I’m led to believe that my kids actually behave when I’m not around. Although, I always have the worry that perhaps the caregiver doesn’t completely want to divulge. It’s just hard to believe that my children could have so many behavioral issues when they are around me and essentially turn into different people once I’m gone. And if that is in fact the case, maybe I’m better off getting out of the picture more often!
I’ve recently had the opportunity to spend some time with a close friend’s kid without the parents around. It has been a complete transformation. To be fair, the kids usually run off with each other and the only time a straggler comes back is to whine about the need for a snack, rat out another kids’ behavior, etc. To see this child, whom I have known his whole life, turn into the most calm, most polite little person has been eye opening.
Do my kids actually know how to ask politely for something rather than demand it? Do my kids know how to listen to instruction without raised voices and consequences hung over their heads? Does that really happen?
The better question is why? Why do my kids bring their absolute worst behavior to the table when they are with me? Why must all their requests be said with the largest amount of whine, the strongest amount of demand and the meanest undertone if I don’t respond in a timely fashion?
I don’t want them to go to other people’s homes or any of their schools and classes and behave the way they do at home. But why, oh why, must they bring their absolute worst behavior to me? Have I not, with all the many positive reinforcements and negative consequences, conveyed how very important it is to me that they have good behavior?!?! And if I in fact have not, maybe I should stop talking because it feels like I may be the only one actually hearing my messages! Or is their behavior away from home a sign that maybe I have actually succeeded? In which case, how am I able to piggy back off of that success and have it trickle through to our home life?