In the complex realm of family discipline, stereotypes die hard. Mothers still tend to emphasize the emotional and interpersonal violations of misbehavior; "Do you ever think of how much work it is for me to clean up your mess?" Fathers, meanwhile, tend to highlight the real world implications of misbehavior; "Being a jerk isn't going to make your teacher want to do you any favors at report card time."
But one particular stereotype, the 'wait-til-your-father-gets-home' maneuver, needs to be rethought in light of expert research. It's endured because exasperated moms sometimes feel the need to apply some extra 'muscle' in certain situations. Lurking in this tired phrase are some false messages:
- As your mother, I'm not as effective at getting you to behave as your father;
- Men's potential to intimidate their children more than women is fundamentally useful to the family value system.