What to tell yourself when your kids save their worst behaviour for you!

Posted in Relationships.

Turns out we’re not imagining it. 

The whinging and the whining. The incessant demands, the cheeky retorts, the big fat ‘NO!” The temper tantrums?

Yep, all of that stuff is just for you, mum and dad.

Everybody else gets the best behaviour

When other people are in the room your little ones are so much better behaved! Ditto when grandparents, uncles or aunts do the job. “The kids were delightful little angels!” says the babysitter.

Which you of course, you know they can be. Sometimes.

Grandparents on swingset at the playground with baby grandchild

Why are kids like this?

Understanding the ‘why’ behind this behaviour is tough to grasp. But according to mothercraft nurse Chris Minogue, a lot of it stems from the contrast in expectations of behaviour between home and school or daycare. 

As she explains, when children are in school or daycare they spend the whole day trying to be good, obeying the rules while trying to absorb everything around them. 

When they return home to mum and dad, not only do they have energy to burn from all that stimulation, they’re also just hanging out to relax and let go of all the rules and regulations. 

“They want to test out the boundaries at home,” says Chris. “This usually means mess and noise and letting them muck around in the backyard with the hose, but it’s totally normal behaviour.”

I guess it’s a bit like how we feel and act after a big day at work  – minus the glass of wine, of course! 

Chris recommends adopting a ‘go with the flow’ attitude when they first get home from school or daycare and focus on being really present.

“They need 100 percent of your attention, so switch off your phone as soon as you get home and get on the floor and play with them. You’ll find 20 minutes of your undivided attention will calm things down and get the rest of the night on track,” says Chris. 

You’ve created a safe space

Toddler girl giving mum a hug - feature

While understanding this can help you as the parent to try and accept the difficult behaviours, when you’re stretched physically and emotionally too, it can drive you up the wall.

On those days, you might need a bit of help to see your children through a kinder lens. 

To help you get there, here’s a beautiful quote from blogger and mum of three, Jill (from Kitchen Fun):

“You have not spoiled your kids rotten if your are greeted at the door with whining and screaming. Oh no … don’t let anyone tell you that … Rather, you’ve created a space safe enough for your child to have permission to be natural.

“So if your kids are nicer when you’re not around, remind yourself that it’s because you’re doing the whole Mum thing right.

“You’ve taught your kids how to behave well in the world.

“Even more importantly, you’ve taught them that you’re a loving Mum who will tuck them in bed and love them today, tomorrow and forever.”

Now, doesn’t that make you feel better?


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