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Good cop, bad cop

Good cop, bad cop is a strategy we use all the time in disciplining the kids. From the onset, we agreed that we’ll rotate the roles so that it’s fair and we both get to be the good cop at some point. Because nobody wants to be the bad cop. Besides sociopaths, that is. Or masochists with a sadistic streak. But well, neither of us fall into those categories.

Unfortunately, it’s becoming quite apparent that daddy is emerging as the resident bad cop. Why? Because mommy has no backbone and she can’t keep a straight face when it comes to discipline. Also, it’s terribly weird to talk about myself in the third person.

The kids seem to sense that weakness and they have been exploiting it. They do their cute I’m-so-sorry-didn’t-mean-to-do-it move and I feel bad about being upset because they’re obviously just babies and innocent and all puppy dog eyes looking at me. That makes me immediately forget about how they spat out food all over the floor 30 seconds ago. WHILE I’M STILL STANDING IN THE SPITTLE. I’m such a cliche.

So now whenever we do good cop bad cop, Kelvin gets to be the bad cop while I dangle bribes of ice-cream and Yakult. It never works though and I don’t even know why I bother.

Me: Tru, if you finish your food mommy will let you have a scoop of ice-cream.


Me: I meant you have to FINISH your food first.

Tru: I’m all done. Give me ice-cream!!!

Me: No, you’re not done. You can’t be done if you haven’t even started.

Tru: ICE CREAM!!!!

That goes on for a while until he grabs his head and slumps onto the table, which is his sign for “I don’t care about your stupid ice-cream anyway. It’s not worth having to swallow this broccoli for.

That’s me wasting 15 minutes of my life trying to bargain with a two-year-old.

So it’s the cue for bad cop to step in.

Kelvin: Tru, open your mouth, say ahhhhh.

Tru: No, don’t like.

Kelvin: Do you like the naughty corner?

Tru: No, don’t like.

Kelvin: I’m going to count to three and if you don’t eat by the time I get to 3, you know where you’re going to. 1…2…

And it works like a charm. Once in a while he tries his luck and ends up in the naughty corner. Daddy says it’s about consistency, which I have none of. I keep trying to find excuses to cut him some slack, to not have to put him in the naughty corner because it breaks momma’s tender little heart to see him cry.

If this goes on I’ll be the kind of mother that has to leave the discipline to their husbands and the best they can do is pull out their killer phrase “wait till daddy gets home” whenever the kids start becoming bratty. But that won’t work very well for me because by the time daddy gets home, I’ll have a VERY LONG list of things, some of which I’m likely to forget.

I think I better start lessons on being a bad cop before Kirsten gets smarter and I get eaten alive by TWO kids with innocent baby eyes.

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  • Reply Lazymummy June 8, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I’m more heartless then, I won’t think twice in sending Chloe to naughty corner if there’s a need. ;)
    .-= Lazymummy´s last blog ..Kiasu much?? =-.

    • Reply Daphne June 8, 2010 at 12:41 pm

      @Lazymummy, you’re not heartless, just VERY wise and decisive in not wanting to get eaten alive!

      • Reply Lazymummy June 8, 2010 at 3:40 pm

        I do have weak moments too, that is when hubby will step in.
        Like you say, staying united is very important, tough no doubt but we just have to try our best.
        .-= Lazymummy´s last blog ..Kiasu much?? =-.

  • Reply Tin June 8, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Haha, we are opposite. I’m the bad cop while daddy is the good one.
    .-= Tin´s last blog ..Life of a SAHM =-.

    • Reply Daphne June 8, 2010 at 1:50 pm

      @Tin, hahah that’s good, hey it requires a lot of self-control to keep a straight face.

  • Reply Hendra June 8, 2010 at 11:14 am

    :) … I am always the bad cop at home. But sometimes, I do feel bad after that. But I know that I do it for her own good.
    .-= Hendra´s last blog ..What To Shoot In Singapore – Marina Bay =-.

    • Reply Daphne June 8, 2010 at 1:51 pm

      @Hendra, Men quite poor thing like that. But i think if you discipline fairly it’ll be alright.

  • Reply YH June 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Nothing is worst than when you trying to play the bad cop and the husband scold you in front of your children. Making them all confused and losing their respect for you.

    • Reply Daphne June 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm

      @YH, oh dear, I’m so sorry to hear that. It’s best to present a united front to the kids and sort out other issues privately so as to avoid confusion, like what you said. I hope things can be worked out between the both of you.

    • Reply leslie June 13, 2010 at 6:50 am

      I have experienced this too before. Instead of supporting you, the hubby just stand there and critisize.

      • Reply YH June 18, 2010 at 9:41 pm

        @leslie, that happens to me all the time. I have learnt “selective listening”. There is no point quarreling with the husband. The children may think it’s alright to shout at people if they like.

        • Reply Anonymous June 19, 2010 at 10:27 am

          @YH, I salute you, YH, for putting the children first…i know how hard it can be to refrain from arguing at that point in time. Do you actually talk it out with hubby later? Sometimes i find it sian to bring it up again…

  • Reply Kam June 8, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    There is no bad cop in our household. No naugthy corner. No disciplining, yet. Maybe till my boy is 3, then we start to discipline him. Right now, it’s all talking and reasoning with him.

    But yes, totally agree, both dad and mum must be on the same page when comes to child rearing.

    • Reply Daphne June 8, 2010 at 4:44 pm

      @Kam, how do you do it?? I mean, kids will be kids right, would they respond to just talking and reasoning alone? It hasn’t worked for me for sure. Do share. I’m sure all the mommies here want to know your secret!!

      • Reply leslie June 9, 2010 at 9:27 am

        @Daphne, I’ve read somewhere that if parents try to shout to or correct toddlers from a distance, they will learn to ignore you and treat you as background noise as time passes. But if you go up close to him, make him look into your eyes while you talk at normal tone to him (and keeping a stern face), you are more likely to make him correct his act.

        Altho’ this didn’t work like a miracle but at least it’s one way to hold his attention while reasoning with him. But then again, how much reason goes into the 2yr old is another matter…

        • Reply Daphne June 9, 2010 at 1:08 pm

          @leslie, Ya Kel usually takes him to one corner, squares Tru’s shoulders straight up, looks him in the eye and tells him off without even having to really raise his voice.

          It works well, although I kinda need a clone or a doppelganger of sorts to do it when i’m alone with the both of them since the other will be thronging me to death as well.

      • Reply Kam June 9, 2010 at 11:39 am

        @Daphne, It’s talking/reasoning + distracting.

        We agreed from the beginning that before our kids know and understand how things work around them, before they understand how we adults think, and before they acknowledge and are able to follow the rules that we adults set for them, it’s not fair to start disciplining them. So it’s talking + reasoning + distracting for now. We adults think kids should do this and this, and shouldn’t do that and that. But children don’t think the same way as us. I don’t think it’s fair to punish the kids just because they don’t think the same way like us.

        Okay, I admit, sometimes we kinda lost it and start to get really angry and mad, in that situation, the other person has to take over quickly and usually this can soothe the kids effectively.

        Two years old is not too young to reason with them. They may not answer you and you may think he doesn’t get what you are saying, but you would be surprised that they actually ARE listening. Take one example, we were trying to get my boy into brushing his teeth. He refused to, and we didn’t force him. But we kept telling him if you don’t brush your teeth, there will be bugs in your mouth and your teeth gone bad and you cannot eat your favourite food. Then suddenly one day, he told us he wants to brush his teeth because he doens’t want to have bugs in his mouth! It took months.

        We don’t force the kids to do things. We follow their lead. For example, if they don’t want to eat thier lunch/dinner, so be it. When they are hungry, they will ask for food.

        Okay. Sometime we use food to bribe also. That’s when we are running out of patient/time/energy to do the talking/reasoning. So far, it’s been okay.

        I wrote a post about disciplining a few months back, just to share – http://babyhaore.blogspot.com/2009/11/terrible-twos-and-discipline.html

        • Reply Daphne June 9, 2010 at 2:23 pm

          @Kam, I agree that two years is two young for reasoning. To be fair to the guy Tru does listen especially for the really serious offenses. Just that there are times when he flaunts the rules and I’m tempted to go a little further. Don’t have the heart to cane him yet though.

  • Reply Jus June 8, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    We’re the opposite… I tend to be the bad cop. Perhaps its the teacher training that’s to blame… But I’ve been guilty of the food bribe thing… For us its raisins and vitagen, heh!

    Hang in there, I’m sure the discipline thing will work itself out as you figure out the tricks up their sleeves!
    .-= Jus´s last blog ..Weekend wonderings: Opposites attract? =-.

    • Reply Daphne June 8, 2010 at 5:24 pm

      @Jus, oh i see the problem now. I should have tried VITAGEN and not YAKULT. No wonder it didn’t quite work =).

  • Reply sunflower June 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    I am the devil mum and consistency is the key.

    Today, I went provision shop with Yvette even though it’s raining. She asked me to hold her biscuit but I got no more hand. (One hand carrying her cos floor was just too wet for her. Another hand with all the things I brought.) She wasn’t too happy that I didn’t take her request and threw her biscuit. I put her down, asked her to walk, to pick up the biscuit. (Some biscuits were on the floor that I can’t let her pick up and moreover it’s still raining. After doing all these, I didn’t want to carry her anymore and pulled her hand, we walked. On our way back, I told her, she will be put at the naughty corner and I really did. Althought she never cried but I can tell she know she is wrong and feel sorry for her act.)
    .-= sunflower´s last blog ..More Experiences with Woodlands Waterfront =-.

    • Reply Daphne June 9, 2010 at 12:51 am

      @sunflower, I think we must say what we mean and mean what we say. That way the kids will know MAMA means business.

      Although, easier said then done, as usual!

      • Reply sunflower June 9, 2010 at 12:56 am

        @Daphne, Hey exactly. And I believe you can do it if not you will really kena eaten alive by TWO kids with innocent baby eyes.

        Remember consistency is the KEY!

        P/S: Perhaps I study accounting, learning consistency in adopting some accounting rules over certain accounting treatment are important but well never too late to learn this!

        .-= sunflower´s last blog ..More Experiences with Woodlands Waterfront =-.

  • Reply b June 8, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    you are a hoot and i have the exact same situation going at home: husband is right, consistency is the key but women are somehow diseased with inconsistency. with my boys, my husbands only has to give the WORD and the kids magically become like obedient little lambs, leaving me feeling relieved but so redundant.
    .-= b´s last blog ..You give me fever; freezer paper fever =-.

    • Reply b June 8, 2010 at 10:54 pm

      oh, actually i only have one husband la :P
      .-= b´s last blog ..You give me fever; freezer paper fever =-.

    • Reply Daphne June 9, 2010 at 12:38 am

      @b, Hahaha yes I think in Singapore it’s illegal to have more than one spouse (though frankly i haven’ bothered to google that).

      I think its just the sheer aura that men have, they’re obviously bigger-sized, have that deep commanding voice, plus they only come home in the evenings so the kid(s) are not as familiar, and as we all know familiarity breeds…

  • Reply Rachel June 8, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I am still the bad cop most of the time, even though he tends to misbehave when he is with me, and less with hb. Maybe he knows that he can’t fool around with dad, while it’s easier to manipulate mom with his ‘my mom is so cruel’ act. As for food bribes, I try not to use it too often, cos I am afraid that we will come to a point where he will not eat, unless given a reward at the end of the meal.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..So I am a SAHM… =-.

    • Reply Daphne June 9, 2010 at 12:43 am

      @Rachel, That’s exactly the problem with food bribes. It introduces them to the possibility of having an AWESOMELY DELICIOUS food that they otherwise wouldn’t have thought of. And completely distracts them from the proper meal.

      On one particular occasion Truett went “raisins, raisins, raisins” x 23147 times after yet another calamitous bribe attempt. So it was a thai style stir-fried raisin rice lunch for him that afternooon.

  • Reply San June 9, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Haha! For us, I think it is usually a case of both of us being the Good Cop or both being the Bad Cop at the same time. If he is trying to discipline Jay I try not to sneak in a treat (or risk the stare from aforementioned hubby). Haha! But I totally agree… consistency is the key! It’s still a constant struggle/battle/war though, so all the best in yours! :)

    (U are right, I can imagine when your girl grows up a bit more… gosh, she’ll be your heart-breaker with those eyes of hers!)
    .-= San´s last blog ..The Toy I’ve Resisted Thus Far… =-.

    • Reply Daphne June 9, 2010 at 2:51 pm

      @San, HAHHA you TRIED to sneak in a treat?? um, well… Yes, consistency is easier said than done. Disciplining takes a lot of energy (one of those things we would have gone “Yeah, nice try Mom” back when we were kids) and some days you just want to close an eye to the nonsense.

      For me I kinda close both eyes. Ignorance is bliss…

  • Reply leslie June 9, 2010 at 9:31 am

    In my case when i’m at home alone with them, i’ll be the bad cop, and when daddy is home, he becomes the bad cop so they can come running to ME crying (from scolding) and i can relax and be the good cop cooing all over them *LOL

    It’s also quite hard to be the good cop you know, when you feel heartpain when daddy is scolding the babes for a (in your opinion) minor matter, and you have to resist the urge to ‘rescue’ them and let daddy carry on with the scolding >.<

    Haiz…. ain't parenthood TOUGH!!!

    • Reply Daphne June 9, 2010 at 2:46 pm

      @leslie, For me the urge is usually not to rescue them but to burst out laughing at some of the ways they try to evade punishment, like wanting to hug, trying to change to subject (look daddy, accelerate!!!). Frankly Kel is not that fierce too so I don’t feel too bad for them. Haha.

  • Reply Momo June 9, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Wow, you definitely cannot take caning then. Well, be thankful naughty corner works for you.

    • Reply Daphne June 9, 2010 at 2:46 pm

      @Momo, Uh, I tried caning, like once. Or rather, Kel did it. Ah, that’s a long story.

  • Reply judebabe June 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    I have a feeling I will be the bad cop when time comes.

    Daddy loves his little girl too much to keep a straight face.
    .-= judebabe´s last blog ..Amanda is back from the Capital and goes Wa-wa-wa… … =-.

    • Reply Daphne June 9, 2010 at 8:09 pm

      @judebabe, hahaha. I think you will force him to take turns every now and then. Scolding is a very tiring, um, exercise!

  • Reply Ashley June 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    It’s ME definitely! Like tonight, or every other night, I had to raise my voice at him and told him if he gets up one more time, I will put him in his cot which he hates, and then only he guai guai complies. I wish he will just sleep!!!!!!

    • Reply Daphne June 10, 2010 at 8:09 am

      @Ashley, Haha. I’ve been recommended using the cot as a naughty corner of sorts but it didn’t work too well for me. Tru started singing and playing with the soft toys so it looked like he was having a whale of a time!

  • Reply beanbean June 10, 2010 at 1:43 am

    we don’t practice the good cop-bad cop thing, but when it comes to enforcing discipline, my husband is WAY better than me. Noey knows he means business so he will comply, though sometimes after much crying and screaming. being consistent is the key, but it is also tiring, and i must admit i get lazy sometimes and let Noey get away with things. and i wonder why he doesn’t take me seriously…
    beanbean´s last post ..To the Library we go…

    • Reply Daphne June 10, 2010 at 8:11 am

      @beanbean, Its easier to be consistent if you see them only a few hours a night and on weekends. I’m very sure the daddies would be equally worn out and ineffective if they had to face the kids 10 hours a day.

  • Reply MieVee @ MummysReviews.com June 12, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Ha… My 15-mth old has one bad cop (Daddy) and one super-bad cop (Mummy) when it comes to discipline. We are very firm with certain rules and it has been easy to be at the same front. Thank goodness my boy has been responding well to simple methods such as deep warning voices with a stern face.

    Most of the time, I try positive language such as “Talk softly” instead of “Don’t shout”. After a while, he seems to get it.

    You’ve got 2 toddlers, so that straight face is a MUST at times. Good luck! :)
    MieVee @ MummysReviews.com´s last post ..Giveaway #8: Create Your Own Books at Big Universe

    • Reply Daphne June 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm

      @MieVee @ MummysReviews.com, Hahahah, as the ancient Chinese saying goes “two bad cops are better than one.”

      Kel suggests I wear a paperbag over the head when I talk to the kids.

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