Crocodile tears, temper tantrum, action! We have all been there – that moment in the grocery store when you mistakenly walk down the snack aisle and the whining starts. Two aisles later, trying to find the best deal on toiletries, your kid begins to cry (somehow without actual tears).
Then, by the time you check off every grocery list item and enter a long line of tired shoppers, they’re screaming at the top of their lungs about the cookies you refused to put in the shopping cart half an hour ago.
Phew! Feeling tense yet? A bit of déjà vu, perhaps? But, something is off… The child’s teacher says they are well-behaved in class, they had a blast at last weekend’s birthday party with no issues, the contrasting evidence continues to mount in your head.
This all-too-real picture begs the question, why are kids SO much worse when their moms are around?
Why Your Child’s an Angel Around Everyone – Except You
In 2015, a study supposedly published by the University of Washington’s Department of Psychology found that children, in the presence of their mothers, behave a whopping 800 percent worse!
According to Mom News Daily, where the news story originally went viral, researchers surveyed 500 families on their children’s “neediness, whine crying, shriek screaming, attempted slapping, forgetting how to walk [and/or] use words, and acting the fool.”
Although the actual study is nowhere to be found and likely false, parents are chiming in and they all agree the concept is, in fact, true!
“Children smell their mother’s pheromones and modify their behavior,” said Dr. K.P. Leibowitz, the study’s alleged author. “This is a natural reaction of the mother’s body and, because she emits them and her child smells them, he knows that his mother is close to him and feels protected and safe.
Children as young as eight months-old could be playing happily but upon seeing their mother enter a room were 99.9% more likely to begin crying, release their bowels, and need her immediate attention,” according to Dr. Leibowitz. “The .1% was a vision-impaired child but once he heard his mother’s voice he began throwing things and asked for a snack despite having just eaten. Truly fascinating.”
One freelance writer and mommy blogger is living the struggle – and it’s real!
“I know I’m not alone in this,” she says. “My friends talk, the internet talks – kids be hating on their moms the worldwide. But, why, pray tell? We are the boobs that feed, the hands that rock, the nurses of boo-boos, the official wipers of their precious butts. In what kind of sick universe does this make sense? Should I take comfort in the fact that I am not alone? That moms everywhere get this struggle? Maybe.”
The Actual Reason Why Children Are 800% Worse When Their Mothers Are in the Room
Shortly after that 2015 “study” spread like wildfire on the internet, another mother named Kate authored her own version of why it’s so true. The answer is quite simple.
“YOU, mama, are their safe space,” writes Kate. “YOU are the place they can come to with all of their problems. If you can’t make something better… well, then who else can? YOU, dear mama, are a garbage disposal of unpleasant feelings and emotions.
If a child’s been holding it together all day, in an unpleasant situation, the second they see you, they know it’s time they can finally let go.”
Even though the satirical “study” is likely false; it’s still near impossible for any parent to deny that the supposed findings don’t seem far from the truth. But, have heart! Their apparent unruliness is a sign that you’ve created a space safe enough for your children to be themselves – no holds barred – and, because of it, you’re a great parent.
How to Deal with a Toddler’s Temper Tantrum in 5 Steps
Before dealing with a toddler’s temper tantrum, there are a few things you need:
- A calm demeanor
- A quiet, timeout area in the home (if possible)
- Distract the child from whatever is causing the frustration and draw their attention to something else (e.g., a toy, book, or activity).
- Remain calm and collected, showing the child that you have control over the situation.
- Talk about the situation with your child to convey that you understand why they’re upset.
- If the child if over 3-years-old, ignore the temper tantrum and let them know you’ll listen when they start using a normal, indoor voice.
- Physically remove the child from the scene (e.g., a family gathering, shopping mall, or grocery store) to a different surrounding.
- Always be consistent with your actions. Never give in to an unruly child or respond differently than your spouse, or else they will soon start the rule the home.