After picking up her child from preschool recently, Terri was happily surprised to hear her four-year-old son’s teacher remark that he is “such a joy to have in class”. Though she was proud to hear the compliment of course she was also confused. She almost wanted to ask the teacher if she was indeed referring to the right child. After all, though Jacob was appreciated for all his wonderful qualities, at home he wasn’t the well-behaved delight that he obviously was at daycare. Terri immediately thought, “What am I doing wrong?”

If your child behaves when in public or in the care of a sitter or teacher, it is natural to feel as if there is something wrong if at home they want nothing more than to rebel against every rule or wish. Of course, though there may be a tendency to want to please teachers or other authority figures, the desire to gain that some positive attention should relate to mom, dad and other family members too. So, why would a child misbehave at home when they don’t elsewhere?

Experts point to what the child gains from being disrespectful or negative at home. Because a child feels safe at home, it is likely that that is where their bad behavior is going to emerge. So its really not a situation of you being out of control of your child. Though there may be some things you may need to change regarding your reaction to your child’s behavior, both good and bad, it is important to understand that your child is not reacting to you personally. The fact that your child knows that it’s important to behave themselves in other situations says a lot about the job your doing as a parent.