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Disney Dads

(37 Posts)
Daddelion Mon 12-Nov-12 06:12:21

I'd never heard of Disney Dads until I joined MN.

I must admit it's not a term I much like.

I wonder if people realise the effect

Of going from seeing your children every day to every other weekend,

Of a new man appearing and seeing your children a lot more than you.

Of worrying that you'll gradually be faded out of your children's lives.

I think Disenfranchised Dads would be a better name.

Peterpan101 Mon 12-Nov-12 19:27:27

It must be a complement as my ex describes me as one!!! I wouldn't get too wound up about it, whenever women on this site use the term the thread by then has normally descended into a 'mutual man hate'.

My ex places obstacles in my way at every opportunity to prevent me from actually having any meaningful input anymore other than being a: 'daddy's for fun' type. But then, she finds it boring to sit and play with our dd on the floor with her toys, so what would she know??!!

Very few men will hit a happy medium with their ex post split. Everybody has different parenting styles (that's ok). If you're too involved you're trying to 'throw your weight about' if you distance yourself you don't care. Very few women will be happy to be criticised about their parenting style by their ex but feel free to do it themselves.

Consistency is important in a child's life but you must live your life with your children depending on the time and resources you have at your disposal. If you have been limited in time with your children you must make that time as enjoyable for them and you as you can (without being inappropriate). If you need someones opinion about how you're doing, ask a neutral friend who you consider to be a role model as a parent (but not your wife).

I often look at e-mails from my ex telling me how wonderful a father I am and how her friends wish their other half's were as hands on. That normally balances out her most recent outbursts.

I haven't had to deal with the 'new boyfriend' issue yet though. I have faith in my ex's taste/choice in men (she married me didn't she!) so I am hoping for the best for my dd.

GetAllTheThings Tue 13-Nov-12 08:48:42

It's a loathsome phrase that's bandied about too much.

I can understand it's use in some situations. Where there's a parent who offers little support to the RP and just rocks up with gifts and heads off to Alton towers for the day with the dc before leaving.

I've had the 'fun dad' variant a few times from XP. On the one hand I do think ' well what do you expect me to do, I see my child 3 days out of 14, I'm hardly going to force her to do spelling practice all weekend. It's precious time.'

That said, there are in some situations opportunities to see your dc more and give the RP some help if you volunteer to help out with the more work-a-day stuff like taking dc to the doctors, to buy clothes, cover illness etc.

Stick around and you'll hear a lot more phrases you've never heard before grin

colditz Tue 13-Nov-12 09:03:00

I can understand that someone who sees their kids once a fortnight is reluctant to do things like spelling and homework ... However, the consequence of not dong these things is that the child falls behind at school, the mother has to do even more boring grunt work to make up for what hasn't been done by the father, and then the child whines that she "wants to live with daddy", who never makes her do anything she doesn't want. The mothers most likely to complain about the Disney dad phenomenon are the ones stuck with all the work, because the dad just won't do it and doesn't recognise that it is part of parenting.

Funnily enough, I don't want to spend three days practising spellings with my kids either, but I do it because nobody else will, and if I don't they will fail their spelling tests. I'm not being deliberately mean and boring.

Wetthemogwai Tue 13-Nov-12 09:05:32

I think the phrase is more appropriate for the dads who CHOOSE such limited time with their children, it's an awful phrase but if its well placed then it describes an awful attitude and awful situation

Fortyshadesofgreen Tue 13-Nov-12 13:01:53

It is also a phrase bandied about by those who have no right to use it - especially seen it in situations where a fair amount of anomosity remains. So sometimes when it is used, it is not used by those by those who have legitimate reasons to do so.

I can only speak from my own experience and of the experience of those I know, but I have been accused of being a 'Disney Dad'. My ex wife has to do all the hard work, homework, washing clothes, feeding the kids, keeping the house tidy, making sure they get to School on time etc etc. The reality is that I too do all of those.

The reality also is that my eldest (14) comes to me and my wife to get his homework done and get help, we found out that my youngest (8) is left to get on with his online homework on his own (my eldest goes in and helps him because he is struggling). My ex wife's take on the eldest and his homework, applying himself ? Might do him some good to drop down a set or two and make him realise how hard he needs to work.... lets be clear not down to ability, but because as a teenage lad he doesn't always apply himself. So talk to him, help him or just let him slide... I was a teenage boy... once... I know what its like !

If the dad can't be bothered to see his kids regularly and then only wants to do 'fun' things, then I can see where using the term might be valid. If its just being used in a 'woe is me look how hard I have it because their dad does nothing' when the reality is different or the dad is being prevented from spending more times with their kids then its repugnant and offensive.

Of course that is just my personal opinion and gleaned from my own experience smile

Peterpan101 Tue 13-Nov-12 20:46:02

There is of course always the ex partners difference's of opinion on how to look after a child? Why shouldn't the dad be able to decide on a slightly different routine when he's the carer?

My wife's first words to me when ever she arrived home from work was: "is X ready for bed?"......My words back would normally be along the lines: "go and play with X and i'll bring you a cup of tea".

The ex liked X in bed exactly on 19.00 every night....Id always 'suggest that X was never really tired until 20.00, and it was always easier if we waited until then. I was of course an emotionally abusive partner for daring to question a woman's views on child care (like I actually had a right!?).

When I have her overnights now she falls asleep on my lap as we watch child appropriate TV up until 21.00 (do you know how it hurts me to talk about the dresses the ladies are wearing on Strictly!?!).

Both partners should understand that the 'other' has the right to set a different routine.

GetAllTheThings Wed 14-Nov-12 09:48:56

My XP said I should only ever give dd water to drink !

Funnily enough her fridge was filled with children's smoothies and fruit juices.

Oh how I laughed.

I did manage to resist the temptation to ask if I should feed her stale bread crusts.

Fortyshadesofgreen Wed 14-Nov-12 15:16:52

LOL ! If we didn't laugh we would cry !

We would have pages and pages of comedy gold if we put them all on here....

Free now of the repressive yoke of the dictatorship that was our marriage, my ex wife is now 'living her life' and free. However she is uniquely placed to judge my parenting skills...

Long story cut short, was that my youngest wanted to spend more time with me, asked his mum, she said no (I didn't know any of this until weeks later, he was 4 years old...), eventually, after telling me to bugger off with my request of more time (she didn't feel it was in his best interests), she responded to my lawyer with conditions that would have to be met in a 'trial' period to see if it would work and be in my son's best interests she would then judge the success or not of this trial period.... these were.... feed him, bathe him, play with him, do his homework with him and then get him to bed at a sensible time so he wouldn't be tired at School. I had to meet these conditions of course for her to judge the time 'meaningful' and in his best interests. We of course ended up in Court and she to this day can't understand why.... confused Fast forward a couple of years to now. Lets see how we are doing...

Feed Him - yip we do that and it is 90% of the time cooked with Pizza as a treat from Mr Domino. She however isn't doing so great. Beans on toast, a bowl of soup or a jacket potato are the staple mainstays in her house for dinner at the end of a long day at School.
Bathe him - yip and one of us stays with him and talks to him in the bath. It is when he is at his most chatty and probably funniest as well ! She runs him a bath, she goes downstairs, he gets in, she tells him when to get out and out he gets.
Play with him, yip one of us will play with him whatever he is doing. She will stick him on the Xbox in a room on a his own or on the computer on his own.
Do his homework with him. Absolutely, either supervising or helping him. Always. She however will leave him on his own to do his homework online (his 14 year old brother now helps him when at her house). Written homework - well she will leave him to get on with that too.... but then proudly sign it off when completed with xxx xxxxx (Mother).....

Hmmm.... not doing so well against her own benchmarks for meaningful and worthwhile time.... wink

Daddelion Wed 14-Nov-12 18:04:46

I suppose it's a control thing.

Anyway, a lot has changed in a few years, fathers do want to and are more involved.

I'm are we'll get there.

Peterpan101 Wed 14-Nov-12 18:06:14

You both tick all the boxes for being the EA husband your ex's so clearly understood you were!!

Can I have their contact details.....I have a penchant for women who set standards they are free to ignore!.....

There are many men out there who are absolute shits who should never use the term 'father' to refer to themselves. However there are also many women out there that consider just having a uterus qualifies them to be a decent carer.

I wish people could find enough happiness in judging only their own child care performance (preferably by how happy their children appear).

Fortyshadesofgreen Fri 16-Nov-12 12:32:56

Amen to that PeterP smile

By the way mate I don't think you should limit yourself to just my ex - she has 3 single mum friends who are also all top drawer and perfect for you (based on your requirements) !

Happy to pass on all their details ! grin

I must admit to never having heard of emotional abuse, disney dads, projection, love bombing and many other terms before Mumsnet... its certainly an education !

GetAllTheThings Fri 16-Nov-12 12:39:04

just wait till you get accused of 'mansplaining' smile

Fortyshadesofgreen Fri 16-Nov-12 13:43:24

Ohhhh that sounds really bad.... any known cure ?? confused

Or is it basically expaining something that somebody else doesn't want to hear ? wink

GetAllTheThings Fri 16-Nov-12 14:11:22

Well it's one of those words that does have a bono fide rational behind it. It just gets bandied about by a few people whenever they realize you're a man.

It's basically for when a man thinks he's right because he's a man and speaks to women with that kind of patronizing attitude. Fair enough.

There are some though who seem to think it applicable to any man who might be explaining something. It's used as a silencing technique basically. i.e. as you say in your last sentence.

But I've said to much. I feel the laser glare of lurkers.

GetAllTheThings Fri 16-Nov-12 14:12:03

to = too

Fortyshadesofgreen Fri 16-Nov-12 14:19:52

New passport with a new identity... one way plane ticket to Bolivia..... Ruud Gullit style wig.... all on their way to you mate... good luck ! wink

Shhhh... its our secret.....

Peterpan101 Fri 16-Nov-12 18:03:41

'Mansplaining'.....this is the reason why requests from women about 'how do you do this'? Should be met with "feckoff and learn it yourself"......

If I'd only known that 20 years ago I'd have saved myself so much hurt received while I was trying to help!!

Peterpan101 Fri 16-Nov-12 18:26:25

Forty, would the 'quart-hate' use me individually or would it be a social outing sort of affair? Where they could completely ignore their own children and leave it to me to feed, play with and change said children????

I can feel my pulse quickening now with the need to join in slagging off the gym, play group, swimming pool, coffee shop staff while at the same time try and stop their kids running out into the busy road outside (where the above mentioned staff saved their kids the week before, and dared to criticise them).

Could I then clean all their homes as they need a rest after a hard days bitch about their other 'friends' parenting style (who never makes it for the 'Friday hate'??).

Since I left the wife that part of my life has been so unfulfilled!

Daddelion Sun 18-Nov-12 07:01:59

What I don't get is how a father is perfectly fine until separation and then every other weekend is a ok.

Or even less. Any ideas?

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 18-Nov-12 16:59:57


you can't tell them to "feckoff and learn it yourself" as that would be abusive and cause many many red flags.

Peterpan101 Sun 18-Nov-12 19:36:25

That's exactly what the ex wife used to say!

Fortyshadesofgreen Mon 19-Nov-12 12:43:58

PeterP they could fulfill you completely. Think the A Team.... they can turn a pile of insignificant rubbish into something life threatening and dangerous to everyone... ;-)

I am not sure who could be whom.... there was after all, only one 'Howling Mad' in the A Team...

Anyway - can anyone explain to me what gaslighting is ? I have seen it used and am not sure ? Just seen the term hoovering used, that was a new one to me.

GetAllTheThings Mon 19-Nov-12 12:48:58

'Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity'

'The term "gaslighting" comes from the play Gas Light and its film adaptations, in which a husband secretly dims the gas lights in the house and, when his wife remarks on it, he claims that she is mistaken. This is done to convince the woman that she cannot trust her own judgment, and so will not be believed if she tries to report other strange things that are genuinely occurring, which the husband wishes to keep secret. The term is now also used in clinical and research literature'


Fortyshadesofgreen Mon 19-Nov-12 13:03:46

Thanks GATT !

The 'language' of relationships is so bloody difficult to keep up with it seems !

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