Should I be the bad cop?
February 15, 2011 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Is good cop -- bad cop a bad idea as a parenting tactic?

My 11-year-old daughter is interested in the boys, wants to have a boyfriend (whatever that means to her), and according to my wife is petrified to let me know any details of her personal life. Frankly, I am quite permissive and I'm not sure where that fear comes from, but I understand there can be a special bond between a mother and a daughter. With that said, I am a little uncomfortable with my wife's take on it. She feels that it is ok to foster this exclusivity because if there was an inkling that I knew anything, our daughter would shut down and not tell my wife anything in the first place. My wife said that she'll tell me everything anyway, but guidance, admonitions, and permissions need to go through her. So in effect I feel like the bad cop. This is on top of the milieu on my household where mom is kind of the boss. My kids are flabbergasted that I can somehow say no them; No's are immediately appealed to a "higher court" To my wife's credit, she doesn't allow this or foster it, but it is what the kids are used to.

Should I just go with the flow and resign myself to being the bad cop dad? Or am I setting myself up to a further diminished role as a parent? Dads--how would you handle this? Moms--your advice?
posted by teg4rvn to Human Relations (29 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think you're a "bad cop". I think it's probably a matter of your daughter being more comfortable confiding in your wife because of her gender. If you have a son, he'll be more likely to confide personal stuff to you than your wife.

In general, do try to spend time with all your children and encourage them to talk to you by being a good listener and trying to understand their point of view, but don't force their confidence or read to much into it if the girl(s) would rather talk to their mother about some things.
posted by orange swan at 8:12 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

There are different scenarios you're bringing up here, but I'm only going to talk about the girl one:

It is completely normal for a pre-teen girl to be mortified about letting her dad know about her personal life. This has NOTHING to do with "bad cop" you. It's very possible that your wife is right about her not being willing to talk about anything if the daughter knew the wife was telling you. This is NOT what being a bad cop is. At all. This is your wife attempting to keep lines of communication open about something that you're lucky she's even talking to your wife about. Let the 9-year-old girl think she has some sense of privacy from male members of her family. This is not, even a tiny little bit, a "good cop/bad cop" thing.
posted by brainmouse at 8:12 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

There's also a special, perhaps specialer, bond between 11-year-old daughters and dads, and her dating a guy may seem threatening to her relationship to you, from her perspective.

This "only one parent makes decisions, only one parent talks to the kid" things seems artificial. Why don't you talk to your daughter and then see if you think this makes sense?

But the "both parents should communicate and generally support a given decision" makes life less confusing for the kid and also minimizes the chances to shop for a favorable opinion.
posted by zippy at 8:14 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

I wouldn't go with that - a father is a girl's first example of boys and men in general, after all. Sounds like you could be setting up some issues for her down the line with this arrangement. And you're not comfortable with it anyway - why should you be excluded from your daughter's life this way? Spend some more one-to-one time with her - a father can be such a good influence on a girl if he takes the time to build that bond. She can build an different sort of bond with her mother, and she will, but you shouldn't be set aside as a resource and a parent simply out of a gender slant. (I'd say this with a boy to his mother, as well.)

Both parents should be involved, and both parents should be able to say "the buck stops here, sorry, no". Especially in the teenage years, IMO.
posted by flex at 8:17 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

This isn't "good cop" and "bad cop." This is "I am 11 and I like boys and OMG if my dad ever knew anything about my crushes I'd be SO EMBARRASSED and then I would DIE."

Unless she says something to your wife about thinking that Mom is ok with her having boyfriends but Dad isn't, this probably isn't about you saying "No" but rather about her being totally embarrassed to share that part of her social life with you at this point, as a pre-teen girl starting to get interested in boys. It doesn't sound like she's asking Mom for permission and thinking she's sneaking around Dad's authority; it sounds like she's comfortable talking to Mom about boys and isn't (yet) comfortable talking to Dad. This is fine and normal. Don't push it or she'll shut out both of you because it's just too embarrassing right now.
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:25 AM on February 15, 2011 [12 favorites]

Good cop / bad cop is an interrogation strategy chosen by the cops; it's not a good metaphor for your situation.

I have a friend who's been raising 2 pre-teen / early teen girls as a single parent for the last couple of years. From what I can see, humor is the only thing that makes that situation tenable. He kids them about their boyfriends, and they tease him back about anything they can get purchase on. He can still exert authority, but he does so with sympathy. It doesn't go well when he puts on his serious authoritarian hat; hunger for respect seems especially unlikely to engender respect.
posted by jon1270 at 8:25 AM on February 15, 2011

I'm only going to address the "my daughter doesn't want me to know her secrets" bit.

I may be reading too much into this, so pardon me if that is the case- we only have what you write here, and I can't hear your tone of voice. However, as a former-11-year-old-girl, this bit stood out to me:

"My 11-year-old daughter is interested in the boys, wants to have a boyfriend (whatever that means to her) . ."

That is coming off as incredibly dismissive to me. Girls are often told how to feel and how to act.

"You should be nice."
"Act like a lady."
"Don't get so [worked up] [angry] [whatever]."

If she at all feels that you don't take her seriously or that her emotions are not treated as valid by you, she's 100% less likely to tell you how she feels or what she wants. You do not, by virtue of being her dad, have her trust on these issues up front. That may be hard for you to hear, but it's the truth - particularly when it comes to puberty, boys, and these very personal matters of the heart, you have to earn that kind of trust.

So all of this to say - don't force your wife to tell you about your daughter's confidences. If she is comfortable, she might say something like, "As long as you're not hurting yourself or someone else, I will keep your secrets, but you should know your dad loves you and would love it if you confided in him/shared with him more, and I hope you'll consider it." Beyond that, she's right - if she suspects her mom is ratting her out, she will stop talking. As for what you can do, spend time with her and try to take her seriously. If she feels comfortable talking to you she will. If not, you're at least getting quality time.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:27 AM on February 15, 2011 [16 favorites]

My wife said that she'll tell me everything anyway, but guidance, admonitions, and permissions need to go through her

This is completely strange and unhealthy, IMO. You're both parents, you both need to be doing these things. The fact that your wife is pushing for you to be the bad cop is very odd. It's damaging to you, her and the kids, because it presents an unrealistic and unhealthy model of how parenting should work.

I don't mean to sound paranoid, but the fact that you're wife is pushing for that dynamic and that your daughter is terrified of you might mean your wife is pushing that dynamic on your daughter in unhealthy ways. It's something you should talk about with your wife, that and your reluctant feelings here. Seriously, you totally and completely need to put your foot down on this issue, otherwise you're in for decades of heartache and pain.

Now, as a stepfather of a girl, I'd say it's common for a daughter to be telling her mom most of her personal stuff. It's somewhat disappointing to you, I totally get that, but i think you need to focus on ways you can bond with your daughter. Find something you both like and do with her and let her be herself and she'll probably open up to your more, because she'll come to see you as person and not as an overlord parent. Think about it, do you just open up to someone? Or does it happen when you're hanging out with them and you're both having a good time and you just get to talking about stuff? Same thing can happen in parent child relationships.

Good luck!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:33 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I agree with flex. I can see that some conversations will naturally start with your wife because your daughter is also probably wanting to bond on that level with her mom -- they're both girls and who can identify with boy trouble better than another girl (her mom). However, when it comes to setting the rules about boys and enforcing them, you and your wife should be on the same page about it and it should happen with an open conversation among the three of you. I think this idea that Dad is in the dark about certain issues is a bad precedent. (Maybe your wife was raised this way?)

I remember being absolutely mortified when my Mom told my Dad that I had started my period. Now, of course she would tell him but I wish he had pretended not to know. There was awkward conversation prompted by my Dad about "being a woman" and I wanted to die.

However, as a girl gets into her teen years it creates some of these uncomfortable moments between her and her Dad -- I think it's important that you figure out how to roll with it. Too many Dads just distance themselves. Maybe there's a good book out there for this?

Concentrate on fomenting your own kind of relationship with your Daughter. She might not tell you about "OMG! Timmy is just so cute and looked at me today!" but there are lots of lessons you can teach her about who is good for her and who is not and about how great and special she is. It's not good cop/bad cop, it's different perspectives and lots of support all around.
posted by amanda at 8:34 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]

IANAP, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think the bad cop approach is going to be the wrong way to go about it. I understand your wife's logic, but it may only work short term anyway. At 14-15, your daughter probably isn't going to want to tell either parent what she's up to. So you should do your best to stay integrated into her life as best as you can. She probably won't start opening up about her crushes, but that's normal. What you and your wife need to do is come to a level of agreement on what she (and your kids in general) can and can't do, and then put your foot down as a unified front. Any time a kid hears "No" from one parent and "Sure" from another, you're probably doing it wrong.
posted by tau_ceti at 8:35 AM on February 15, 2011

I guess my question to you would be, what are you hoping to do about it? Demand that she tell you about her crushes? Tell her that Mom is going to spill the beans to you anyway, so she might as well tell you herself? Forbid her from speaking to her Mom?

I don't mean to be rude, but your daughter has made her decision about who she wants to share this kind of stuff with. You can work to change that decision -- I would not do it blatantly, but subtly over time, by working to increase her trust in you and to convince her of your lack of judgementalism (is that a word? You know what I mean).

Keep in mind it may be that your wife is not correct about your daughter's assumption that she has mother-daughter confidentiality. Even if she swears your wife to secrecy, she probably knows, subconsciously at least, that you will be getting some of this this information second-hand. If you are careful with how reveal your knowledge and how you deal with it -- as Medieval Maven says, by validating her emotions and taking her issues seriously -- you may find that she begins to bypass the middleman.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:35 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

When I was 11, I started my period. I only told my sisters and mom. When I realized that one of them had told my dad, I FREAKED OUT and avoided him for a week.

I had a similar, but maybe less strong reaction when I first started dating boys. I DID NOT WANT to talk about it with my dad. I wasn't afraid of him, it just felt really awkward. I mean, you can't talk about BOYS with a guy, that's a subject reserved for other females.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 8:37 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I should have previewed, amanda's response is perfect. You are going to have to cultivate a different relationship with your daughter during her teenage years, and good cop/bad cop isn't the way to think about it.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 8:41 AM on February 15, 2011

My kids are flabbergasted that I can somehow say no them; No's are immediately appealed to a "higher court"

If there's one thing I'd say your wife and you need to work on, it's this. There should be no ultimate authority, and no 'lesser' parent. That way lies all kinds of resentment and trouble. Your kids need to understand that the two of you are cooperating in making decisions about their welfare and what they're allowed or not allowed to do.

If your child comes to you with a request and you're not sure that you can make a call that your wife will go along with, call a meeting between the three of you, and jointly take responsibility for that decision. Leaving your wife to make unilateral decisions for your kids, whether through her dominance or your laziness, creates an imbalance in your family that gets harder to put right as time goes on.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:42 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

This isn't "good cop" and "bad cop." This is "I am 11 and I like boys and OMG if my dad ever knew anything about my crushes I'd be SO EMBARRASSED and then I would DIE."

This... a thousand times this. I would never have talked about boys to my dad. I love my dad and he's not a bad person but he's my dad.

No's are immediately appealed to a "higher court"
Are they doing this in front of you? When I was a kid it was perfectly normal when 1 parent said 'no' to ask the other parent for permission behind their back. Or if mum said 'ask your dad', you'd say 'mum said I could x if you said it was ok'. We wanted a 'yes' at any cost and if that meant getting a second opinion, we would, it didn't make the other parent a 'higher court'. Of course you'd get in trouble if they found out but we'd only do it for minor stuff where it was unlikely the parent that said no would find out.
posted by missmagenta at 8:45 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

As a father of two daughters I can offer a few sprigs of advice:

1) If you haven't been close to your daughters from an early age, it's hard to start parenting them now. If you have, then you're way ahead of the game. I tell parents who are foolish enough to ask, that we've had great success doing the heavy parenting lifting early. That makes a lot of things easier when they hit middle school.

2) Don't freak. It's perfectly legit for girls to confide in a girl/mom. You're fighting years of socialization here. You'll probably lose.

3) I read this somewhere early on in my parenting life and used it. Hug your daughters or there will be some boy who will do it for you. I took this literally and metaphorically. I hugged them several times a day (still try to when they come home from college). I also make sure I hugged their psyche making sure they knew they were smart, valued, skilled and teeming with promise. I have no proof other than my own internal opinion but you can see how this would stop them from needing to be squeezed and validated in any number of ways by boys.

4) As far as 'No's' go ... we always practiced the maxim "Say 'No' less and mean it more." If you're constantly laying down No's then expect an appeal process. If you're understanding and trusting and show you think they can make good decisions, it makes it easier to say No and hold the line on really big things.

But to me, you sound concerned and involved and have a great partner ... that pretty much trumps everything. I'd go with the flow for now.
posted by lpsguy at 8:52 AM on February 15, 2011 [18 favorites]

I'm not down with what your wife's suggesting. There's a balance missing somewhere. She shouldn't "tell you everthing" and pretend to be keeping confidences. And all decisions and communications to your daughter about boys shouldn't be going through her.

She should be clear about what kinds of things get shared with dad. There will be some trial and error.

At every age, dads should be weighing in with their expectations and rules about boys (or girls or friendships in general)

And why shouldn't your daughter be embarrassed or uncomfortable sometimes? That's part of negotiating development. Gentle ribbing and serious questions should absolutly be on the table for both parents.

About the "running to mom"...that should happen in front of you. Kids can make reasoned arguments about what decision they want you to make. There shouldn't be two stories. Then you and your wife can soiree about it and give her a reasoned, united front. Depending on the issue, you can even share your difference stances as the parents...but your joint decision.
posted by vitabellosi at 8:59 AM on February 15, 2011

And why shouldn't your daughter be embarrassed or uncomfortable sometimes? That's part of negotiating development.

Because she then will stop telling either of them anything and will just do it behind their backs without their advice or guidance and wont have anyone to turn to if she gets herself into trouble.
posted by missmagenta at 9:23 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

Ipsguy raises great points! On that last one, I agree. My Dad was also the voice of "no." There wasn't one friend that he agreed with, any fun activity that he approved of any typical teen stuff that he found appropriate. I had to go through my mom to get a reasoned opinion. It would have been great if they conferred more. My Dad's default was always "no" and an angry one at that. This doesn't sound like you but I thought I'd throw it out there.
posted by amanda at 9:24 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think there are a couple of different categories of stuff you're dealing with here, and they each deserve to be handled differently:

(a) there's personal information: the information that your daughter can chose with whom she will share it, and, ultimately, whether to share it at all. This includes who she's interested in, and who she sticks the label "boyfriend" on, whatever that means to her. It also includes the whole messy area of girlfriend issues.

(b) then there's parenting issues: whether she's allowed to go places/do stuff with said "boyfriend", can she wear makeup, go to the school dance, is that skirt too short, are those heels too high...

IMHO, you deserve to have an informed opinion and input on anything that strays into "parenting issues" territory, but you should otherwise respect your daughter's choice about who she shares other personal information with. That is, if she confides to mom: "I'm interested in Ricky, what should I do? and DON'T TELL DAD!!!11!!--your wife should respect that. If she asks "can I go to the movies with Ricky?" your wife can reply, "I need to see what your dad thinks about that first" or "your dad and I have decided you need to be 13 before you can go to the movies alone with a boy."

To summarize: you both have equal parenting rights: making rules, enforcing consequences, rewarding good behavior. But you cannot force a symmetrical interpersonal relationship with your daughter. Separate out the parenting stuff from the interpersonal relationship stuff.
posted by drlith at 9:25 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

I guess what I'm coming down to is that I agree that your daughter shouldn't HAVE to tell you everything. But you should be talking to her about boys..and asking her some questions.

And your wife doesn't have to and shouldn't tell you everything your daughter tells her...but I think you'd want to know, for example, if your daughter was sneaking behind the school to kiss a boy. Mom might think it was harmless and cute...but you might not. And a chumy relationship between mom and daughter makes it alot harder to find it anything but cute. Kids cultivate chummy relationships with their parents for just this reason---to get a friend response instead of a parent response.

I dont want my daughter telling me everything..I want her to come to me with important stuff. Parents who think they are their child's confidante are the easiest parents to lie to.

Best place to talk to kids is in the car at night, they don't have to look at you while they talk and its easier to open up.
posted by vitabellosi at 9:28 AM on February 15, 2011

I don't think parents should "game" their kids. Be as straightforward as you can be.

Daughters need to learn about men from their dads, so spend time with her. Take her out for a burger, ask her about school, hobbies, etc. Really, it's important to have a separate relationship with her, not one filtered by her Mom.

I'm the mother of an adult son. Despite his embarrassment about certain subjects (girls, sex, male bodies, female bodies), and my own embarrassment (sex, male bodies, female bodies), I persisted, and was rewarded with my son's ability to talk to me about a lot of things. I must say, the boil on his butt wasn't much fun, but I'm glad we can talk. As he becomes an adult, I'm amazed to find he actually listened to me much more than I realized.
posted by theora55 at 9:50 AM on February 15, 2011

your daughter shouldn't HAVE to tell you everything. But you should be talking to her about boys..and asking her some questions.

This is a really good way to think about it.

I initially read your question and was focused on your first sentence. I thought (perhaps mistakenly) that you were implying that it was unreasonable for your wife to know more about your daughter's personal life than you do. (It's not, and she shouldn't be deceiving your daughter by pretending to keep confidences that she's actually sharing with you.) However, after following this thread and rereading your question, I think I should amend my earlier comment: while it's totally normal for your daughter to be more comfortable talking to her mom about boys than her dad, and it's fine for Mom to know about her crush on so-and-so when you don't know about it, it's unhealthy for your wife to impose a rule that only she, and not you, may give advice and enforce rules.

If there are rules that you and your wife decide on or expectations you and your wife have for your daughter, your daughter should be hearing them from both of you. I don't think it necessarily needs to be a "Big Talk with the parents," but you should be able to talk openly with your daughter while respecting her feelings and privacy. You might even consider starting a conversation with your daughter about privacy (but be sure you're practicing what you preach--no more of this "Mom tells Dad everything she hears from Daughter" stuff). I didn't mind (much) when my dad would teasingly ask me about what I was writing in my diary when I was a teenager because he so frequently talked about the importance of respecting others' privacy, particularly his kids' privacy. I really felt like I could trust him not to push me further than I was comfortable sharing with him. He and I had a lot of talks about abstract ideas and hypothetical situations--I don't think I ever told him a crush's name, but he certainly had a positive impact on the choices I made in my social life. I Vitabellosi makes an excellent point about the car being a good place to talk.
posted by Meg_Murry at 10:20 AM on February 15, 2011

I agree with Brandon_Blatcher that the way to address the underlying problem (would be to focus in on the relationship between you and your girl. For good or for bad, Mom's domination of the parent-child relationship has you marginalized, and the delicacy of the subject is aggravating it.

I'm wondering if there's a way for you to schedule in some regular one-on-one time with your daughter, away from both Mom & other siblings. Even something like a weekly bike ride or trip to a park, done just with the two of you. A time and a place where the two of you could just interact without Mom mediating and siblings & other daily interruptions stealing the focus.

There's a kind of silence, a kind of distraction-less space, that really helps when opening up to a parent about something complicated. Taking the time to make that special space on a regular basis might really help to reposition you as a interested, concerned (at times), and above all, approachable person in her life.

Regarding Mom's stance: I don't think her promoting herself as the final authority and Official Go-Between is really healthy for any of you. She can keep confidences and still make it clear that general rules & guidelines are a joint product of Team Parent.
posted by Ys at 10:32 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm nobody's dad, but I was my dad's daughter, and my family always had this dynamic--mom was good cop, dad was bad cop (both were fine, loving parents). I hope you can find a better way.

Relating to my father in this distanced way has made it unnecessarily difficult for me to relate naturally to men in close relationships for all the rest of my life. For the sake of your daughter, and for all the men who may be in her life in the future, don't allow yourself to be dehumanized. Be your whole, real, self, so your daughter learns how to relate to a whole human being who happens to be male.
posted by Corvid at 11:30 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

My wife said that [...] guidance, admonitions, and permissions need to go through her. So in effect I feel like the bad cop. This is on top of the milieu on my household where mom is kind of the boss. My kids are flabbergasted that I can somehow say no them; No's are immediately appealed to a "higher court" To my wife's credit, she doesn't allow this or foster it, but it is what the kids are used to.

The way I read your post, it doesn't seem like the issue is about your daughter talking to you about boys. It seems like you acknowledge that your daughter may be more comfortable talking to her mom, and that you'd be happy to talk to your daughter about boys too if she came to you.

It seems like the issue is that your wife wants to continue being the boss. I don't understand how the kids could appeal every "no" to her if she really doesn't "allow this or foster it" which to me would mean that every single time, she would say, "Did you ask your dad? What did he say? Well, if Dad says no, the answer is no and you should not be asking me. I don't want to catch you doing this again." Same thing with "guidance, admonitions, and permissions" being exclusively the province of your wife. You are a parent too. It's fine if the kids go to your wife, but you are definitely and actively being diminished as a father if you feel you can't offer your kids guidance, admonitions, and permissions. What else is a parent for?

Forget about the dating issue with your daughter and talk to your wife about co-parenting.
posted by chickenmagazine at 1:06 PM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

As the dad, it's your job to start the conversation with your daughter. Don't approach her from a "I know you like this guy" standpoint. That will just be mortifying. Approach it from, "Hey what's going on in your life?" place. Set aside time every week to have lunch or dinner or breakfast with her, play a board game, whatever. Just build in time for the two of you to talk. If that's not already there, it makes sense that your daughter wouldn't come to you out of the blue with confidences. Make time for her to talk with you that's non-threatening where you're not expecting anything. It will come.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:30 PM on February 15, 2011

I agree with the others that something appears a bit off in the way you portray your wife as being the boss. This is not how it should work, but there's not much information in your post to work with.
Instead, I'd like to give an example of how my dad managed to stay involved in my teenage dating years and have his own relationship with me, in case you would like to stay involved in your daughter's live this way, too.

My parents were divorced.
On my 13th birthday, my dad got me some pink lipstick and some nail polish. It was a nice gesture, he wanted me to know that it was okay by him that I was turning into a woman or something, but I was MORTIFIED. I thought "Ew, my dad thinks I am dating boys, ew!"
But you know, I got the message very clearly.

He also, in later years, insisted on telling me about dating and sex. About having fun and trying things out but also being careful and using condoms because if I got a baby or aborted, even though he would support me, both are very hard decisions. About how it's dangerous to follow some guy to his a room and drink because the police will often just not believe you later. About his first experiences with women and what made them special (not in bodily detail, of course) and how much of an idiot newbie he was back then.
It was kind of embarassing at first and I didn't say very much, but you can bet I listened. To this day I am grateful that he made me see this dating and sex thing as something fun, something worth exploring, something he expected me to make my own decisions about but also that he made me see myself as someone precious and worth being careful about.

You have a unique opportunity to shape your daughter's view of herself as a woman in a man's world, because you are the most important man in her life. Her mother cannot give her that. She'll do fine even if you don't get involved, but if your daughter generally enjoys listening to you and being with you, then this is something you can do. And if she appears embarassed but not totally averse, then you're on the right track.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:24 PM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]

Thanks for all the reasoned responses.

My wife has done about all she can to make sure she's not "the boss" in these situations up to and including the suggestion of @chickenmagazine telling the kids to quit appealing my decisions. I think this is just a remnant of being a stay-at-home mom since day 1 and permission had always flowed through her because she was there.

I am heavily involved in my daughter's life and do carve out special daughter-and-dad time, although it has diminished somewhat in the past year or two because she rather hang out with friends (at least she's snubbing both mom and dad!)

I think my wife is fearful of our daughter repeating her own teen years and wants to get in on the ground floor by establishing access. Her teens were notable for cutting mom and dad out of her personal life, early boy craziness, with a couple of pregnancies and abortions along the way (late teens). When our daughter says to puhleeze not tell dad she feels like if she did she'd (we'd) be cut off entirely. @drlith nailed it by separating the *personal* from the *parenting* stuff. My wife had no problem calling me into the room just yesterday and asking me if I was comfortable with the length of my daughter's shorts that she was going to wear. I said they were fine and everyone was happy, so to those that feel I'm being totally marginalized, fear not. I think my daughter is mortified as many have put it when it comes to the boy stuff. I think I can live with that.
posted by teg4rvn at 4:13 PM on February 15, 2011

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