When parents separate, divorce or never marry, they often have to split custody of the child. Normally, if a cordial agreement is reached, the child spends the week with one parent and may visit the other parent on weekends or twice a month. For the visitation parent, they may be in another relationship or it may be more convenient to not have full time custody of their child. If the split is contentious, a mediator or court may settle the visitation and child support payments to the custodial parent who keeps the kid most of the time.
Parents that do not have a court ordered payment plan may feel the need to compensate for not having to make regular support payments by spoiling the kids rotten and showering them with gifts on the days they have them. This means taking them on trips, fun play parks and of course buying them tons and tons of toys and other goodies to take home. By showering their kids with gifts on the weekends they have them, these parents may feel like they are buying affection or forgiveness for not being there regularly. The kids love it!
Note that on the first visit with Tom Cruise, he took daughter Suri to Disney world, spurring a bunch of tabloids to speculate that Suri prefers to stay with him.
But the custodial parent isn’t always happy with the “spoilation.”
In real world among regular non-celebrity parents, what happens when the “visitation” parent returns the kids to their custodial parents until the next visit? I’ll tell you what: They create little entitlement kids who expect gifts and toys all the time. The kids also can become jealous of other kids when they receive gifts because they are used to being the subject of material affection. It can make birthday parties when other children are celebrated difficult.
Also, it grows a child who has a sense of entitlement and who expects rewards without hard work.
How to curb this problem? If you are the custodial parent, press upon the visitation parent to NOT give the child a gift at each visit. Instead, give the monetary value of a gift to you to use on the child later. The custodial parent, especially if they do not receive regular child support payment, can use that money for child care so mom/or dad can go out. They can use it to buy a toy when earned.
It’s one of many challenges and struggles that parents and children have to deal with when they are not being parented in the same home by their birth parents.
Have you had to deal with this challenge? How have you reacted? What have been the response of the kids? What would you suggest other parents’ do to cope or deal?