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If you are a mother then you likely have noticed that when your child is around you, they are a completely different person around you than they are with others. The first time I noticed this was when I sent my child to stay with a friend for a few hours while I worked.

I had been so anxious about sending my daughter off with my friend because she tended to act out with me. When she would become upset, and still even now, when she gets upset, she can be a handful. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little handful- but still. Because of this, I pretty much kept her with me all the time. However, there came a day when this simply wasn’t possible.

As soon as I left, a sense of anxiety and panic began to fill my entire being. I just knew I would get a call soon telling me to come to pick her up, that she couldn’t handle her. To my surprise, later that day, when I came to pick her up, she was waiting patiently, and my friend exclaimed about how great she had been. “Are you sure she didn’t act too rambunctious?” I asked. “She didn’t act rambunctious at all,” my friend responded.

To say I was shocked is an understatement. Since then, I have had others say the same about my well-behaved little girl. It got me wondering, why are kids entirely different children around their parents?

Dr. Heather Wittenberg, a child psychologist explains that kids tend to be more reserved around everyone else, but their parents are their safe place. “Children save their best- and worst- for us, as parents. They’re their ‘true selves with us.”

If you think about it, it’s a compliment that my little girl feels comfortable enough with me to raise hell in my presence. It means she realizes it’s safe and that I am there for her.

“It takes energy to “be good” and follow the rules — especially for young children — so when they get home, they let it all hang out. The good news is that their deepest love, affection, admiration, and goofiness are reserved for us, too.”  explains Wittenberg.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should let them have the run of the house. It’s necessary to set limits and boundaries with your kids. But, if they are simply venting, let them. What is it going to hurt? And if you begin to feel overwhelmed, remember, your child feels safe and comfortable with you, and honestly, that says a lot!