Recently while at my daughters first baseball game of the season, I was privy to a conversation between two fathers. I had no idea who these fathers were or who their kids were. Just that their boys were on the same team as my daughter. Let me tell you I am not into gossip, not a Drama Queen, not interested in drama or in anyone else s drama. God knows I’ve had more than fair share, and swore to myself years ago that I’m not going there!
So while I’m watching and cheering for my daughter and her team, two fathers come to the bleachers where I am sitting and it’s obvious through their interaction that they know each other fairly well. It was them and me a few feet away on the bleachers, so there were no other conversations going on to help drown out their voices. They began talking about their kids and one of them was describing how lazy and spoiled he thought his kids were becoming. They talked about how far the kids had to walk to get to school, and whether they walk, or are they driven? Then the one dad starts ripping his wife apart, saying that “she makes me drive them to school and pick them up every day, even although schools only a short walk away. She complains that I’m at home doing nothing most of the day, that I should make myself useful and take the kids to school at least. I try to explain that they are old enough and that school isn’t far and it’s good for them to walk and be independent and teach them responsibility. Almost every day one of them forgets something and she tells me to make myself useful and take whatever it is they forgot to school for them. He goes on to say “She even approached me in the shower last night complaining about me siting around all day and doing nothing. She feels like she is the only parent and what she says goes, no matter what I think.” I think these kids are being spoiled and need to learn responsibility but if I say anything I’m the bad guy.”
That was it, I couldn’t take it anymore! I actually looked over in their direction and openly laughed, hoping that they would see this as a sign that their conversation was being overheard and it was not a conversation that should have been overheard. Didn’t matter, the one dad just didn’t stop! I asked myself, “should I intervene and tell him to be a man and a better dad, to stand up to his wife and not allow her to walk all over him, or should I walk away and take some deep breaths. I chose the latter.
But seriously, this is the problem with two parents having completely different parenting styles. IT DOES NOT WORK! Kids play one parent against the other and then there is a good cop parent and a bad cop parent. When my husband was alive, I was put in the bad cop category… I hated it, it doesn’t work! Parents need to take the ‘adult’ role… Your children NEED boundaries, responsibilities, need to gain independence and most of all consistency from both parents. We are their role models, they watch everything we do and copy what we do. So if this particular father has any daughters, guess what, they will boss their boyfriends or husbands around and they will definitely wear the pants in the family. This is so wrong, parents are partners. Do what is right for the children you are raising. It’s all about compromise, partnership and respect. Do you want to be in a partnership or dictatorship of a marriage?