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Ask Rene:
Please Help Me With The
Good Cop, Bad Cop Parenting!


Hey Rene,

Love the site and all your great advice. Here’s my problem.

My daughter, Rachel is 12 years old and starting to act out. She wants to wear what she wants to wear, skips on her studies and constantly back chats to me when I ask her for anything.

I’m trying to take a hard line with her but the problem is my husband Tommy. He was brought up in a very relaxed household where anything goes and pretty much gives Rachel free rein and anything she wants.

Rachel’s now got wise to whom to go to if she wants something and is always using the phrase ‘Dad said it was okay!’ I’ve tried to talk to my husband about our different parenting styles but he’s hardly ever around so doesn’t understand. He thinks I’m over-reacting! But it’s very easy to say ‘yes’ when you don’t have to deal with the consequences.

How do I get Tommy on board with my rules – and teach my daughter how to respect ME?


Melissa, St Louis



Hey Melissa:

You and your husband need to get on the same page and STAT before you end up with a BRAT! The fact that Tommy is not around a lot and the disciplinary duties fall to you might be a good thing. Listen, Good Enough Mother is herself something of a lax parent, but only with regard to the minor issues (like breakfast for dinner); the big issues are another matter altogether. Here’s what I would suggest.


1. Get On The Same Sheet Of Music With Tommy

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You two need a parenting road map of sorts. We parent the way we were parented and since you two have different backgrounds you will need to work together to find the middle ground. I would explain to him why you think the way you do on certain issues and ask why he thinks the way he does. Communication is key here. I don't think it would be a bad idea to write some of this stuff down so you remember what you agreed to and can refer back to it in case there are questions. I know it sounds rudimentary but what do you have to lose?