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The *Actual* Reason Why Children are 800% Worse When Their Mothers Are in the Room

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“They were fine all day with me, but the second they saw you, they lost it, Kate! I don’t understand!” Says my husband, on a regular basis.

The other day, I read a funny article titled, “Study: Children Are 800% Worse When Their Mothers are in the Room” (a fake study). I cracked up when I read the title, and quickly realized it was fake, once I read it. Despite the article being fake, the concept is TRUE! Kids are absolutely 800% worse when around their mothers… and why???

Because YOU, mama, are their safe place. YOU are the place they can come to with all of their problems. If you can’t make something better… well, then who else can?

YOU, dear mama, are a garbage disposal of unpleasant feelings and emotions.

If a child’s been holding it together all day, in an unpleasant situation, the second they see you, they know it’s time they can finally let go.

That means letting go of whatever… whining… crying… their bowels, etc. It’s the last thing you want to deal with after having been out enjoying yourself, or after coming home, tired, from a day at work… but that’s what we, as mothers, get: the uninhibited expression of a raw emotional release, slapping us in the face, the second we stumble through the door.

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.

And, by the way… it’s REALY REALLY important for kids to be natural with their feelings, their emotions and their bodily functions. When they grow up, we want our children to have highly functioning emotional intelligence and body awareness, right?

So, take it as a good sign.

Do your kids start speaking tongue, crying, releasing their bowels and clinging to you when you walk in the door? Take it as a sign that they love you and just know that I’m sending you lots of love the next time it happens, because I know… Oh, I know… it drives us all bonkers-up-the-wall! They save it all for you.

About katesurfs

Kate is an American living in Australia with her husband and two young children. She holds a Masters of Educational Practice and is a high school science teacher by profession, but mostly she stays at home with her children. She is a yoga and meditation teacher, trained through the Art of Living Foundation, a surfer, a vegetarian, and healthy conscious. She is an Aware Parenting Instructor, as well as a Know Your Child Teacher.

481 Responses »

  1. You people know this is based on a fake comedy study right??

    Reply
  2. Lol….This is such crap. It’s an excuse for a parent not being able to control their kids.

    Reply
    • Obviously you have not had your children do this to you. For years I could not figure out why my daughter was horrible when she was with me but a little angel everywhere else. I even consulted her pediatrician about what I was doing wrong and he told me I was doing everything right and basically told me the same stuff as in this article. Have you ever tried to hold all your emotions in only to unleash it on your spouse? Because you know your spouse will love you unconditionally, no matter what. You would go crazy if you held your emotions in all the time. The same goes for our children. My daughter is grown and married and she has told me that no matter how horrible she was as a child, she always had the comfort knowing that I would love her no matter what.

      Reply
      • Thanks for sharing! My 5yo daughter seems to be doing this same thing. As soon as I’m home from work bam she unleashes everything. But then in the evening when we are cuddling for her bedtime she apologizes for how she’s acted and opens up about her day. Like her switch is clicked off.

      • EXACTLY!

      • Or *gasp* it’s because mommy isn’t as good at dealing with the tantrums as daddy, and the child knows what reaction he will get. I know it’s impossible to believe a dad might ACTUALLY be better at any form of parenting right?

        In my house I have to literally kick my wife out when the tantrum starts because she will fight back instead of doing what you should do, ignore it. And this is why the tantrums come when mommy is around. He knows with me he will get no reaction, I will walk away when he starts and keep an eye on him without reacting. When he calms down I will talk to him, this has lead to less tantrums and more cooperation.

        He still will not let my wife touch his hair in the bath because when he says no she responds with “you have to” when he says no to me I tell him he can dump water on my head just like I do to him, only fair right? So I lean over the tub let him go dump for dump with me.

        It’s a novel idea that the mom might actually be a less patient parent, and this garbage article is just another way of trying to make yourselves feel better and dismiss the fact the kids might actually prefer dad’s company.

    • Some children are uncontrollable….just sayin’….no parent is perfect

      Reply
      • Judy Derpack

        Yikes! I’m hoping that you are just having a bad day, dad. Every parent parents differently because of family origins and values and personality. I hope She is the yin to your yang? Maybe teamwork is better? Maybe your son does prefer the way you do things, but she is still his mom and there will be a different relationship. Respect the differences! This blog is just a reflection on the soft spot of mom, not a guideline for discipline.

    • you really want to ‘control’ your child? so that they ‘understand authority’? you don’t have kids do you?

      Reply
    • Wow, this is the last thing I’d think. Children are human beings and ‘control’ is hurtful not helpful. I’m guessing you don’t do everything that’s asked of you every time someone asks it, and children won’t either. Despite how hard their parents try to keep them calm and ‘controlled’ as you put it.

      Reply
  3. Bullshit that’s my thought. I make sure my grand daughters are safe and loved. All I do different from there mom is she says yes all the time to shut them up, and I say no with that look, AND when I say yes after they fall over is because they were really really good and I had the money

    Reply
    • Nope, you’re wrong. This type of judgemental comments is why so many mums are struggling to cope. You just know if people see your child misbehave/tired/hyper etc someone will think you are the one to blame. I say ‘no’ with THAT LOOK a lot more than anyone else in our family and still we go through this same thing. To be honest, some in my family thinks it’s because I don’t give my son what he wants that I get the most resistance/whining/tantrums from him. I just hold on to the idea that some day my boundaries will bare fruits. It’s tough to be a mum, end of story, so please stop being judgemental.

      Reply
      • I totally agree. I think when children behave for other people it actually shows ur a good parent because if u didn’t set boundaries then they will be naughty wherever they go. I can’t stand judgemental people saying that they can’t control their kids….. how wrong are they

      • Well said!!! Too many judgemental people

      • Very good reply. Thank you.

      • I agree entirely!

      • I couldn’t agree more with this post, people expect children to be well behaved all the time and be well perfect and the fact is they aren’t not due to bad parenting due to then being, what’s that word, oh yeah human. They are still learning how to deal with their emotions and the mummy’s and daddy’s are learning how to help their child as they are all different. People are far too judgey now a days making it impossible for mums and dads thinking that they are failing constantly when in fact they probably aren’t.

    • did you really say ….and becouse you have the money?
      your talking about your grandkids …..what about when you were raising your daughter? what fundamental parenting skills did you apparently not teach her for you to now mom shame her on the internet for her to always just say yes to “shut them up”
      you just threw the mother of your grandkids under the bus in a public forum
      shame on you …

      Reply
      • Agreed. Why do the grandparents critique? If your kids parent differently to you.. its because they think you got it wrong with them. Lol. I think kids are worst with their parents because they know they can and still be loved. They have that unconditional love advantage….children can punish their parents by withholding love..even as adults. As the daughter of a teacher..I can assure you I was by far the hardest child for my mother to control.

      • I thought the exact same thing! What type of a “mother” does that to her own!!??

      • I’m going to guess she’s throwing her daughter-in-law under the bus. No one would speak about their own child like she did. She’s probably judging her son’s wife. I feel for her, sounds like she has quite the treat of a mother-in-law.

    • A mother is a mother still different..

      Reply
    • Judy Derpack

      Yikes, Grandma! Please think of yourself as part of a team, not comparing and critiquing parenting. Kids have a different relationship with each of their loved ones. This wasn’t a guideline for discipline, this was a blog about that ‘soft spot’ and feelings between mom and child.

      Reply
    • Ophelia Love

      When my Mother in Law wants to criticize my parenting I always ask her if she is willing to discuss her parenting? I am dead serious too. I know her dirt too so she best watch what she says about me to anyone ever because her dirty laundry smells something fierce & I am pretty sure she doesn’t want that aired.

      She has learned to just keep it to herself & if she talked like this about me ever & I saw it, she would NEVER have my kids again. She could come see them to visit, but that would be the absolute limit. They are not her kids, she is not the mother & how the kids are parented is none of her business…it just isn’t.

      If you aren’t actually raising my kids, you better butt out. I will for sure work it outwith my spouse on how we parent..but not a single other person on the planet.

      This post here is why mother in laws get a bad wrap. It is. You had your chance to be the mom, now back off & realize it is no longer your turn.

      And before you think I don’t know what I am talking about, I have 2 older kids who are now parents. Their child raising is not my business. They do not have to do it like me in order to validate that I did okay. I think THAT is the issue many women take…they think the minute someone does it differently it’s some assessment they did it wrong. I got kids from 25yrs old down to 3 (oops) and the fact is once they are grown, the way they do things is THEIR business, not mine and THAT is why we are close…because I understand my boundaries & where I best step off & let them actually run their own lives instead of running my mouth.

      Reply
      • Wow! Thanks for that comment. So true, isn’t it. My parents sometimes get really offended by what I’m going and I learned that it’s because they think I’m calling them a failure because I’m doing it differently. Not true at all! We all do the best we can. That’s why I love my parents unconditionally, just the way they loved me that way when I was little.

  4. Pallavi Fernandez

    Dear Kate,
    Even though I am sitting half way across the world ,I know this for a fact , fake or not, this article holds a lot of truth. Being a mother of three kids I hear this ever so often when they are left in care of anyone other than me or I pick them up after school the wonderful way in which they greet me( throwing themselves on the ground shouting and screaming).I totally connected with this article, and yes there are a no. Of studies and articles which support this behavioural pattern. Nothing to be ashamed of but we as moms feel overwhelmed by such strong show of emotions especially when it’s in front of other people.

    Reply
  5. Even being an older child who is seventeen years old, this article rings true to me. I think it is interesting how adults seem to forget how much they are reflections of themselves as children. I trust my mother with my rawest emotions. With everyone else, I’m constantly ensuring that I don’t slip up in expressing emotions that don’t appear mature or socially acceptable. But if I have been holding in some feelings, the moment I see my mother and she asks me how I am doing, I dump it all on her because I know that she loves me unconditionally while everyone else simply likes me with a condition. Even if we look at the family dynamics as a whole, we tend to be more free with our a true emotions with those we’re closest to, in comparison to the rest of society, because we know that family will still be there for us despite our flaws. It has nothing to do with discipline or control but human nature. It is only a matter of teaching children that they have the right to feel the way that they do, but to not act recklessly upon their emotions. I think this article has great truth in the reality of things. Everything does not need a study. It should be an honor to experience the truth of human nature.

    Reply
  6. True, worse around Mom, but if Dad not there, Mom has to be Dad and Mom

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  7. Thank you for writing this article. I was wondering my children 1 is three years and another 11 months are so well behaved with dad and in company of others or when we go visiting friends. I always wondered what’s wrong with me that they are so charged up and keep me on my toes when alone, now I know and I truly thank you for that.

    Reply
  8. Bs…mom lets them
    get away with murder bc she dont want to deal……they know they can push and get their way….

    Reply
    • Yes. This is correct. Articles like this just give bad parents an excuse to carry on taking the easy way out. Giving in to their kids tantrums because they can’t be bothered to deal with it.

      Reply
      • Geesh, I’ll bet you’re a fun one at parties. Lighten up and be compassionate. Parenting is hard! This article helps puts things in perspective.

      • Don’t be a parent. You’d never be able to handle it and raise good kids.

      • Yes, there are bad parents but there are also different types of kids! Some kids are easier to raise than others. If you have three kids and one is acting in a horrible way and the others not, am I only “bad”mother with this one?
        If you would have kid that is more difficult you would understand and know why articles like this helps especially with all the judgemental people around.

    • Do you rule with an iron fist then? I’m the least likely to give in to my children, and they still act like this with me. I’m not soft, but I’m not controlling either.

      Reply
    • Ophelia Love

      This is such a sad response. It is. My kids don’t actually ever get their way with me if I don’t want them doing something. That doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings about that. I refuse to tell my children they can only share happy feelings with me, like my generation was taught.

      You don’t get to tell small kids to suck it up & not talk to you about being upset & then later bitch your teenager won’t talk to you. You really don’t. You have exactly the place in their life you earned for yourself…as someone not worth talking to when things are hard.

      Just remember the higher the horse, the further the fall. Good luck with that. Tuck & roll is all I can offer.

      Reply
  9. Some Real nasty sods
    Commenting on here – they must be so perfect

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  10. im a child psychologist…this adds up just fine

    Reply
  11. I was exactly this way when I was young. I was shy and never said how I truly felt out in public. When I got home my mom was quickly shown all my emotions I needed to let out. She was my safe space. And for everyone saying the kids need to be punished for acting this way, I was a “goody goody” so by no means was I a “bad” kid, I just had true emotions i needed to get out and mom allowed me to own those feelings. While I’m sure it sucks when you are the mom, I certainly hope my daughter and any future kids feel safe enough to come to me to let out their emotions.

    Reply
  12. It think some of the ‘anonymous’ are just trolls. Sad.

    Loved this article.

    Reply
  13. If there is a really involved, co-parenting Dad, he can get the “let down/safe” barrage of emotional behavior too, just like Mom’s can get. Agree with the article & the comments about being confident that you are parenting well when you have a child who feels safe enough to be real with you as Mom or Dad. They do need to learn, as the 17 y.o. girls alluded to, that the safe place to let down is at home or a private place when with that safe parent, but young kids are only in process of learning until parents guide them to where that young lady is at as a teenager. Be happy that your children know they are safe & unconditionally loved by you & keep helping them to learn the limits of acceptable behavior & appropriate places to let down.

    Reply
  14. I was the only parent that was there for my kids. I was the only one that disciplined. All the teachers and staff at the school said they were all great kids. Till they walked in the door. Then all the fighting started and no they didn’t listen to me. They were monsters. Now they all have great jobs and they are the best parents. Just keep Disciplinin and they will appreciate you when they are all grown up. The struggles are all part of being a mom .

    Reply
  15. I am struggling with this myself having my first child who’s 1 1/2. I am by no means a pushover. I can be stern when I need to. But I am also the one who is compassionate and patient and comforting. My husband is a good dad but has no reasonable amount of patience or tolerance.

    So my son may seem to not throw as many tantrums with dad which could be perceived by some that my husband is more firm and i am too soft. But, I allow my son to a reasonable level to express himself…Be frustrated, sad, tired, sick or hungry…I always want my son to feel safe and loved even in his worst moments.

    And sometimes it hurts letting him have his tantrum when I want to hold him but I choose to pick battles based on mothers instinct of when to comfort him and when he needs a minute to have his moment.

    Reply
  16. this is true of dad’s as well. not just mums!

    Reply
  17. I am a kind and utterly devoted dad to two brilliant and beautiful children who also has a set of reasonable rules and boundaries. I don’t know about every person’s situation, but what I have seen with my wife is that she is very concerned with manipulating all the people around her to think well of her. This includes the kids, and she thinks she can be the more loved parent by cheating on sensible rules. A one pound bag of candy immediately before dinner, no bedtime, no healthy food, buying anything that a child asks for immediately. She often will also ruthlessly badmouth Daddy to them; and despite the fact that I’m complaining about her behavior here, that is wrong, and like many men I would never cross that line. Many women (but definitely some men too) tend toward trying to manipulate people this way, this is why there used to be a stereotype of woman being a manipulative which we are now VERBOTEN to discuss. I know there are some truly admirable moms out there, I have met some. Hopefully there are some women out there who are as aghast at that kind of behavior as I am rather than being apologist for it.
    However, this strategy backfires for those who use it, they end up having to deal with out-of-control kids who suddenly shape up when they’re alone with Dad and behave like little angels. My kids talk politely to me, do as asked with minor complaining, and generally act as you would hope your children would act. Most importantly they are extremely affectionate to me, and I tell them how I feel about them from my heart every single day. Having rules and expectations that are consistent and from a place of Love are what produce that kind of relationship. My wife bitterly calls me Mr. Perfect, and takes every opportunity to demean me to the kids and threatens to make false accusations against me to take me down a peg or two. I am not Mr. Perfect I just set up to be the best father that I can be because I love them so damn much. I live quietly and in fear of her because of this but I cannot divorce her because I am the better parent and I don’t want to leave my kids alone with her.
    Please don’t try to tell me that I could get custody against a woman like that.
    People who give kids things that are bad for them and are afraid to be firm when called for are weak and only care about themselves.

    Reply
    • Dear CMH,
      Sounds like you both have different parenting styles but I’m sure your kids feel safe and loved in your own different ways.

      As a product of mother who constantly badmouthed my very present father, I grew to resent her for it to this day as an adult. When I was a more outspoken teenager, I would literally argue with my mother in defense of my father. This just created another layer of problems.

      I guess what I wanted to say is, keep doing what you are doing. I commend my father for doing so and have a much better relationship with him as an adult. He dealt with his children and his marriage so gracefully when I know both were very challenging at times.

      Reply
    • Ophelia Love

      If you ever think she would read something you should check out Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn & it talks all about why rewarding children will never work in the long run. I have recommended it to many parents & most have actually read it & said they really found it eye opening. I know it was for me. Even if she won’t read it, you may want to. It’s so interesting & it seems most libraries have it.

      Reply
    • Yikes, you sounds like you need therapy, not custody

      Reply
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  19. I hav 3 grown children & used to worry about these same situations, till a friend
    Said ” where else can children cut-loose
    & release their energy but when they get home”! Now , I tell my children this story,
    All the time 😊 ( doesn’t matter if that was a fake study)

    Reply
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  21. Sexism. ” Because YOU, mama, are their safe place. YOU are the place they can come to with all of their problems. If you can’t make something better… well, then who else can? ” Dads can too, thats who!

    Reply
  22. I’m not a mother, but I am a father who has noticed other people’s children act a mess around their own mothers. Usually in the absence of the father. But none of that is neither here nor there. The title of the article itself is the issue. Parents need to abandon their ridiculous search for why a child misbehaves. Disobedience is disobedience. Pondering why is a waste of time. A child must be taught to behave. He or she is born knowing how to misbehave. If your child misbehaves or disobeys and you simply ignore it or worst, humor it, you are contributing to the problem. When you tell a child not to do something and they disobey, you start teaching them there are consequences for their actions (THE FIRST TIME). Imagine if our justice system took the approach most American parents take. Hundreds of warnings until they were driven mad and executed a person for petty theft. In warning a child over and over you only succeed in encouraging your child not to take you seriously. Your words mean nothing to them. Mothers, you can be a safe space for your child and rear them up to be decent human beings without letting them rule over you. Do not be deceived, disobedience is disobedience moms, balls in your court now.

    Reply
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  26. This has actually been supported by pediatric Psychologist at University of Alabama, Birmingham. Children feel most comfortable misbehaving and sharing all feelings and emotions with whatever parent they are closest to. Most frequently it is the mother, the nurturer. Not always. People shouldn’t be so critical.

    Reply
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