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Is your ex-spouse a Disneyland parent?

Balancing your feelings towards your ex-spouse in Clinton Township and respecting their parental rights can be quite a challenge. Yet for the sake of your children, you should try your best to establish a sense of normalcy to ensure that your separation and subsequent divorce does not impact them any more than it has to. 

That can be difficult, however, if your ex-spouse seems intent on being a "Disneyland parent." This term a number of years ago as "Disneyland Dad" due to a larger percentage of mothers being awarded primary custody of their children, yet recent years have seen a collective recognition that mothers can also display a tendency to spoil their kids. A Disneyland parent is one who dedicates their custodial time primarily to having fun rather than trying to impose household rules. "Fun" in this context can include: 

  • Constantly giving the kids gifts
  • Frequently going on trips or engaging in expensive activities
  • Not enforcing bedtimes or requiring the kids to do chores or homework

A Disneyland parent is often motivated by one of two factors: to essentially buy your children's affection or to undermine you by portraying themselves as "the fun parent." This can be frustrating as your kids (especially when they're younger) may not interpret these motivations and your ex-spouse may be less than willing to work with you to establish shared household standards. 

You can take comfort, however, in knowing that the Disneyland parenting philosophy typically never last over the long-term. Experts cited by the Huffington Post state that over time, kids tend to view the parent who only wants to be their friends as having little authority. Conversely, they will honor and respect you more for trying to instill discipline in their lives, and thus come to you for help when typical teenage problems arise. 

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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