Making The Complex

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How do you handle a weekend parent who spoils your kids?

Many divorced Louisiana parents face the dilemma that parents have faced for decades — having an ex-spouse who sees the kids on the weekends and spoils them during that limited time together. If you’re the one doing the day-to-day parenting, making sure that they do their homework, eat right and go to bed and get up on time, it can be frustrating when your ex is the “fun” parent. The phenomenon even has a name — the Disneyland dad (or mom).

Parenting experts remind us that while kids may enjoy this respite from the rules, in the end, they appreciate the consistency that the parent with whom they spend most of their time provides. After all, that’s the parent to whom they turn during their struggles with everyday life.

With that in mind, here are some common frustrations of those co-parenting with a Disneyland dad or mom and how to handle them. You may feel like you’re losing the contest for favorite parent, but in the long run, your kids will likely realize that you were the one who gave them stability during an unstable time in their lives.

Parents who have their kids on the weekends and special occasions may let them get away with staying up late, eating junk food and generally having few rules. Remember that your ex’s time with the kids is his or hers and stop trying to control it. Focus your energy on being the best parent you can be.

The parent who has less time with the kids may overcompensate by buying gifts or taking them places that you can’t afford. Instead of being resentful, remind yourself that your children miss having both parents around, and let them enjoy the extras they get from their other parent. In the end, it’s the parent who’s there for them on a regular basis who they’ll appreciate more than the one who buys them the latest electronic device or gets tickets to a Saints’ game.

If your ex’s time with the kids interferes with their “regular” lives, it may be time to talk to your ex. Explain not how his or her actions make you feel, but how it impacts the kids. If that doesn’t work, some mediation or family therapy may be in order to help everyone adjust to his or her new “normal.”

Source: Huffington Post, “How To Deal When Your Ex Is A Disneyland Dad,” Brittany Wong, Oct. 02, 2015


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