Children of police officers

Raymond T Franzem, Fordham University


Children of Police Officers is a Qualitative study that examines the remembered childhood experiences that adult children of cops had while growing up. Parenting styles and mannerisms of police officers are not totally unique. Fathers in working class families exhibit many of the same traits as cops. In fact, most police officers come from working class backgrounds and view careers in law enforcement as a means to financial security. However, men who decide to become officers firmly believe that they are involved in a just cause. They have opinions about proper conduct and the use of authority. The way men are socialized also plays a role in the development of a police personality. Through training and on the job experiences, an identification with a police culture is instilled. This is similar to the experiences of professional soldiers, but there are also a number of differences between these groups. The impact of the police culture affects the officers' parenting styles. Interviews with participants revealed that their police fathers generally fell into categories of Controllers, Distant Parents, Drinkers, or Good Enough Parents. There were two types of Controllers: Authoritarian and Domineering. Each typology had particular methods of disciplining their children. Some clearly brought the police part of their personalities home; others were emotionally withdrawn. In response to the parenting style of the officers, children adapted various coping strategies. Their attempts to win parental approval or attention had discernable aspects. Therefore, the children also fell into categories. Typologies for the children were: Good Sons, Good Daughters, Rebels, Anorectics, Athletes and Substance Abusers. There was a noticeable connection between the parenting styles of the cops and the typologies of the children. Happy memories are frequently shared at family gatherings and with friends. However, during the interviews, the participants focused on the experiences they seldom or never have the opportunity to discuss. Most participants saw the interview as a unique chance to speak about the more difficult aspects of being the children of police officers. For many, the retelling of the impact of their fathers' police personalities on their lives was painful.

Subject Area

Social work|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Franzem, Raymond T, "Children of police officers" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9732552.