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Why Kids Misbehave 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

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I read a funny article titled, “Study: Children Are 800% Worse When Their Mothers are in the Room” (a fake study). I was cracking up when reading this, and quickly realized it was fake. However, the concept is TRUE! Kids are absolutely 800% worse when around their mothers.

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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!

Why Kid Misbehave Around Their Moms the Most

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18 comments

  1. I guess fathers dont matter!

    • 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.

    • 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.

  2. 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!!

  3. 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!!

  4. 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?

  5. Very well said….I am a 22 months old mom and I can relate to every word. Loved it…

  6. 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

  7. “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?

  8. 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. 

  9. 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?

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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!!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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.