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What is a Disneyland dad?

Like any father in Texas, you want to have fun and make memories with your children when it’s your turn to have them over. Your visitation plans might include taking them out to eat, a night at the movies and maybe even a trip to a theme park. Unfortunately, after one particularly fun visit, your ex called you a Disneyland dad. What exactly does this term mean, and why is it demeaning?

As the National Center for Fathering Explains, “Disneyland dad” is a disparaging term given to fathers who are accused of lavishing gifts and fun times on their children instead of spending quality time with them. The description is meant for dads who are only interested in the good times and not the responsible part of parenting. The label can apply to mothers as well as fathers, but more often involves dads, since men usually have less parenting time with their children.

Some fathers might indulge their children to “get back” at the other parent by being seen as the fun one. You might want to do extra things during visitation because you missed your kids or you feel guilty that they don’t get to see you as often. Or, your ex may simply accuse you of being a Disneyland dad any time you do something special with them, no matter how rare these times are. It’s important to balance fun trips and gifts with teaching your children responsibility and keeping consistent rules and routines. Your children will remember the good times you spend with them, but they will also remember if you were interested and involved with their daily activities.

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