A New Study Shows That Kids Are The Most Misbehaved Around Their Moms

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Have you ever noticed that your kids are somehow nicer when you’re not around? Every Mom has probably noticed that. It’s almost a universal known thing that kids misbehave around their moms the most.

You’re not imagining it. Psychologists know that it happens and more importantly, they know why. It’s important that you know why, too. Speaking of what psychologists know about kids that can really help you as a parent, read our post about how and why you should recognize anxiety in children.

Why Kid Misbehave Around Their Moms the Most

We spotted this article, “Study: Children Are 800% Worse When Their Mothers are in the Room” (a fake study). Even though you will quickly realize that this is all in fun and totally fake, we all know that their is a lot of truth to this!

Why Kids Misbehave Around Their Moms

Unless there is some sort of trouble at home, kiddos know with every fiber in their little bodies that home is a safe place.

Sure, they know that if they grab a pair of scissors and jump up and down on the sofa, they are definitely getting in trouble.

And yes, they understand that hitting a sibling is going to put them on Mom’s bad side.

But more than anything else, kids understand that home is their soft place to land. They know they can trust you.

They know you love them no matter what.

Why Kid Misbehave Around Their Moms the Most

In a nutshell, that’s why kids misbehave around their moms.

When young children are at school, for example, they are using every part of their limited power over their impulses.

In other words, it takes a lot of self-control for them to be on the right side of the rules for so many hours.

Kids know what the world expects of them for the school day. They need to follow the rules. That’s their job. Follow those rules.

When they get home they are like a bottle of soda that’s been shaken until it’s going to pop. If you take that lid off too quickly, it’ll explode.

It’s not their fault. It’s a challenge for little brains to control their behavior for so long a time.

Then you show up. The person they trust. The person that will love them even when they’re not perfect.

They can finally breathe and relax. They can be who they are in that moment. Grumpy. Happy. Loud. Tired. Messy.

You’ll still love them – even if you get angry at them. They are certain of it.

Tip: You can help kids transition from being at school to being at home by giving them some time to be loud and to run around and exercise. It’s a release. It’s like taking off the lid of the soda bottle slowly.

Whether your child is perfect at school, or at daycare, or at a friend’s house and then they walk through your door as a loud, crazy kid monster, it’s all the same thing.

You can see that as an aggravation (which I know it is). Or you can take a deep breath and remember that because you’re a great Mom, your kids can be themselves with you.

So if your kids are nicer when you’re not around, remind yourself that it’s because you’re doing the whole Mom 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 Mom who will tuck them in bed and love them today, tomorrow and forever.

Nice going, Momma!

You may like this positive discipline book for toddlers for the days that they do act up around you. It’s very helpful!

Kids Misbehave The Most Around Their Moms

Why Kid Misbehave Around Their Moms the Most

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87 comments on “A New Study Shows That Kids Are The Most Misbehaved Around Their Moms”

  1. Reading this Amazing article….nodding yes the whole way through…and at the end I’m trying hard to hold back the tears…..this really made sense and made me feel a little less Horrible….. Thank You to the great writer..Much Love to You and yours

  2. Miranda Henkle

    Hi im a mom of three beautiful girls and they may drive me crazy but when they are around friends and family they know how to act i love my girls no matter what im a single mother 

  3. This is a very nice reinforcement of a back handed compliment to moms who wonder why their children act up at home, and not elsewhere. Do know, though, that mom is only capitalized when you are using it in place of her first name, as an example Mom/Christine. Mom does not always need to be capitalized. Do need to know that mom as the subject or noun in a sentence would not need capitalization. My career was as an elementary school teacher while doubling as a single mom with two daughters good as gold when out of my sight, but little rugrats at home.

  4. Why do my boys behave better for their grandma than they do for me and we all live together?‍♀️

  5. Robert D Starnes

    Kids used to get out of school and then go run around the neighborhood playing with their friends. Now it seems like they are attached to an adult 24/7. I rarely see children playing outside alone any more. Kids never get to be themselves with someone hovering over them all the time.

  6. Thank u. I just thought my parenting was way wrong and my dad and mother was better at it. My son tells me he doesn’t act out with my dad because he will get mad at him….. The aticle explains this way of thinking very well.

  7. I love this read very much, And I agree, but I really think it’s not when Mom is around but when the child’s main caregiver is around.
    Granted, the majority primary caregiver is mom, but in our changing world, with so many moms being career oriented that dads now are becoming the main caregivers in many homes.
    Loved your article 

  8. That’s some interesting content, especially because the son of my neighbors is like a little brat. Now I understand why and whose fault it is 🙂 Thanks a lot for the write-up.

  9. Read a lot of comments that dad’s were left out – I get it. So that aside, I am the primary caregiver in our home. Our son does come to me more and behaves less well for mom, but goes to her for different things and we find balance. Let’s all agree to be reading this in the first place because we are caring, involved parents. parenting is hard enough without arguing who is who. We do the best we can, and sometimes (often) many of us feel even our best is not enough. Support each other. Rather than focusing the discussion on why was dad left out (I get it though), focus on providing that safe space for our kids to be who they are. That anger, disappointment and frustration are emotions we all have. They are not bad emotions, they are just less accepted and more difficult to navigate and learn how to handle. That’s where we (parents) come in. Validate the emotion, talk it through, help them recognize it and what to do with it.
    well – that was longer than I thought- A solute to all of us – parents/caregivers (and all those really special folks raising grand children, nieces and nephews, and every way to raise children there is) – doing the best we can.

  10. Another article about moms, patting themselves on the back as their children misbehave. I’ m a dad that knows how to play, laugh and have fun daily with my children. Difference between my wife and I is that I calmly and consistently provide discipline and follow through with action rather than endless debating. My kids rarely cry when I’m alone with them, happy and well adjusted. As soon as mom walks through the door, drama city.

  11. This is exactly what’s wrong with kids today!  Parents who feel like children are entitled to their “space”.  As if school is a tremendous imposition on their rights or freedom to be children and we, as parents, have to provide opportunities for them to be “themselves”.  Absolutely ludicrous!  The job of parenting is to teach children to conform to the expectations of the world which will make no allowances for them. Stop acting as if childhood is some protected environment and it’s our job to cushion the blow. It’s our job to prepare them for the realities of life and we have created a generation of soft, weak children who will be destroyed when they face life head on. Don’t let your children be monsters with you, moms. Teach them to respect you, to obey you, to behave!  Life isn’t fair, get over it kids. 

  12. The answer to that question is a no brainer. Kids misbehave when they know someone is around who will take up for them when they do. An ally in other words.

  13. I like how an article is written a certain way and females are quick to bash the males for asking the obvious question that the article has quietly presented. For the majority of homes there is a father present. So basically what it sounds like you are saying is that kids don’t trust that their dads will love them no matter what so. So they won’t misbehave around them because they don’t get that feeling of unconditional love? Very valid question I think

  14. Many times we asked ourselves “where did we go wrong?” but recently we witnessed our 15 year old completely transform into a gentleman during a school interview. Then again during his school conference! We can finally see some real progress. Hoping for the best! Thank you for the article. 

  15. Thank u. I just thought my parenting was way wrong and my dad and mother was better at it. My son tells me he doesn’t act out with my dad because he will get mad at him….. The aticle explains this way of thinking very well. He is afrade they wont love him as much and wants to follow the rules. But with me he knows i will still love him……

  16. Kidsintrigueme

    Wow there are a lot of men on here crying “but what about me!”. Yes, don’t worry there will be articles praising dads and the brilliant recipe they bring to the table for children. I think sometimes you just have to read an article in the spirit it was intended and not get offended because your demographic wasn’t a key factor mentioned. 
    I’m an inhome carer/educator and a mum and it grates me daily that my own child is the worst behaved of all the kids, even though I give the same expectations and consequences as my care kids & sometimes even more because I’m careful not to show favouritism.  Our daughter is so good for aunties, friends and grandparents but the minute she’s with us or particularly me, she breaks down and pushes all the boundaries and seems to go nuts!! She’s a little better for Dad but not always.  I realised this was happening with a lot of my care children too! The minute mum or Dad walked in, suddenly this “other” child would appear and reek havoc, talk back, get physical or become obnoxious.  One boy would run around so crazily that it became a running joke because he often injured himself from falling over, he once ran into a bush and poked his eye or bumped his head on a wall due to swinging around Mum or Dads legs at pick up time. This author is completely right, kids behave well all day and hold it in and then let their crazy emerge for parents and it’s not just Mums, it’s definitely Dads too. In fact it can be whoever the child may view as the primary caregiver or whomever seems to let them be themselves unconditionally and fly their freak flag! Hahaha

  17. Mindless. Children misbehave around the mother because the father is typically the one who does the disciplining (spanking). Not because “you’re a great Mom, your kids can be themselves with you.” or “because you’re doing the whole Mom thing right.” They can’t be themselves around dad, or?

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

    And now I present to you the crime statistics of father-less youths…

    Absolute cringe to read. Pat yourself on the back some more.

    1. I would have to agree to disagree with this. In my experience anyway…..me, the mom, I’m the one that does the discipline (grounding, spanking, ect.) at our house, not my husband and my kids are still like this. They misbehave more with me than anybody else especially my husband. He has rarely ever disciplined them and yet they behave better with him. At school ive never had issues with them. They make straight A’S and all their teachers have always had nothing but good things to say about them. They Tell me they are some of the best behaved kids in the class and has such great manners and is very respectful to anybody they come in contact with. Always very helpful and friendly to others. Just all around the perfect kids almost but at home with me its like they are different kids. So me personally, i can relate to this article. Not saying dad doesn’t play an important role in a kids life but its not always just cause they don’t get disciplined.

    2. Pffft ok I do the spanking the father isn’t in the picture!!! Actually nobody is I do it all by myself!!! My son acts terrible around me but anyone else will tell you he’s such a good kid!!! My response every time is haha live with him!!! Explain that!!! So yes I can relate to this article!!! And it’s definitely not because I don’t correct him!!! Believe me he gets his fair share of spankings!!!

    3. Always Well behaved

      Agreed. I was raised in the Caribbean by my mother and was expected to be well behaved at all times. My father was the more lax parent that allowed me to do what I wanted, but I was still well behaved because that’s how my mother raised me. I understand the whole “safe space” thing, but it doesn’t mean you can’t trust your parents and be well behaved at the same time. 

      I supposed it boils down to The child’s personality and the parenting styles… 

  18. Amazing – I’m a single mom to 3 little boys (2 year old twins and a 3 year old!). I really needed to hear this today! I had a parent-teacher conference at their daycare and was bracing myself for the worst. I was incredibly surprised when they said my boys listen and do very well in structured settings (like walking in line….sitting in a circle…behaving at the lunch table). I’m like, “What? Are you sure you are talking about MY kids?” LOL. So thank you for this confirmation that my boys aren’t just little Dr. Jeckylls and Mr. Hydes!

  19. If psychologists know the answer then you should ask them why dogs also do the same thing.  

    It’s way deeper than bottled up energy alone.   No discipline and no follow through if they try.  

  20. People, stop the insanity! If this article doesn’t hold true for you… Fine! If this article doesn’t mention you… It’s still okay! The internet is a big place. Run a search for what ever type of person or parent you are and “misbehaving kids” and I’m sure you will find what ever validation or argument you need.

    Seriously, if you have kids and can still hold everything together, you deserve an award. Nobody has taken anything away from you by writing, reading or commenting on this article. Stop acting like you have been robbed or wronged.

    This is a light hearted puff piece to read while you are in the bathroom or hiding in the pantry or after the kids have gone to bed… whenever you found the time to read. Gold Star for reading!!! Now get back out there and fight the good fight. Your kids need you more than you need to argue about this article.

  21. Absolute rubbish!!! Insert parent instead of mum you may have something. Stop associating home/with mum as the same thing you may have something. Absolute utter twoddle otherwise. There’s only one role at home and that is parent/guardian, there’s no gender attached to family roles, as there is only one !

  22. Wow! Great article and ineteresting point of view. I would have never thought about that. It brings soo much into perspective.

  23. I agree with this article 100%, accepting gender roles even though I’m a Democrat. Women have the compassion for caring and nurturing, while men have the capacity to … wait game of thrones. SHUT UP!!! EVERYBODY

    1. I wish we had the ability to “like” comments here, because Bill, you speak truth.

  24. I guess if you really read into it, it’s saying kids are different away from home. It’s a known fact. I am a father who raised my two boys and daughter by myself since they were about 5 years old. Now they are grown with kids of their own, and yet they still know they are safe and loved here with old dad. I am currently raising my 15 year old grandson for last 14 years. We have our ups and downs, but at the end of the day he knows he’s safe and loved with Papa. Great Article.

  25. Donald Sexton

    You say mom, but you mean stay at home parent. I pour out myself to my son and end up being excluded because of my gender, because I am a dad and not a “mom”. 

    I will get off my soapbox now and say great post.

  26. Ahem *father*
    In our case father….. we can unconditionally love, nurture and raise children in the world too….!! Well I guess I’m trying to say I can…. it wasn’t and hasn’t been easy losing her we all process that uniquely but not one of us can say it’s been an easy road…. but it’s a wonderful and amazing time now and will continue to be… as long as I’m in the other room hehe

  27. So as others have expressed, the article or said thoughts and opinions are very misleading from the title. I find this to be more of a reassurance from one mother to another that it’s cool for us parents to lose our shit once In a while. But as a stay at home father it would have have been nice to be reassured as well. Yes, everyone notices there kids behave differently in different environments and I can agree with home being the safe spot to let loose for them, but just cause schools out doesn’t mean rules don’t apply at home. The day we slap a sticker on releasing energy and unwinding as “misbehaving” is a whole new problem.

  28. When told years ago how well behaved and reaped truly my kids were at someone else’s home, I would say “you should be a mouse in my house sometime and see what they are really like” Guess I was a good mom afterall.

  29. Miriam Brodersen

    The title of this article is misleading. It should be titled why do kids misbehave more at home? It conflates being at home with being with mom-what decade are we in, the 1950’s?

  30. Stacey E Burdge

    I had a very frustrating week with my 2yo last week, and my husband shared this with me. I have to say it is something I needed to hear/read.

    1. My husband did the same.  I’m not sure why I took comfort in reading that the author confirmed everything I felt.  

      Nothing changed with the way my son behaves and the only solution provided was a strong dose of patience.  Umm, as parents we already know that. 

  31. The issue  I am having is they are not allowed to show their emotions at my ex’s house so when I get them, they explode on me. Both have said it is because they have to keep it all in over there.

  32. This is inaccurate you’re not figuring in respect for father’s. How we’re always asked to be the Punisher and executioner. My daughter doesn’t act up around me because she won’t get away with it. Because no means no and she has sctructure and stability. When mom tend to give into anything with enough fits, streaming and begging.

    I take care of my child just as you say mother’s do. My child comes to me for safety. She also prefers me over her mother 10 out of 10 times.

    For all the great dad’s (partnered or single) out their keep up the good work!! You matter and you are great!!

    1. sheila llewellyn

      when I first started reading I thought omg he is angry that his wife bis getting his money and kids but by the end is was angry at the situation sometimes da d does got a rough deal its hard trying tojuggle jobs and kids I hope you can find a balance as we live love for our kids hope it gets better for you x

    2. I don’t think it’s a matter of not showing respect for fathers or even accounting for that. It’s about the dynamic of relationship. My son understands that no means no and there are consequences but that doesn’t change the fact it’s almost like unzips out of costume as soon as I walk in the door. It’s not for lack of boundaries or consequences they exist. It also does not mean he’s any more reverential or not of his father. PARENTS are safe spaces or should be for their children. How they are safe is really a matter of that child’s perception of their parent. If one parent believes in spanking, etc I would dare say that part of the “act right” is due to a slight fear because they don’t want to be hit. Versus if there a parent who speaks more and holds conversations and has discussions in order to understand wrong beahvior and then make changes for future behaviors.

    3. Lol… that’s not what spanking is. You don’t just smack them the next on your way . There is talking, of not MORE talking than “positive parents,” happening before and after the spanking. So they understand why they are getting spanked and how to fix it in the future, an no matter what, we love them unconditionally. You don’t spank for everything…. only blatant disobedience. Like they knew better… and did it anyway. Y’all ask like people who spank their kids just hit the crap out of them and that’s it. 

  33. Or it could be that the child listens to the father more when mom is at work because they know discipline when dad is around. Ladies you did not make the child alone! most mothers think they are better parent than the fathers, i am definitely sure it depends who the father is and vice versa.

  34. A followup study showed kids behave worse around their uncles than they do with no supervision at all!

    1. Seems like every time i read an article addressing moms woes, the comments are always full of complaining dads instead of conversations about the article. Maybe title the next article for dads woes, like being the disciplinary or being close to your child but being unable to have the bond that comes with giving birth to a child.I literally have seen men complaining on breast feeding articles addressed to mom’s. Come on!!

  35. How come this is just moms? There are a lot of us dad’s in the family too so where do we come in on this subject?

  36. So children misbehaving more around their mother has nothing to with lack of discipline and only because moms love them unconditionally? I call bullshit. All my children know I love them unconditionally. Yet they know dad means business and I’m going to follow through with the rules and what I say I’m going to do. 

    1. They know the same about Momma too, believe me. The difference between Daddy and Momma, is Daddy is bigger, more imposing and have a deeper voice that, let’s face it, makes Daddy more “scary”.

      It’s not because they don’t think Daddy loves them unconditionally. That KNOW that. Daddy is their favorite “toy” to play with.

      And, It’s not about knowing “Daddy means business” either. They know Momma means business as well. They know that Momma’s gonna discipline them too, but Momma doesn’t have that big booming voice.

    2. Best comment. This article is basically, “Women, you are letting your children misbehave.” It’s along to me how many people think it’s okay like the difference between going to Wal-Mart and a high-end store. Kids will get away with what you allow them to get away with.

  37. “Have you ever noticed that your kids are somehow nicer when you’re not around?”

    The very first sentence in this article doesn’t even make sense. How could you notice anything if you’re not there to notice it?

    1. You notice when nearly everytime you pick them up from school or babysitter or G-pa and G-ma’s you hear about what beautiful perfect little angels they were, yet you know that once you get home the tornado is going to hit.

  38. Does it really matter

    Of course dads don’t matter, we’re only here to be sperm donors… 9 times out of 10 mother always gets the kids in divorce. As fathers were not meant to have families we lose most of our time with our kids most of the time only get 4 days a month with them, and we’re stuck with child support. While she bring other man in there life to raise them and that the only way men should have kids is marry someone with kids, having kids of our own is only setting ourself up for pain, and suffering. I have 3 kids I barely get to see my a week or two every 3-5 months cause of the type of work I have to do to have a roof over my head and survive. I love them too death… would trade them for the world… if I was aware I’d end up suffering and always in so much pain I would have never had kids

    1. At first I was annoyed that you were being so negative. Then I realized you are really hurting. Your last sentence is very concerning. Maybe you can find some kind of counseling to help you through this.

    1. How are you 22 months old with the ability to have children, read an article, and write a response?

  39. So this would suggest that since they are better for dad, it’s because they don’t trust him, they don’t believe that no matter what they do, he also will always love them? I would hope you’re not saying that so that being the case, what does this have to do with mom? The article is about how HOME is their safe place. Well then dad is helping with that. The bottom line is moms are not the whole home, the home is the family, dad and siblings included. So why then are kids better for mom then dad?

    1. My grands are bad for both parents!!  I would love to see the research on this. I would have to say there are too many variables to say. Maybe this is true in general but it has a lot to do with parenting or lack of and even the kids personality. These days parents are too distracted and the kids are just wanting mom and dads attention. All in all this article is pretty good though. 

    2. Um, the point of the article is that the kids are better behaved away at school or daycare or a friend’s house. Not who they behave better for at home, and by the way, you got that backwards. It says they do NOT behave better for mom. Perhaps if you want the article to be about which parent they behave better for and why, you should write that article. I believe this comment section is for comments on THIS article, so maybe you’d like to try again.

  40. I do home daycare. I have Tons of people tell me, “i don’t know how you do it” It’s easier than they think cause the parents aren’t here.!! Proof!!

  41. Absolutely LOvE this article: it is SPoT ON! In my thirty years of teaching, OFTEn at Conferences parents would listen to me sharing the positives, then marvel and often share that “ he/she sure isn’t like that at HOmE” !! When they asked why there was such a contrast, I asked if they knew how hard it was to be on best behavior ALL DAY as a child and how exhausting that must be!!

    1. Milkshake Mandy

      Is that what this article says John? It says that children behave worse around their mothers. I don’t know if you have children, but my husband can attest to the fact that when he’s home alone with the kids everything is great. As soon as I walk in the door, it all goes to pot. Right now my husband is putting the children to bed, and everyone is quietly listening as he reads them stories. When I put them to bed, they stick their feet in the books, roll around, and climb out of bed constantly. So, no John, it isn’t that fathers don’t matter. It’s that children sometimes behave differently for different people, and mothers often get the short end of the stick.

    2. Milkshake Mandy
      It’s most likely just that everything, for the most part, is always about the mother.
      If u (not u, specifically) wanna look at it in a bad way, it’s like they’re saying that the kids don’t trust the father, hence, they’re behaving good around them, but misbehave around moms cuz they trust them more, lol

    3. Spot on We don’t get a mention we just keep the wheels turning and everything in motion so the kids have a safe place to pop their bottle of soda.

    4. Your comment is irrelevant. The article isn’t about whether or not fathers provide for their children…

    5. Wow! Some people always have to make it about them. Smh. Self centered. The article wasn’t written for insecure fathers. It was simply explaining why they behave 800 times worse AROUND THE MOTHER.

    6. Funny…this article is about “them” or one group of people. I think the issue is that the article states HOME is where the child feels safe. A mom is not the entire home in some cases so it’s feels like the dad is not contributing the “home” being the safe place where unconditional love is coming from.  The inclusion or lack of does not bother me because I know children are 800 times worse with mom from experience. 

    7. 100% that is us here too. It’s exhausting to work all day, come home and then deal with a child who is riding a train of anger, frustration, and literally falls apart the second you walk in the door. I feel like some days my kids hate me.

    8. You very much matter. It is a fact that most dad’s are a novelty, most dad’s work so when you come home they are all over you. Dad’s feel guilty about not being around all the time so they make up for it in playing. This is also the reason why they tend to listen better for you.

    9. I’m a teacher and I actually work more than my husband. My kids are still worse for me… their should be no guilt because they are providing for their family.