When Nanny asks him to put the ipad away he replies in his intensly cute little two year old voice “Ok Nanny” and he trots off to put the ipad on the shelf.
When I ask him to put the ipad away I have to wrench it from his vice like grip and then he cries till he pukes.
And it’s not just the toddler… they all do it.
Why do they give me so much grief?
Actually, I know why.
I’ve even explained it to friends who’ve been having a hard time, and it makes perfect sense.
They give me so much grief because they feel secure and safe with me.
They know that I love them no matter what.
Even if they screech at me, even if they lash out, even if they cry till they vomit. They know I will still love them so they don’t have to work so hard to keep all those big emotions in check. They know I will keep them safe so they can try out behaviors and test boundaries.
So they don’t behave badly because I am doing such a terrible job as a parent. Actually they give me grief because I’m doing ok as a parent. I may have many, many, not so stellar parenting moments, but my kids know that I love them and know I will keep them safe… that is why they are sometimes so terribly behaved for me.
Now why can’t I remember that in the moment when I am feeling like a big failure and questioning every parenting choice I’ve ever made??
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
I LOVE this.
Particularly because at the moment, I have a threenager who will not do a single thing without a massive argument…
Jeanette Fox says
This was just what I needed to read tonight. Its been a tough few days with my extremely tired, emotional 9 year old daughter at our house and this post really hit home to me. I do love her, and my two boys absolutely and unconditionally and I often find myself wondering why they can behave so well for someone else and then give me so much grief. Thanks for posting, you are correct it does make perfect sense when you sit back and take a moment to really think about it.
Jo @Countrylifeexperiment says
Just what I needed Kate! I cracked it at my kids tonight – the school holidays and lack of routine is getting to them and me. Of course I felt bad afterwards and apologised. If you could just explain why my kids never EVER put anything away EVER EVER, that would be great too :)
Kate, you’re right on time with this one. Today’s the day I needed to read this. Trouble is, I wish deep down I believed what you’re saying. I want to, but why is it I hardly ever see the good side to my child? It seems to be reserved for other people. Maybe if I read it enough, it’ll sink in, or maybe you could remind us by doing another post on it! Thank you. x
[email protected] says
Thank you for this fantastic reminder Kate. xo P
Denyse Whelan says
Kate…..you nailed it.
It’s the same with their teachers…” Oh he’s just awesome to teach” “she is such a good girl”
And then they get home & it’s where they feel safest & loved & secure that is when they let it out.
When I heard a child psychologist explain exactly that conclusion you reached it was a lightbulb moment for me as mum & grandma & teacher.
Going easy on you…that’s what you need to do … You do an awesome job! Denyse x
So needed to read this tonight! It’s been one of ‘those’ afternoons here.
Thank you x
There may be some truth in this. I’d like to know why this behaviour continues after they have “tried out these behaviours and tested boundaries”?
Spot on, Kate, and something I need to remember too. For me, it’s why I personally love and value one-on-one time with each child; it’s the best opportunity for me to see them at their loving, wonderful best (the bit other caregivers get to see all the time!)
Interestingly, over the course of 2012 as I was working so much more and my husband was doing more caregiving for the kids than he ever has, he started to complain that “they behave really badly sometimes” and “why so many arguments and tantrums?”
I had an epiphany about this in the latter part of the year, as I watched him make school lunches while dealing with a screaming three year old and negotiating an argument between the older kids. I told him: “It’s because they see you as a primary go-to parent now as well as me, so they don’t moderate themselves for you.” It’s also because last year was the first time I consciously decided not to insert myself in the situation when he was dealing with the kids if I happen to be home but working; if I’m working, he’s the go-to guy and the kids learned that quite rapidly.
Once I explained it in those terms, he was actually quite chuffed. We’ve always wanted a more even parenting model but the exigencies of life have not allowed for it. Having the opportunity to build his bond with them has been great … even if it comes with a side of bad behaviour!
Thanks! Just thank you so much! I wish I could hug you.
I read this in a parenting book early on and it has helped me enormously on some of those tough days. I also whip it out at those moments when certain relative say ‘oh, he never misbehaves for me!’
I know that too, but it is hard to remember. My children are certainly feeling VERY safe and with me this week. Extreme heat and bad behavior are taking their toll. I think I need to remind myself of a few ‘timeout’ activities to change the mood (mine especially)!
Thankyou Kate. I really needed to read that :-)
Jodi Gibson says
That is such a wonderful way to look at it. Thank you Kate. I’ll remember this when next they give me grief. (It will be in 5 minutes when I tell them that TV time is up!)
Vicki @ Knocked Up and Avroad says
What a great reminder. It’s tiresome but it is a honour also to be that safety person for them.
Love this cause its true!