Friday, November 12, 2010

Cry Loudly

Why is it that children act out more with their parents than anyone else? You leave them with a babysitter or a relative and they are perfect angels but then when they are with their parents or caregivers, they behave the worst.

Most of the time they act out more because they feel safest with their parents. They know when and how to test limits with their parents/caregivers so they feel safest to act out around them.

Luckily my baby has not entered this phase yet, but I hear it from other parents constantly.  I remember being the babysitter and the parents always wondering why they minute they walked in the door, their kids were holy terrors with them while I stood there watching.  Of course I always found it cute and funny but the parents were both embarrassed and frustrated to say the least.

Some people have asked me what to do as they now know they are testing their limits because they feel safe with their parents to act out, but how do you curb this?  Well, of course there is no easy answer, but the best way to START tackling this is to figure out what the root of the acting out is about.

I could go into a super long post about discipline, limit setting, etc, etc but will have to break it down into sections for later posts. But the best way is to just start looking at the 'Goal of the Misbehavior'. Ever heard of that term? There are usually 4: Attention, revenge, inadequacy and power.  You ask yourself, "Is my child needing attention or are they in a power struggle? Is he mad and getting revenge for something or is it inadequacy feelings of discouragement and frustration?" (or is your child just super tired or hungry and cranky?)

Once you can recognize what is going on, then that will help you figure out how to discipline them.  More on discipline later as there are SOOO many different views on it but it's always best to start at the bottom and work your way up.

How many of you out there have witnessed your kids being perfect angels but when they are around the parents/caregivers, a completely different child?  Any tips for success that has worked with you?


  1. [...] my post awhile back on the Goals of Misbehavior? Basically, the theory goes that children act out because they are doing it for 1 of 4 reasons: [...]