Are kids fifty million times worse for their parents than at school or daycare? Why do kids act out when parents are around?

Why Do Kids Act So Bad When Parents Are Around?

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Are kids fifty million times worse for their parents than at school or daycare? Why do kids act out when parents are around?

What can you do about it? Why is it that a child can be perfectly fine and then their mom or dad walks in and they go nutso in seconds flat? If you are a teacher, childcare provider or parent, you have seen them phenomenon over and over again. It baffles parents and providers worldwide.

upset child acting bad when parents are around

Why Do Kids Act Out When Parents Are Around?

Guess what? Would you believe me if I told you that kids actually act up for their parents out of love? They love their moms and dads so much they trust them to be their true selves.

A therapist who was visiting my daycare weekly to work with a child in my care told me this. It opened up a world of understanding I had never had before. If a child really truly trusts you, they will show who they are.

This works well for life. You don’t want your child to be their absolute worst at school, daycare or the church nursery, so this really is a true blessing for you. You would be getting calls and bad reports constantly if your child wasn’t saving up all the really good stuff for you.

Why kids behave badly with their parents?

Is it embarrassing to come to pick them up and have them go all orangutan on you? Of course, it is, but it’s great that your child is being extra good for his or her teachers. Kids acting worse for parents is actually a blessing. 

The truth is, your child is about four hundred million times crazier for you than they are for anyone else. It’s a compliment. And it’s love. It’s true, unbridled acceptance. Embrace it.

Now that doesn’t mean you should just allow them to tear down the walls and act a fool all over someone’s house or business. You should control your child and expect them to behave, but understanding where that comes from is a big help in beginning that.

Why do kids act out?

You don’t want everyone to think you are that one mom or dad who is clueless and just lets their kids tear up stuff or break the rules.

Try to corral your children and get them to the car as soon as you can so they can go nuts in private and the teacher of the school doesn’t put your face on the sucky parent of the month poster. (they don’t really have that, but I know as a parent sometimes it feels like it)

So many times, parents come into my daycare at pick up time and ask, do they always act out like this? My answer is always the same. Do you think I would freaking do this job if they did? They were fine before you got here. They have been being good and saving all their ornery for YOU.

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Why does my child behave at school but not at home? 

Give your child your attention. Give them physical contact. A hug would work or place your hand on their shoulder. You can even hold hands. This reassures the child that you want to give them your attention so they won’t act out. Give them some eye contact. Even if you need to speak with the teacher or provider, make sure you know you are going to get to them asap. It reassures them of your love.

child with parents

Explain to them they cannot act all crazy mazy and make a mess, or whatever the behavior is that’s embarrassing you. Children need boundaries and even though their behavior is humiliating, you can’t just stand there. Intervene! The provider or teacher feels just as overwhelmed as you do!



Try to get them to a private place like the car or home as soon as you can. Don’t dilly around and waste time. Try to get children to do what the teacher or provider is asking and make your exit as quickly as you can. Sometimes all the kids want is just alone time with you and your attention so they act out to try to get it.

Child acting out for one parent

Try simplifying your demands. Sometimes kids behave better for other people because they have less complicated expectations of the child. At home, do you have 2,014 rules or just a few simple rules that are doable?

At daycare, our rules are: Be nice to people, be nice to things and stay away from dangerous things. It’s not that much to remember and it’s not that hard to follow. If little Johnny is out of control at home, try simplifying your expectations of him and just having a few basic rules to live by. You never know, it could help.

Once you have clear rules established and work towards consistently enforcing them things are going to get better. Make sure you have a structured routine for the kids so they don’t get overwhelmed or overstimulated. Then make sure you are giving positive attention and noticing good behaviors. Make for sure for sure your kids don’t have to act up to get your precious focus.

Why kids act out?

Hang in there parents, if your child is in a really rough stage, please remember my mantra for tough stages with the kids: They’ll grow. They will, I promise and you may look back at these times and wonder how you can get them back.

Kids grow so fast, it’s going to be over before you can even believe it. Don’t wish it away. Your precious children are your crowning glory. Children are such a blessing!

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Why Do Kids Act So Bad When Parents Are Around?

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