’ for the children.”

“This article is based on my experience working with what I’ll call ‘good cop-bad cop’ parents,” he wrote.

‘These are couples… whose conflict centers on the management and relationship with their child or children.

‘Unlike in reasonably well-functioning families, where one or the other parent can be openly acknowledged as a ‘softie’ or parents can alternate their stance, ‘good cop-bad cop’ parents feel trapped in rigid roles… unable to see the other’s point of view.’

She said that, as is her wont, the “bad cop” is often the stay-at-home parent who feels obligated to take full responsibility for childcare.

This gives the “good cop” father the freedom to “have fun all his life,” he added.

Ms. Corke said the arguments that conflicting couples bring to her office often center on the tension between setting rules or boundaries for their child on the one hand, and following their child’s wishes on the other.

“The ‘bad cop’ parent may be characterized by the ‘good cop’ parent as overly traditional, strict or rigid,” he wrote.

She said that, as usual, the

She said that, as is her wont, the “bad cop” is often the stay-at-home parent who feels obliged to take full responsibility for childcare (File image)

‘On the contrary, the ‘bad cop’ may accuse his partner of being a coward for refusing to say ‘no’ and of spoiling his children.’

She said these roles “often evoke parents’ own experience of parenting,” and can also be a way to deal with “deep unconscious anxieties about how to be a partner as well as a parent.”

Couples in this situation should reflect on why they behave this way, have confidence in their ability as parents and strive to find a “middle ground,” she added.

“Couples who can increase their confidence in their ability to parent, while at the same time becoming more realistic about it, may come to appreciate each other more,” she concluded.

  • ‘Couples as Parents: Explorations in Couples Therapy’, written by Kate Thompson and Damian McCann, will be published on 18 July.

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