Aside from role model issues, child rearing patterns also affect a child's socialization. Whether due to personality, training, experience or a combination of these, many police officers adopt an authoritarian style in their relationships. Many officers learn to conduct their relationships on equal ground, but sometimes the "you'd better respect me" attitude seeps into parenting.
Raising children is frustrating. A magnet on my refrigerator reads, "Raising children is like being pecked to death by chickens." I laugh every time I see it, then I sigh. I know my husband feels the same. As I raise my boys, I constantly struggle with finding the "correct" way to deal with a situation. As one is entering his teens, my frantic searching has gone into overtime. Like most parents, I look to how my parents behaved, information I've gleaned from books and magazines and the advice of pretty much everyone and anyone who had an idea I hadn't tried. My husband, on the other hand, has a unique pool of knowledge I don't. Through the academy and his career, he has been taught to convince, coordinate and control. When he is at a loss, it's easy for him to want to intimidate, investigate and interrogate. Unfortunately, this doesn't work well on children and can seriously damage relationships. So, my husband has to put aside this training and sit dumbfounded with the rest of us.
When my son came home from school after the arrest incident, he didn't say much. I asked him about it and he nonchalantly described how they were playing cops and robbers. He was just doing his job. Calmly, I explained to him that his family was different from other families and that his game scared the teacher and the principal. Drew stared up at me and wondered, "Why? It's what Dad does. Is that bad?" Grasping for words, I told him I understood his point and what Dad does was not bad. But, if he wants to arrest someone again, please play out in our backyard with the sheriff's son.