Sharing custody with your ex can be very hard on both of you, as well as on your children. Unfortunately, some parenting styles and approaches to post-divorce shared custody can cause a lot of difficulty for everyone involved in the family.

One of the most problematic personalities to co-parent with is the Disneyland parent. No, these aren’t just people who have an annual park pass and enjoy going to theme parks with children. Sharing interests with your children is a healthy and positive approach to parenting in some cases.

Disneyland parenting is an extreme form of permissive parenting that one parent may employ after the divorce in order to get on the good side of the children. Not only does Disneyland parenting disrupt a family’s stability, but it also places a lot of pressure on the other parent sharing custody.

A Disneyland parent focuses on fun and gifts

Being a parent is a full-time job. You have to spend a lot of time thinking about what is best for your children and helping shape them into productive and healthy adults. Sometimes, being a good parent means denying your children things that they want at the moment.

Whether it’s staying up until 1 in the morning to watch a sitcom marathon, eating nothing but candy for a week or putting off homework until Sunday on a weekend during the school year, there are many things that children want to do that aren’t necessarily in their best interests. As a parent, your job is not just to provide for your children’s basic life needs but also to encourage them to make healthy decisions.

Good structure and proper discipline are key to adequate parenting. Unfortunately, Disneyland parents abandon structure and focus on trying to be their kids’ best friend. While that may mean that their children want to spend more time with the family after the divorce, it also means that their ex is the one who has to make up for the lack of discipline and structure, which can be difficult.

Co-parenting therapy or modifications may be necessary with a Disneyland parent

Sometimes, having an earnest and calm conversation about how all of the fun has started to impact the children negatively is enough to get a Disneyland parent to settle into a more normal and appropriate parenting routine. Other times, you may need professional intervention.

A co-parenting counselor or therapist can weigh in on the situation where one parent is acting more like a child than an adult and guide both adults to more successful shared custody. In extreme cases where a parent has contributed to a child’s illness, scholarly issues or other behavioral problems by consistently refusing to adhere to structure or discipline the child, the courts may agree to adjust the parenting plan to reflect these challenges.