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How to Deal with a “Disneyland” Co-Parent

A frequent complaint among divorced co-parents is that the other parent often shirks the responsibilities of being a parent and only partakes in the fun aspects of it, taking the children on vacations or lavishing them with gifts. This is known as a “Disneyland” parent and it can be incredibly frustrating for the other parent who is doubly burdened with having to enforce rules and tackle topics that make them seem like the less fun parent. If this sounds familiar to your current situation, we have some suggestions for you that can help you deal with your Disneyland co-parent.

Consider some of the following tips:

  • Focus on your relationship with your kids: Ultimately, you cannot force your spouse to do anything, but you can control how you react and handle yourself. Luckily, your relationship with your children is based on your own actions and the time you spend with them and not on what your spouse does or does not do, so keep that in mind.
  • The day-to-day routine of your lives together is how you will bond: Your co-parent might look like he or she is having tons of fun with the kids without putting any work into the relationship, but remember that bonds and relationships are formed over life’s daily events, which might seem mundane at times, but will always be remembered by your children. Helping them with their homework, tucking them into bed, making sure they had a good meal – your co-parent is missing out on the real moments.
  • You are not competing with your co-parent: Your relationship with your children is not a competition and their love cannot be bought with toys or entertainment. People of all ages, including children, crave connections because they create a sense of safety. If you start to treat your relationship with them as a competition for affection, you will lose sight of what is important.
  • Always be present when spending time with your kids: If you want to build a real relationship with your children, be present in the moment, listen to them, and pay attention to what they are trying to express. Your children want your attention and your love, so stay tuned into them and try not to fixate on the fun activities your ex-spouse was able to do with them.
  • Have fun: You can be a responsible parent and still have fun with the kids! You do not have to indulge in anything fancy or expensive to create great memories with your kids. Play board games, go for a bike ride, or watch a movie at home. Both you and your co-parent can and should have fun with the kids, because your time with them is precious.

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At The Halks Firm, our family law team will guide you through any family law matter and help you obtain the results you are seeking. We handle a wide range of cases, including divorce, child custody, paternity, and more.

Contact our law office today at (781) 995-0107 to request a complimentary case review with one of our knowledgeable family law attorneys and learn more about your legal options.