I read a post by blogger Janelle Harris today in which she discussed the difference between she and her boyfriend's parenting styles. Harris's tween daughter wanted a piece of candy, and in order to shut down the back-and-forth debate that ensued when Harris said no, the boyfriend just took the candy and ate it, making the argument a non-issue.
This made me laugh, because I immediately identified with the boyfriend. My oldest daughter was seven when my husband and I had our second child, so for a really long time, she was an only child. The two of us parented her very differently—he was a pushover; I was the strict one. Sure, sometimes I resented this dynamic, but I grew to accept it. He caved when she batted her pretty blue eyes, and I swept in with a punishment. It amounted to a fairly balanced approach as a unit, and we all knew what to expect. She'd push the limits, my husband would try to look stern, she'd put on her "Daddy's Princess" face, and I'd have to come in to regulate as my husband melted. Why It Helps To Play Good Cop Bad Cop When Parenting
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Sure, the boyfriend's response in Harris's anecdote was a little on the jerky side. But it was immediate, conclusive, and, let's admit it, rather funny. Like I said; I'm usually the strict one. Momma doesn't mess around. But I stopped mid-chuckle, because suddenly Harris's story brought to mind another situation, one in which my toddler son (the addition who dethroned Daddy's Princess) was hell-bent on getting a Hershey's Kiss before dinner. Ever conscious of my children's nutritional intake, I steered him toward an apple.
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He wasn't having it. He handed me back the apple, trotted his diapered behind right back to the pantry, and retrieved the Kiss, which I'd made the rookie mistake of placing back within his arm's reach. I took a breath and braced myself for the battle sure to ensue. Kiss in hand, he waddled back to my side…and wrapped his pudgy little arms around my leg in a ginormous hug. He threw his head back so he could look up at me, smiled broadly, and in his baby English, said, "Mama. PEEEEASE?" And before you could say "heartbreaking," the foil was scattered across the floor and my son was delightedly licking his prize from his fingers. From the living room drifted a single word from my husband: "Sucker."
What happened to our dynamic? My husband, ever ready to yank my son from whatever height he is precariously navigating and give him a timeout once back on solid ground, is still totally at my little girl's mercy. (If you need proof, let me just say that there may or may not be photographic evidence of my manly man playing a fantastic board game called "Pretty Pretty Princess," in which wearing pink-colored bling is most definitely involved.) Married Men May Have A Better Chance Of Surviving A Heart Attack