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  • Writer's pictureAngela Larimer

The Fun Parent

Family Law resolutions offer opportunities to make a fresh start and improve your life. For help with your divorce, parentage, child support and parenting time, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, call Angela Larimer at 773-370-0600 or email Angela at

“I have all of the responsibility and my ex gets the kids for vacations and fun times” is a common complaint that we hear in family law cases. It’s often true.

"Some parents worry that when they are the disciplinarian, they are not perceived as the 'fun' parent anymore. There may be situations where the kids stay with Mom during the school year, and the other parent only has them in the summer or on weekends. Children might view one parent as the 'fun parent' and the other parent as the one who has rules, structure, and discipline.

To put this topic in simple terms... STOP WORRYING ABOUT BEING THE FUN PARENT! Children needs structure, rules and regularity. What you are providing for your children is actually the basis for their structure, stability and life. It gives them the feeling of security and routine. Children will always like what is fun, easy, and carefree.

If the other parent is not always around or only has certain times/dates with the child and he wants to play the role of the 'fun parent,' then let him! Why, one might ask? 'This doesn't seem fair' or 'My child always has a fun time with the other parent while I am stuck doing the grunt work.’ It’s better for children to have a present parent than one who is absent. Children are smart. They will know where they can go for the advice, love, structure that you provide.

The fact of the matter is that children need balance. If you are the disciplinarian and provide structure and rules, then you must remember that it is far more important for you to establish their future than to be the 'fun' or 'likable' parent.

Try not to view it as a competition of who is the 'cooler' parent. Change your perspective to view it as a chance for you to also take the time to relax, pick up a new hobby, read a book, paint a room, see a movie with friends, have some time to yourself, go out with friends, or have a nice date! Know that your child is still able to get the best of both worlds. It’s a lot better for your child if he or she enjoys spending time with your ex. The parent with fewer parental responsibilities might very well be the fun parent because they are not in charge of round-the-clock care.

This is an opportunity for you to let the other parent do some of the parenting while you take some personal time to do what you enjoy. Don’t let the parenting time the other parent has interfere with your own personal joy. If your kids are having fun, all the better for you. As this gives you the opportunity to relax during your free time!

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