DAD’S TWO HANDS #2
Thank you for the comments on the post, Dad’s Two Hand’s #1. They were interesting. In case you haven’t read the post, I posed the question of whether dad should be made the bad guy in disciplining the children. Moms will occasionally tell their misbehaving children, "If you don’t knock it off I’m going to tell your dad when he gets home." My mom did it; my wife did it some. Is this fair?
I think so.
Parenting is ideally a two-person job, mom and dad. Each has strengths they bring to the task. Generally (not always, but most often), dad is the sterner of the two. When the children get overly rambunctious, or downright disobedient and rebellious, the tougher presence of dad may be better suited to stem the tide of their misbehavior. So, yes, I think it is ok for mom to tell the children, "I’m reporting this to your dad."
However, I think this parenting move can be pulled off in a manner that leaves mom in the driver’s seat, and enhances the children’s perception of her authority in the home.
Instead of just saying, "I’m going to tell your father when he gets home," mom can say, "Ok, you have disobeyed. For that you are going to be punished (then announce the punishment you think appropriate). And you are going to tell your father when he gets home."
This accomplishes three things.
One, mom maintains her role as an authority figure in her own right.
Two, the children will have to respect and honor mom’s authority role.
Three, dad still gets to be something of the "bad guy" in more of a supportive role. When dad hears about the misbehavior of the children, either from mom or the children, he reinforces mom’s decision and position by affirming the punishment she administered, or even adding to it some. So he supports mom and communicates to the children that mom’s voice rules. Mom and dad have cemented their position.
By the way, have you wondered where I got the title to these two posts, "Daddy’s Two Hands?" From Holly Dunn’s song:
Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryiń
Daddy's hands, were hard as steel when I'd done wrong.
Daddy's hands, weren't always gentle
But I've come to understand.
There was always love in Daddy's hands.
If done appropriately, kids can see that their dad has two hands, one hard and one gentle, and that is ok.