When I was a kid, my classmates would tell stories about their adventures during summer vacations spent with their respective families.
They usually went out of town, even out of the country-and their parents were praised as "heroes."
But the best stories were from the ones who went to Disneyland, aka "The Happiest Place on Earth." The memorable experiences of these kids would often be credited to "dad who brought us to Disneyland."
Some of these same classmates would get excited when the school year was about to end because "dad is taking us back to Disneyland in the summer." And then, a few years later, they would say how they dreaded the coming summer vacation because "dad is taking us to Disneyland again!"
This is a trap many fathers (especially those who don't live with their kids) should be wary of. You can fall into it, whether you are a non-custodial father, you work abroad, or your child is studying in the province or in another country. You should beware of turning into what people refer to as the "Disneyland Dad."
Many fathers who don't often see their children are prone to feel that they have to make the most of every second when they visit. These men are driven to do so for different reasons: guilt; a desire to compete with an ex; fear of losing the love of their children; or trying to make up for lost time.
They buy their kids extravagant gifts, take them on costly trips, eat out for every meal, give in to their whims, neglect enforcing discipline-virtually treating them like visiting princes or princesses.
The dad usually saves up a lot of cash to spend on the kids and impress them (and other people) with his extravagance. But the Disneyland Dad's visiting period with the kids is limited. Eventually he will run out of ideas and money.
After a while, everything becomes routine and the children stop enjoying the treat. Worse, the kids become so spoiled by the royal treatment that they react negatively when dad can no longer deliver.