ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Do My Kids Only Behave for Other People?

Updated on November 7, 2015

My Sister's Children

My son and I live in a blended household with my sister's family. They have three children. Now don't get me wrong, I love these kids very much but it has to be said: these children appear to be the spawn of demons. That is, when my sister is home. For me they are completely different kids.

I really don't know how she puts up with it. These kid's yell and scream and run through the house leaving in their wake conditions that would overwhelm FEMA. When they get home from school, they leave a trail of backpacks, coats, shoes, etc., from the door to the refrigerator. Taking them anywhere is nearly impossible. I have actually seen her two younger children climb into a diaper display at WalMart. And when she tells them to do something, their favorite thing to say is "No, I'm gonna..." They don't seem to have any respect for her at all until she starts to lose her patience; then they fall in line. Unfortunately for her, my sister has the patience of a saint.

The funny thing is they are great when she's not there. At school, they are angels. And when I babysit for her they are nearly perfect. They do their running and screaming outside, they do what thay are told (for the most part, they are still kids :), and rather than spreading their messes across the house, they have on multiple occasions actually cleaned the house for me.

My Son

I know these children are not unique. My son is the same way. He is almost two, and every bit of terrible. He bites (mostly just me), he throws himself down and screams like I'm beating him whenever I say no, and when I try to put him to bed he kicks, and punches and pulls my hair. I have to flip him back over a minimum of six times per diaper changing, and the other day it took me nearly five minutes of wrestling to get him dressed.

Just like my sister's kids, my son is different for other people. When he is at daycare, my son actually lies down on a mat and goes to sleep without a fight of any kind. He just lays there and gets his diaper changed for anyone who isn't me, and the same goes for getting dressed. His babysitter has never even seen him bite.

At the Heart of it All

So why is it that our children seem to have different standards of behavior when they are under the care of someone else? I have a theory that they only act up like this because they trust us.

All children have a deep innate need to be loved and accepted. When they are with other people, they are on their best behavior because they want to be liked. They don't want to do anything to jeopardize that. They are only able to explore and test their boundaries as they learn to trust that even when they mess up, we are going to love them and be there for them. So, the more they trust us, the more they are free to misbehave.

Sometimes it is really hard to deal with my son. He's 60% angel, 40% devil, and 100% pure boy. I have to have a sense of humor about it, or he'll make me crazy. It helps to remember, though, that each time he bungee jumps off the couch using my hair as a tether, or checks to see if I am looking before he climbs up the window sill or puts something in the fan, that he is only able to do it because he has no doubt that I love him, and that if something happens, I will be there to fix it.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)