Revisiting the ‘Disney Land Parent’ Conversation and How to Avoid Being One
Revisiting the ‘Disney Land Parent’ Conversation and How to Avoid Being One

Revisiting the ‘Disney Land Parent’ Conversation and How to Avoid Being One

Many parents hear the term “Disney Land Parent” and associate it with endless fun and a lifetime of memories. And you cannot blame them; after all, any parent would love for their child to see them as the fun parent. Unfortunately, too much boundary-less fun is not always the best thing to do — especially when you are recently divorced.

Hence, the term Disney Land Parent. We introduced this topic in a short but popular blog post seven years ago to open every parent’s eyes to the importance of having a loving relationship with their child that strikes a healthy balance between fun and structure.

What Is a Disney Land Parent?

It is a well-documented fact that children of broken marriages often struggle with divorce more than their parents. They are scared, confused by the threat to their security, and are likely blaming themselves for your problems. As a result, they can go into an emotional shell if they are not handled with love and affection. It happens all the time, and I cannot stress this enough when I say the child is generally the one injured the most in the events that lead up to, and the aftermath of, a divorce.

Just a few of the psychological effects of a divorce on a child include:

  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Opposition
  • Aggression
  • Impulsivity
  • Lower academic achievement
  • Low self-esteem

As a parent, you should absolutely love on your child and make sure they know you will always be there for them. But the term “Disney Land Parent (formerly known as Disney Land Dad) characterizes someone who tries to overcompensate for a broken marriage by spoiling their children out of sheer guilt that they had a divorce. For example … they indulge their child with toys, gifts, and good times during their times of possession. They rarely say no and leave disciplinary actions to the other parent. They also might live by the “no work, all fun” approach to parenting.

The Disney Land Parent approach can be extremely frustrating to the other parent, who is trying to maintain structure. And it can absolutely have negative effects on the kids. Here are some tips on how not to become a Disney Land Parent.

  1. Set Limits and Follow Them

Divorce is hard, and you absolutely need to ensure your child feels safe and loved. But that does not mean that you let your child do as they wish. As a parent, it is your responsibility to set limits. A house without rules and limits can be hard to control since the child has no real limitations to follow and can just about do anything. Even if you have gone through a divorce, you need to be clear with your child that the limits around the house have not changed.

  1. Be the Adult in the House

We realize you may be struggling with the divorce, too. But there is no justification for immature behavior. A house needs an adult to run smoothly, and as a parent, you need to realize you are that adult. Do not just recognize that fact — make sure you act on it and show your child who the adult in the house is and who is in charge.

  1. Let the Guilt Go Away

Most parents spoil their children because they feel all the child has gone through is their fault. What they must understand is that raising a spoiled child will ruin that child’s future. To get rid of the guilt, it is OK to treat them with care, love, and affection. But you should not be afraid to hold them accountable for their mistakes. Further, often times staying married in a dysfunctional marriage can be as damaging as the divorce.

When you feel like you have turned your kids’ world upside down, it can be easy to promise them all sorts of nice things to make it up to them and become a Disney Land Parent. Doing this does not necessarily solve anything; it only masks what will still be a new way of life for the entire family. On top of that, you may not be able to deliver on some of those promises. Instead, promise them you will always be there for them no matter what happens and be upfront about the difficult road ahead.

Call Nelson Law Group today!!

As a parent, an essential duty is to show your children what a healthy relationship looks like after divorce. Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC, a call if you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue. Our staff is always available. Give us a call today!


For more information about Brett A. Nelson, click here.

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Source: Nelson Law Group