As a non-custodial parent or a parent in joint custody, it’s natural to want to make every second that you spend with your kids really count. In pursuit of that quality time, many fathers are accused of being “Disneyland dads,” who care little for the rules and are more friend than parent. In the aftermath of a Glendale divorce, it can be difficult to know where to draw the line. When you only have limited time with your children, it makes it extremely difficult to say ‘no’ or draw boundaries when you do have time together.
As Glendale family law attorneys, we understand that it’s hard to know where to start as a non-custodial parent. Although you want to be your child’s best friend, you also want to take on your share of the responsibility as a parent. However, “laying down the law” doesn’t mean that you have to give up quality time with your kids. In fact, it’s likely that you’ll find your bond with your children deepening as you take a more active hand in their daily lives.
What Can I Do to Avoid Being a “Disneyland Dad?”
- Keep your promises. Although you’re busy on your “off” days, make sure that you make good on any promises you’ve made to your child. Call when you said you would call. Pick up the movie you promised you’d watch together next time.
- Make rules, and stick to them. Communicate with the custodial parent about the rules, and decide how they will be implemented on your days. Be clear about the rules - and what happens when a rule is broken. Make sure you are consistent in enforcing the rules.
- Communicate. Children crave one-on-one time with their parents, and it’s important that you talk with your kids and take an interest in what they do each day. Keeping the lines of communication open will build trust, and it means that your kids will know that they can always talk to you.
- Attend activities. Even if the activity doesn’t fall on a day when the kids are with you, try to attend baseball games, dance recitals, class plays, etc. that they are involved in. They’ll love seeing you in the audience, and it will show that you want to take an active part in their lives.
- Do homework together. Working together on homework, scout badges, and other assignments means great one-on-one time, and you get a firsthand view of your child’s interests and progress.
If you have questions about child custody in Glendale, or if you need help establishing paternity, speak with one of our highly qualified Phoenix family law attorneys today at 1-888-929-5292 to schedule a completely free, no-obligation legal consultation. We also recommend that you request a FREE copy of our helpful book, Arizona Family Law – How to Handle Tough Issues in Tough Times.