What are “Disneyland dads” and “Mall moms”?

On Behalf of | May 18, 2020 | Family Law

Like many recent divorcees in Tucson, you may think the end of your marriage also signals the end of the problems you and your ex-spouse dealt with. In reality, however, the challenges do not end; they simply change. 

This is especially true when you have children together. When raising kids between separate households, different parenting styles and philosophies quickly become evident. Depending on how drastic these differences are, tension amongst your family can quickly escalate. 

Taking advantage of your time with your kids 

When you have limited time with your kids, you certainly want to make the most of it. Homework, chores and a routine schedule often seem at odds with this desire. The temptation to full your custodial time only with fun activities is ever-present. When parents give in to this, “Disneyland dads” and “Mall moms” are born. 

The trouble with spoiling the kids 

There is nothing wrong with you or your ex-spouse wanting to have fun with the kids, yet all too often, becoming a Disneyland dad or Mall mom leads to parental alienation. Intentional or not, the perception develops of either you or your ex-spouse being “the fun parent” while the other feels placed in the position of having to compensate (catching up on school assignments, going to doctor’s appointments). You feel great when your kids recognize you as the fun one, yet not so much when you have to be an authoritarian figure. 

Yet the desire to be “the fun parent” can often backfire. According to information shared by the Huffington Post, your kids may view the parent that spoils them as one they can take advantage of. While exerting parental authority may not seem fun, doing it helps ensure your kids take you seriously (and makes them more likely to come to you for help with important issues).