Congratulations, You’re a Bad Cop!


October 9, 2014 by Katia


Some time ago I tweeted this:

4 Year Old confirming: mama, YOU’RE the bad cop, right?

Well, Four Year Old is now five and nothing’s changed except for the realization on my part that there’s yet another parenting milestone which “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” didn’t cover. It happens at the hospital when your bundle of joy is handed to you for the very first time and it’s commonly referred to as: Congratulations, You’re a Bad Cop!


Your initiation into the role may not take place right away, it may not kick in until after the Terrible Twos, but guess what?

*Cue police orchestra*

Where there’s a bad cop there’s also a good one.

As a chronic killjoy, parent bad cop, as opposed to bad cop bad cop, is not feared, but rather defied, which in turn creates a vicious cycle perpetuating their killjoie.  Good Cop, on the other hand, flutters about carelessly enabling your terrible twos/fives/sixteens along the way. So if you think about it good cop is technically a dirty cop.

Here’s an outline of a standard day and the very different approaches demonstrated by bad cop and good cop throughout it.

Breakfast Time

Typically in the morning good cop and bad cop will alternate shifts. Bad cop’s on rotation and a crisis comes up. Her two-year-old is faced with his biggest pet peeve: dirty diaper changes, WTF? He knows that bad cop means business so he either runs or transitions into a downward dog. There is no need for any of that thinking on your feet and quick decision making with good cop as his sense of smell, doesn’t kick in until later in the day.

Nap Time

Bad cop insists on Two Year Old spending time at solitary confinement on a daily basis. She thinks that sleep is important, even if you need to shed a few tears to get there (God knows she’s tried that method herself before). Good cop views naps as another one of bad cop’s quirks. Meh.

After Dinner

After dinner Bad Cop always tries to enforce a vague concept she refers to as “wind down time”. Good Cop’s preferred post-dinner activity is chasing the kids around the house and lifting them up by the ankles facilitating regurgitation and indigestion of the vegetables that bad cop painstakingly threatened and good copped them into eating.

Bath Time

Bad Cop says no to EVERYTHING from wearing your clothes to bath to peeing in the tub and drinking peepe water, emptying water buckets onto the floor and even jumping in and out of the tub. Good  cop, on the other hand, understands the importance of Goodtimes and a brisk run through the corridor and past the staircase without being towel dried.

Bed Time

Bedtime is when the differences between good cop and bad cop are as clear as the light of day. While bad cop constantly checks her watch and denies the inmates their human rights such as freedom of speech, movement and frequent hydration, good cop is all about human rights.

Served on a silver platter with a side of Kinder Chocolate Egg.


Who’s the bad cop and good cop in your family?

34 thoughts on “Congratulations, You’re a Bad Cop!

  1. I can be both the bad cop and good, but in my daughter’s eyes, I am always the bad. Daddy is the hero in her crime dramas, the one who feeds her Doritos and Skittles for lunch and let’s her watch cartoons all day.

  2. Oh this made me smile. When my kids were wee my late husband was good cop. He’d swing them up over his head and whirl them about just before bed. So conducive to sleep … Our two were 16 months and 3 when he died and so I found myself morphing into both good and bad. Which was more prevalent? Depended on my patience for the day. Probably more of a bad cop come bedtime if I’m honest!

    • Katia says:

      I’m sure you made an excellent good cop and a great not so bad one. Reading this makes me look at the situation differently. Thank you for introducing some fondness into the mix. Xoxo

  3. Sadly… for my kids… we are both bad cops

    Although Daddy cop lets them to more dangerous stuff which I’m cool with as long as I NEVER know about it… I crazy brain can take situation pretty far!!!

  4. Kristi Campbell - findingninee says:

    I think I’m both the good and the bad cop. It’s weird to think about but honestly I think my husband leaves most things up to me… which can be annoying. HAHA to the side of Kinder Chocolate Egg. Tucker loves watching those on You Tube! And yeah, bath time definitely brings out the bad cop in me. I’m definitely no fun not wanting to be splashed. And bedtime – both good and bad cop. Part of me is like “let me leave already – I have things to do!!” and the good cop is all “Soon he’ll not want your snuggles so enjoy them now!” Great post, Katia!

    • Katia says:

      Thank you, friend. I’m frustrated with being the non-fun one but I’m worried that left to their own devices Five Year Old and his good cop will never turn the lights off when it’s good cop’s turn to do bedtime etc. Maybe I should just let them figure it out by themselves. What’s the worst that could happen, right?…

  5. I am most definitely the bad cop. I am described as the perfect jailor, and the good cop, aka “my sweet papa”, is delighted to partake in whatever idiocy his teens can dream up in an attempt to wind the clock back. However, if any mention is made of inappropriate behavior, bad cop is instantly accused of being too lenient with our tadpoles. Bad cop then decides that as she’s already got a bad reputation, a second glass of wine will do no harm.

  6. momcloset says:

    Hilarious post! Can totally relate to living with a partner who’s “sense of smell doesn’t kick in until later in the day”. Same goes for ability to hear children wake up in the morning!

    • Katia says:

      Haha! I know that this is a common trait of good cop, the inability to hear children cry. My good cop usually I hears them in the morning, although I do have to bring this up to his attention at night… 🙂

  7. I really had to think about this one! I was most definitely the bad cop, mostly because the good cop was just clueless, I think. As the kids have gotten older, it feels like our roles have reversed a little. He’s not so clueless anymore (thank g-d!) and I don’t feel like being the bad one all the time! Sometimes we just leave them to their own devices and watch what happens ;).
    Loved this, Katia!

    • Katia says:

      You are giving me hope, Nicki. I often wonder if this is going to change as they grow up. I feel that being the tough one is out of character for me and being so out of character for such long periods of time bothers me. 🙂 xo

  8. Sarah says:

    Could be a description of our roles, too. Same gender division. Seriously, what is up with riling everyone up at the end of the day?

    • Katia says:

      I know, I was wondering what you would say about this from the same gender perspective. I always thought that what he does when he riles up the kids is a gender thing, but then reading some of the comments here I ask myself if that is really the case? 🙂

  9. Lisa @ The Golden Spoons says:

    I think in our house I am actually the good cop (which my husband would call the “soft one”) and he is the bad cop – the one most likely to come down hard on them. I, don’t however, let them run all over me and, but bedtime, my patience is gone, sot hey get 2 bad cops then! 🙂

    • Katia says:

      See, that’s how I’ve always envisioned it! I never thought I’d be disciplinarian, the tough one! I think that that’s what makes me so bitter about it, is that it feels so out of character!

  10. Susan Jane Bradfield says:

    I am pretty sure my kids see me as the Bad Cop. Dad always seems to do ‘fun’ things with them.

  11. I am totally the bad cop. My husband travels a lot so I am the keeper of the schedule, the meal plan and the tv availability. I have realized that I primarily do it for my own piece of mind. If the boundaries are not set in fairly heavy stone then the entire house goes to pot. If we are late getting to dance it is my nerves getting frayed finding a parking spot. When my husband does come home he isn’t thinking “Wow if I keep her up until 10:00 on a school night she will be a total mess tomorrow” He’s just thinking that he wants to spend as much awake time with her as possible. The problem comes when he gets to the end of his rope, actually disciplines her a she gets upset because that’s not how daddy is supposed to be.

    • Katia says:

      It’s so tough when they’re away, for us and them. I do get his desire, as you describe it here, to be able to show her good time when he comes back, because of course, and I get how difficult it is at the same time for you to be the enforcer of law, schedule etc.

  12. sara says:

    This made me smile 😄 cos I know set ups like this. Not ours though – we’re both probably inclined to be bad cops, although both of us have areas where we are softer than others. It’s difficult for the primary carer to be the good cop (me) although I wish my partner had more fun with the kids than he does, although I can see it would be annoying if that was all he did.

    • Katia says:

      I think that you’ve hit the nail on the head with that observation about it being hard for the primary caregiver to also be the good cop. You, lady, are smart. 🙂

  13. Tricia says:

    Love this! It made me think… I don’t think the good cop/bad cop roles are constant in our house. My husband and I switch, depending on who has more patience and who is less sleep-deprived and able to stand up to the strong-willed toddler!

  14. Sheffield8997 says:

    I am pregnant with my first child so I have not experienced this yet, but I envisioned it happening. Great details and imagery to help me put me in as the bad cop and my husband as the good cop!

  15. Ahem. My entire life? Yes. This is definitely in the top ten lines ever blogged ever: “As a chronic killjoy, parent bad cop, as opposed to bad cop bad cop, is not feared, but rather defied, which in turn creates a vicious cycle perpetuating their killjoie.” Killjoie. 🙂 You are brilliant. Miss you. xoxo

  16. This made me smile. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Roshni says:

    I’m what’s called the pushover! :/

  18. amorefado says:

    hahaha I couldn’t stop giggling, this is oh so accurate and beautiful. You’ll look back and laugh at all of these stressful moments for sure! I was always the bad cop, but it never bothered me. I demanded respect and received it. Now I’m the only cop haha

  19. […] After the party 5 Year Old and I sat down to watch another episode. He insisted on episode 4, which happened to deal with a reign of mindless fun represented by King Julien vs. the reign of terror represented by his devious uncle. Both were grotesque and very hilarious representations reminiscent of Robin Williams’ crazy, unhinged humour, but they brought about thoughts of something very real that I’ve been bothered by for a while. […]

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