As the headline indicates, dads often shoulder the blame for the “Disneyland parent” syndrome. But in reality, both parents may spoil the child as a way of apologize for the divorce. Whether you’re a dad or a mom, it’s important to not internalize the stress you feel over the divorce and maintain consistent parenting.
Remind your child that you’re there all the time and not just during weekend visits or summer vacations.
Parents that don’t have child custody are more likely to try buying a child’s love. It’s only normal that you’d want your child to like you and want to see you, but in the long run it’s the time spent bonding and sharing morals and values that will connect you to your child.
If you have tendencies towards the Disneyland parent syndrome, here are 10 tips to get you back on track:
1. Communicate often
Call every day (or as often as you can), and let your child know he or she can speak with you whenever they want.
2. Take initiative to be involved
Birthdays and other celebrations are important, but so are day-to-day functions. Your child will remember if you didn’t attend recitals, school functions, and ball games. Don’t wait for an invitation from your child or former spouse. Make an effort to find out about events and attend on your own accord.
3. Remain consistent
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. This sometimes involves little things, not just lavish vacations. For example, if you say you’ll pick up your child after school, be there on time.
4. Small surprises have an impact too
A small note or gift in their backpack let’s your child know you are thinking of them and love them. Remind your child that you’re there all the time and not just during weekend visits or summer vacations.
5. Create consequences
Children of divorce require discipline too. When your child breaks a rule or is disobedient, create consequences just like you did when you were married. Your kids need a parent more than a friend; they’ll respect you more in the long run too.
6. Quality time
When your kids are coming over to your house, spend time with them and not the television. Set everything aside and focus on them.
7. Ask your kids
Find out what your children want to do and talk about when you’re together. Think about their needs and wants too.
8. Don’t cancel
Do whatever you can to keep your visitation schedule intact. Don’t cancel on your kids.
9. Let them be themselves (kids!)
If you have negative feelings about the other parent, keep them from your kids. They should be sheltered from those issues and allowed to be kids.
10. Cut out the extras
It should be business as usual at your house. Don’t relax the rules or buy gifts out of guilt. While treating your child to an extra toy or fun activity occasionally is acceptable, know your limits or they won’t know theirs.