Coping with the Disneyland Dad syndrome

It's a problem many divorced parents face — their ex ignores the drudgery of day-to-day parenting chores in favor of sweeping gestures like sold-out concert tickets, ski weekends in the Berkshires or Fifth Avenue shopping sprees. The parent with lesser means and daily responsibilities has no way to realistically match up, and it feels as if the playing field is tilted unfairly in the other direction.

But buying your kids' affection is a double-edged sword. It won't be long before the children grow old enough to understand the value of a committed parent who shows up to every ballet practice and soccer meet. But in the meanwhile, allowing them to enjoy the perks their non-custodial parent tosses their way can really be irksome.

Taking out frustration or anger at your ex's parenting techniques is sure to backfire, say the experts. It is sure to cast you in the role of "bad cop" to your ex's "good cop." While it may chafe that your ex allows them to watch adult-themed movies, stay up past midnight and have unlimited screen time while visiting, it's important to accept that you cannot control the children's activities when they are with their other parent.

You have to force yourself to rise above the situation and allow the kids to experience that side of life without compensating by turning into the Enforcer and alienating them from you.

If you have particular concerns about a certain aspect of your ex's parenting, e.g., if watching horror movies is giving your 11-year-old nightmares or you fear that unrestricted Internet usage could expose them to dangerous pedophiles, address the matter calmly with your former spouse. See if he or she will agree to put the brakes on some of the more questionable parenting practices without inflicting a guilt trip.

If you are truly concerned that your children are being needlessly exposed to dangerous elements when they are with their other parent, it might be in the children's best interests to speak to your family law attorney about a modification to your child custody judgment.

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

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