A Disneyland parent refers to someone who wants only to do the fun bits of parenting. It typically happens after the parents separate.
If your ex tends toward this parenting style, it could soon become tiring if they leave all the other parenting duties to you. You may also find your children comparing you to your co-parent, asking why you can’t be more fun like them.
Here are some examples of Disneyland parenting:
Buying your kids things you cannot afford or don’t allow
Your child has just turned seven, and your ex turns up at the door with a surprise package. To your horror, it is a brand new iPhone in the latest model. You think it is a ridiculous idea and pull them aside to explain that phones are bad for young brains and such an expensive item puts your child at risk of attack. Your ex just laughs and points at your smiling child, telling you to look how happy they are.
Throwing your plans into chaos with an outing your child can’t refuse
You’ve planned to go to your sister’s this weekend, so the kids can play together. Then the phone rings. It’s your ex telling you they’ve got tickets for the Harry Styles concert, and they’ll pick the child up at six. They say they’ve had them for a while, but they wanted it to be a surprise for the child. You know your child would hate you if you tell them they can’t go, so you’ve little choice but to ring your sister and cancel.
What can you do?
Your first option is to set some ground rules when agreeing on custody. If your co-parent refuses to stick to them or just turns out to be a real pain to co-parent with, you might need to look at going back to the court to make some modifications.