Why Kids Can Be Little Devils With Their Mothers and Sweet Angels With Everyone Else

Many mothers worry when their kids are nice with their grandparents, on the playground, with other people, but misbehave when they come around them. Yet, if you find yourself in this situation, stop torturing yourself, as it is not about you.

Apparently, kids have their reasons for this.

A tantrum is a mode of communication, a way for your kid to say “I need you, mom!”.

Tantrums are very common in children aged 1-3 years, and they happen because children’s social and emotional skills are only just starting to develop at this age. They might be testing out their growing independence, or they are just discovering that the way they behave can influence the way other people behave.

Tantrums come in all shapes and sizes and can involve spectacular explosions of anger, frustration, and disorganized behavior, often accompanied by screaming, crying, kicking, falling down, running away, stiffening limbs, or an arched back.

Ray Levy, Ph.D., a Dallas-based clinical psychologist and co-author of Try and Make Me! Simple Strategies That Turn Off the Tantrums and Create Cooperation, maintains:

“Meltdowns are terrible, nasty things, but they’re a fact of childhood. Young kids—namely those between the ages of 1 and 4—haven’t developed good coping skills yet. They tend to just lose it instead.”

In case your kid’s speech is not that elaborate yet, it is natural that they try to grab your attention in some way. Mothers are the source of al basic needs of their children, and that is why children become emotional when around them.

Dr. Ann Corwin, an expert in parenting and education, explains this:

“Mothers symbolize needs for children, and biologically, kids are wired to associate the need for food and survival with their Mom. That is why kids will escalate their behavior to get attention (a connection) from their Mom in any way they can.

Dads, on the other hand, symbolize trust, taking risks, and play for kids. So kids don’t get so desperate for that critical attention from their fathers since it is not an innate survival attachment.”

You are the comfort zone of your child. 

According to child psychologist Dr. Heather Wittenberg:

“Children save their best—and worst—for us, as parents. They’re their ‘true selves’ with us. It takes energy to ‘be good’ and follow the rules—especially for young children—so when they get home, they let it all hang out. The good news is that their deepest love, affection, admiration, and goofiness are reserved for us, too.”

Your kid does not save “the worst” for you, but children are simply emotional with the people they trust and feel secure with. Therefore, your kid “honors” you with their tantrums and whining.

Here’s what to do if your child saves all their tantrums for you only.

According to experts, you shouldn’t silently tolerate this misbehavior, so here are some ways to teach your child how to be kinder:

  • Accept the tantrums of your child and do not take them personally. Give the kid time and space for a tantrum.
  • If your children are old enough, talk to them and explain how you feel. Help them understand that mommy is always there to comfort and support them, but she needs to be respected.
  • A chance to vent. If your kid attends a daycare or a school, they have to be “good” the entire day, so leave them some time to be themselves when they come home.
  •  Share some of the chores with your partner.