They Can Be Very Different At School

Every year at parent-teacher conferences, Claire’s teachers describe her among other things as quiet. Every year, this makes me laugh. As long as I have known her, quiet is the last word in the English language I would use to describe her. They also describe her as helpful and on task, which doesn’t surprise me, but that quiet doesn’t fit.

This is actually pretty common. Children have a tendency to be different creatures out in the world than they are at home. I have had many parents comment they get reports their children are so well-behaved at school which doesn’t match the unruly child with frequent meltdowns they know. I tend to think this comes from a place of love and acceptance. At home you are unconditional. They can be a handful and trust you will still love them the next day. Not so rosy, it may be that you have developed patterns within your relationship that pull for the negative behaviors.

Knowing this is common, I hope, can alleviate some of the stress it may otherwise put on parents. Once parents realize their children are better behaved for others, many assume they are doing something wrong. While it is worth stepping back and taking a wider look at your relationship, it may very well be just a reflection of their comfort level and trust.

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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