I was going to title this differently, but I wanted to keep it a family friendly blog, so, it's what I've settled on. Even if you can imagine the other title, it comes down to the same thing though - there are times when as a dad, you have to be the one to take the bullet - to be the bad guy - because if you're not then later on, your kids (and society) will pay the price later.
Really, I could have titled this "Discipline 101" or "Consistency is the Key to Good Behavior" or something along those lines too - but... I'll just tag the post with those keys and move on and actually talk about the topic (which I'm hoping you've been able to divine at this point.)
When your kids are acting up, when they're trying to pull the same stunt they've pulled before, when they're explicitly "working" you or an angle to get around what you believe needs to be done - you cannot allow it. The reason why I call this being "the bad guy" is because to an outsider looking in, honestly it looks like you're being a jerk. I mean, the kid just wants his or her desert, right? What's a few minutes on the end of the day, come on. But see, that's just it. It is what the outsider doesn't see. It's the thing that makes you look like you're being unreasonable. The issue is that you've already set the rules for desert, you've already been explicit with your child on what needs to be done, timing, etc. And you've done it for the 365th day running... and the child *still* tries to do the *same* thing.
This is it now. Time for you to step up. Time to be Mr. Tough Guy. Time to be the uncaring, heartless SOB you're going to be accused of being as soon as the words are out of your mouth. But you HAVE TO DO IT. This is it Mr. Man, Mr. Husband, Mr. Dad. This is the time when all good men need to hold the line, fortify the lines, bar the door. For your child's own good, for your child's future - you MUST.
In my opinion there is nothing harder than this moment. There's nothing harder than looking in your little girl or little boy's eyes and thinking "well, it's just this time" or "is it really going to make that much difference?" At the same time, you know, you know deep in your heart that it does make a difference. You know that it means the difference between being a man of your word, of building a relationship of trust, a relationship where your children know that if you say it - good or bad - then you are as good as gold to delivering. This is where you have to marshall your resources, look directly into that pleading face and follow through on your word. Be. THE. Man.
So, there it is. Sometimes you've got to be the bad guy, but by being so, you'll be the best dad a kid could ever have.