This week I have had to turn the tables on our eldest daughter – away from the classic father-daughter relationship. I became the line in the sand. I’m the one that took the phone, laptop, and television away from her. I’m the one that dragged her kicking and screaming from her younger sister’s room this evening. I am now the enemy in her eyes.
This is all a tremendous turn-around. Previously my other half has been the enemy – not talked to often for days on end, not acknowledged, not listened to. We put it down to her being a teenager, and pushing her Mum away as so many teenage daughters have over the years while searching for themselves.
Guess what. Now I am the enemy, guess who she has run to. Guess who she is watching TV with in the living room. Her Mum. When the chips were down, she ran to her Mum.
I can’t help noticing the paradoxical nature of the situation. When my other half was the enemy, I heard all about it – all the time. Now I am the enemy, my other half expects me to make myself scarce, and is almost happy that she has an “in” with our daughter.
The funny thing is, I’m happy with this arrangement. I think perhaps men are just better at dealing with these kinds of conflicts. I was talking to another parent on the touchline of the soccer pitch last weekend while watching our youngest, and we both commented about the difference between boys and girls when disagreements happen. Boys will explode, lash out, and immediately put it behind them. Girls will brood, scheme, and hold grudges for weeks, months, or even years.
I’m absolutely fine about being “bad cop” with our eldest at the moment, because it means my other half is happy. She knows I’m doing it. She knows I can deal with the fallout better than her. She knows I’m an expert at switching off to everything around me, and just putting one foot in front of the other.
Maybe I should write a one sentence parenting book that will become internationally famous, and allow me to retire and travel the world in a pirate ship visiting Comic-Cons.
The sentence will just say “Keep going”.