I’M ONE OF THOSE "DISNEYLAND DADS" WHO DOESN’T GET TO SEE MY KIDS VERY OFTEN. WHY SHOULD I WASTE OUR PRECIOUS TIME ON HOMEWORK OR CHORES?
DR. RUTHERFORD: I would suspect this may be a common feeling among divorced parents who share custody and don’t see their kids on a daily basis.
MOLLY: We received this submission from a father in Seattle. He elaborated that he only gets to see his children for six hours per week, so "every second counts.” He explains, “They still have to obey, but I don't want to waste precious time on routine things like homework or chores. Why shouldn’t I plan something exciting for us to do together?”
I don't know, but it seems to me that parenting involves not only doing the fun stuff but also the stuff that isn’t so fun, like reminding your kids to do their homework or teaching them manners or having them clean up their room. If he isn’t doing any of this, doesn’t it put the entire burden on the other parent, the mom?
DR. RUTHERFORD: I was thinking the same thing, and then the children get a distorted view on who is the responsible parent. They are likely not to associate their father with the nuts and bolts of living.
On the one hand, I understand that he has a limited amount of time available to spend with his children and when he sees them he wants to maximize their time together; but on the other hand, doing homework and chores and things like that are part of the everyday life of a child and can very important in terms of social and moral development.
MOLLY: Do you think it's a bad thing for kids growing up in a divorced household to view their father as a "Disneyland Dad?" If he only gets 6 hours, I understand why he would want to make the most of that time.
DR. RUTHERFORD: Being a "Disneyland Dad" may marginalize....
Molly Skyar and her mother Dr. Susan Rutherford publish Conversations With My Mother.com, an online resource for offering practical parenting tips and psychological insight into raising kids. Dr. Rutherford is a Clinical Psychologist with a busy family practice for more than 30 years. She has degrees from Duke University, New York University, and the University of Denver.
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