Completely different parenting approaches
My marriage ended two years ago when our Son was six months old. For various reasons we have been going through court processes for access and other orders ( we are from different countries / cultures). As a result, our little boy has been completely raised by me and has contact with his father through Skype and one hour weekly in a contact centre. They have also seen each other for half days around once a month (very loosely supervised by my Mum).
Our next court case is likely to start unsupervised contact between them, which I accept is in the best interests of our son. My worry is, that our little boy who will soon be 3 is such a sweet, emotionally expressive child.. It feels to me like his Dad isn't sensitive to that. He buys him things which are completely age innapropriate, (two wheel bikes, nerf guns, teaches him to 'sword fight' etc). Recently on a Skype call our son showed his Dad his 'magic wand' and was told that 'boys don't play with fairy wands'.
He plies him with chocolate, fizzy drinks, and lets him run loose in public because 'boys don't hold hands'.
I'm so worried that a lack of consistency for our Son is going to set him back and make him feel confused and unsafe (and probably trigger a lot of poor behaviour too). I do understand that my ex has missed time with his son and being the 'fun parent' will no doubt mean that our Son can't wait for his visits, but I'm so worried about this. I'm certain that once court is over my ex will at best ignore me, but more likely be deliberately nasty and unwilling to communicate.
Does anyone have experience of very different parenting styles and has it negatively affected your young children? Thank you