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What are “Disneyland Dads” and “Mall Moms”?

| Jan 18, 2021 | Divorce |

The conclusion of your divorce proceedings in Texas brings with it a certain degree of finality. Yet in reality, you now face a future in which your ex-spouse still maintains a large presence in your life. This is especially true if you have children together. While the hope is that the best interest of your kids from the foundation of both yours and your ex-spouse’s decisions, that is not always the case.

The potential always exists of your ex-spouse becoming a “Disneyland Dad” or a “Mall Mom.” Such a scenario can lead to further tension between you and your ex-spouse, and potentially place you in an awkward role with your kids.

Consistently spoiling the kids

According to the National Center for Fathering, a “Disneyland Dad” or “Mall Mom” is “a noncustodial parent who indulges his or her child with gifts and good times during visitation and leaves most or all disciplinary responsibilities to the other parent.” Indicators that this describes your current custodial situation include:

  • Your ex-spouse filling their custodial or visitation time with activities and trips
  • Your ex-spouse constantly buying your kids the latest toys and technological gadgets
  • Your ex-spouse imposing no household rules when they have the kids

Your ex-spouse may claim they simply want to make the most of their time with the kids. Yet often their motive is to paint you as the strict authoritarian (thus undermining your parental authority).

Who undermines who?

In reality, however, spoiling the kids may have the opposite effect. Family counselors often attest to the fact that kids often do not take the parent that spoils them seriously (seeing them more as a friend than a parental authority). Therefore, while it may be difficult to hear stories of your ex-spouse constantly spoiling the kids, know that your steadiness may be more likely to earn your kids’ ultimate trust.