Why Do Children Behave So Differently When Away From Home?

@ellie333 (21029)
January 25, 2009 6:10am CST
I am asking this question as my son had his friend stayover last night and I ordered them pizza and chips as that is what the other lad liked and his mum said he was a bit of a fussy eater and would probably cry and play up at bedtime. Well he ate loads and I let them both get in the PJs and lay on a sofa each to wind down after the food and active play. Within minutes both were sound aslepp and stayed that way until 6 this morning, although at home he wakes. I then gave then both breakfast cocopops with milk and both ate full bowls. Then I took him back to his mums. She was so pleased he hadn't cried as it was the first time ever and also it was the first time he had eaten cereal with milk and saif he loved it although at home he won't eat will milk. Why do you think this is? Is because mum is not around? Is it because their friend is eating it so they will? The little lad told me he would cry and I said that that was ok to do and my son said it was ok too as his mum would give him a hug if he did so because it was ok for him too did he just not eel the need as he wouldn't get a reaction just acceptance of it. Oh to be a child and to know what they think eh! Please share your thoughts on this. Huggles. Ellie :D
5 people like this
30 responses
@gemini_rose (16194)
25 Jan 09
I dont know why they do it, but all kids do it. My nephew is a little tearaway but when he is with me he will not step a foot out of line. I think with their parents they are comfortable with them and so know the things they can get away with but with other people they do not they are out of that comfort zone and so toe the line.
3 people like this
@ellie333 (21029)
25 Jan 09
Hi Gemini, It is strange how they are like this, my son seems to be the same wherever he goes so I suppose I noticed the difference more with this lad as his mum had told me what he was like. Obviously my son knows how far he can push and does with me and probably behaves better everywhere else bu not such an extreme, like this lad and your nephew also. Huggles. Ellie :D
1 person likes this
@cyberfluf (5005)
• Netherlands
25 Jan 09
I am not too sure what this is either, Ellie. But it is a common sight with children. I guess they adapt to a new environment very quickly. Perhaps he feels like crying etc. is something that belongs at home and he doesn't link it to your home. Children (and adults!) tend to have different roles they play in different environments. A roleset, if you may. Seems like he made up a whole new one for your home. There are good odds he keeps saying no to milk at home because having milk in your own home is something different from having it somewhere else. I guess on some level they beleive it is something very different even if you would buy the same brand, etc.
@ellie333 (21029)
25 Jan 09
Hi Cyberfluf, I guess it is like us behaving in one way around our friends but acting a different way at home with family. This little lad was doing the same I guess. Huggles. Ellie :D
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@cyberfluf (5005)
• Netherlands
25 Jan 09
True, that was basicly what I was going for with the roleset thingy . You have stated it a lot more effectively. I have some trouble being shorter with my responses, lol... luckily mylot appreciate long responses because my college doesn't allways appreciate my answers which can take up to one feel side of a paper (I get enthousiastic and start rambling about all kinds of things that are related to the answer, but not important for the answer to be correct). Pretty much what I am doing right now . Have a great day, Ellie!
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@ellie333 (21029)
25 Jan 09
Hi Cyberfluf, I always understand you and love to read your responses. Love and Huggles. Ellie :D
• Malaysia
25 Jan 09
well my brother acts differently in school. he's 10 and he was awarded by his teacher as the best 'helper' in the class. he'd help his other classmates in science project (in school that is), helps to sweep the class even he was not told to do so, and even go to the other block building in the hot sun to get some keys that the teacher needs, you know things like that. but when he's at home it's such a pain for him to help around the house. my mum complains him of being too lazy. he's a procrastinator at home and the teacher's sayings about him confused my parents. well. the way i see about these kind of children is that maybe somewhere else they are more appreciated for the things they have done. if it's at home it's just an okay if he were to dry and hang his towel. but if it's at school he will be admired and could be pointed out as the 'best student in class' by the teacher even when helping to pin a picture to the wall, if you know what i mean. kids, little kids they don't quite understand what are sincerity and show-offs means yet. and maybe they do when they grow up later. hope so :) i hope my respond answered your questions and have a nice day ellie333!
2 people like this
@ellie333 (21029)
25 Jan 09
Hi Soundfreak22nd, I guess he loves the praise and recognition he receives at school then rather than at home it being expected. It is good to know that your brother does behave so well at school though this is a good thing, he is probably so worn out doing the things he does there he is too tired when he gets home which makes him seem lazy bless. Kids eh, you just gotta love em though. LOL. Huggles. Ellie :D
1 person likes this
• Malaysia
26 Jan 09
yeah. and they do grow up so fast!
1 person likes this
@MsTickle (24994)
• Australia
25 Jan 09
Hello Ellie....kids feel things. They feel aggression and anger and tension and negativity. They also feel positive things like acceptance, tolerance, happiness and peace. They might just be little kids but a part of them knows exactly what is going on ...or not going on and so they react accordingly. Your young friend simply knew he was in a safe and happy place where he could be himself and be accepted. This took the pressure off. His home life is possibly somewhat difficult.
2 people like this
@ellie333 (21029)
25 Jan 09
Hi MsTickle, Wow what you have just said makes complete sense as it has only been a couple of months since the little boys dad moved out and there must be a lot of mixed feelings and emotion at home and as my place is so peaceful and calm and I accepted the fact he may cry, he didn't bless him. Huggles. Ellie :D
2 people like this
@MsTickle (24994)
• Australia
25 Jan 09
The poor little mite. His whole world has been upset in a really big way. He needs lots of comfort and love and reassurance. He needs to know it's okay to be sad. I reckon you've helped him...A LOT!!
1 person likes this
@psspurgeon1 (1109)
• United States
25 Jan 09
One of my daughters is well behaved but when she gets somewhere else she acts all crazy and hyper. My two year old is just wild no matter where we go. She is hilarious and ends up making everyone laugh but she is extremely misbehaving. My mom only watches her about once every couple months or so cause she is so wild. The oldest used to be a jekyl/hyde with minding. She's be really good at home and then go somewhere and turn on and we'd have to leave every time. Kids are funny. We used to not be albe to make it through Walmart without serious issues for a few years. Just lately has it gotten a little bit easier to go and almost fun!
2 people like this
@ellie333 (21029)
26 Jan 09
Hi Psspurgeon, So yours do the opposite to this little lad, kids are funny yes I agree. My son is no different wherever he is which is equally strange. Huggles. Ellie :D
@stephcjh (32327)
• United States
25 Jan 09
I think alot of kids just do what the other kids are doing. I think they are afraid to try new things at home because they may feel like they are being made to eat something they do not want to even taste.
2 people like this
@ellie333 (21029)
25 Jan 09
Hi Steph, I suppose they also eat out of politeness too, I did ask whether he wanted cereal or toast and as we always have with milk autoatically gave him milk to and he really enjoyed. His mum is going tostart giving him cereal with milk at home now to see if he will eat. Huggles. Ellie :D
1 person likes this
@mimpi1911 (25479)
• India
25 Jan 09
I think anything different from routine amuses them and they tend to do stuffs that they wouldn't otherwise when someone around it doing it as well. I have seen my nieces eat up same things when prepared and presented differently. I guess, anything routine starts to annoy them. Huggles.
2 people like this
@ellie333 (21029)
25 Jan 09
Hi Mimipi, Yes you have a point there because as they are out of their own environment they act and react differently. I am so pleased he did behave and didn't cry all night though. Huggles. Ellie :D
@millardos (408)
• France
26 Jan 09
well i think that is normal because, even adults when they are outside from home they differently, it is a kind of paying attention that's all and worry...
1 person likes this
@ellie333 (21029)
26 Jan 09
Hi Millardos, Yes I gues most people behave diferently when away from home. Huggles. Ellie :D
• India
26 Jan 09
Hmm...interesting question! Maybe they want to make life as difficult as possible for Mom? A way of getting back at her for not being available enough? LOL! I really don't know, Ellie! Maybe the kiddo loves you, and so he behaved himself perfectly. Maybe the presence of another little boy around made him feel secure and happy, and it just didn't occur to him to make a fuss. :) I wish I knew what is going on in my baby's head at time. :) Like when he stares at nothing as if there is something there! Do kids see angels or something like that? Cheers and happy Mylotting
1 person likes this
@zhuhuifen46 (3486)
• China
26 Jan 09
I share your feeling. Children definitely are good in thinking and doing when away from mom. A long time ago, when going out to see my sick father, I asked my neighbor to take care of my son. On return, to my surprise, I was told very touching comments, "Your son is so considerate." - Whenever given something to eat, he always asked if her son had eaten or not. - Having notised her son prefered to stay in own home, my son asked his mother to let him back home. - Every day, he got up early and take care of himself before sitting down for breakfast, which was not usually the case. - A day before I was back, he managed to wash glasses, telling my neighbor "Mom is back soon." That was when he was only 10.
@ellie333 (21029)
26 Jan 09
Hi Zhuhuifen, Oh that must have made you feel so proud of him upon your retunr, even doing the dishes as well bless. Thanks for sharing. Huggles. Ellie :D
@Opal26 (17690)
• United States
26 Jan 09
Hi ellie! What a cute story! I wonder why the little boy did behave differently at your house. Maybe he was more comfortable with you. Maybe his mum actually upsets him. I think that it was funny that he ate the cereal with milk and his mum said he doesn't ever eat that at home. I know that sometimes kids will try to be more like the children that they are with sometimes, in this case a good thing!
1 person likes this
@ellie333 (21029)
26 Jan 09
Hi Opal, He cries at all the other houses he goes to too so he must have felt very comfortabl with me. I also told him when he said to me he would cry that it was ok for him to do so perhaps he felt that as I didn't have a problm at all with it acting up wasn't gonna work at my house or get a reaction or any sort. The food, yes perhaps because my son was eating it he did too. Huggles. Ellie :D
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
26 Jan 09
I think it is because you are not his mum and so he does not have to prove anything with you. So he will eat his cereal with milk, or whatever because he does not have to prove anything. And it is also that his friend is eating the cereal with milk, and since his friend is doing it, it is all right for him. I would not be surprised that when he goes home he is starting to take it that way. It could also be that perhaps you may be using whole milk while his mother uses two percent, or she puts too much in.
@ellie333 (21029)
26 Jan 09
Hi Suspenseful, I will ask his mum if he had his breakfast with milk at home and I bet you are right as they do eat things away from home that they wouldn't at home. Huggles. Ellie :D
@guybrush (4660)
• Australia
25 Jan 09
I think it's really good our children seem to put on their best manners and behaviour when visiting others and out of their natural environment. I was always pleased when my children's friends' parents said my children were well behaved and polite - and it was often surprising to hear they'd eaten things they wouldn't touch at home! I'm sure kids sometimes 'play up' for their mothers, and wouldn't like to make the same fuss in front of strangers - which is a good thing, as they often try other foods and experiences and find they don't mind them after all!
1 person likes this
@ellie333 (21029)
26 Jan 09
Hi Guybrush, Yes this is probably the reason why, they know how far they can push their mums too eh! My daughters were always better behaved anywhere else but my son is the same wherever he goes. Huggles. Ellie :D
@zeny_zion (1284)
• Philippines
25 Jan 09
of course they are ashamed. so whatever food they will have they will eat. specially, if you are in another house. they will feel a little bit shy so they will behave as much as possible. maybe, they are also scared that if they dont follow rules you might get mad at the child. something like that.
1 person likes this
@ellie333 (21029)
26 Jan 09
Hi Zeny, Oh i would never get mad if the child didn't eat but yes he may have felt he might be in trouble if he idn't eat it. Huggles. Ellie :D
@suzzy3 (8357)
25 Jan 09
Kids always play their mum up that is an unwritten law.They make you look like a fool and make you look like an habitual lier ,they really do. There you are worried sick and they are as happy as anything,if you ring them you get the mummies that is why i never did that,I would ring whoever was looking after him and find out the truth.My son used to come back sulking and sometimes little stories.They only do that to make you feel bad,you know it cannot be true no one I am related to would make them go to bed with no supper,more likey indegestion.It is also a big adventure and try what everybody else is eating and drinking,but they can catch themselves out ,my son had afriend to tea and he ate like horse cabbage, carrots and peaa ,meat pie and mash,when I told his mother she was really shocked did I acutally see him eat this as my son loves his veg,thought maybe he had passed them on to him,I sat and watched him eat it all,right she said and laughed.
1 person likes this
@ellie333 (21029)
26 Jan 09
Hi Suzzy3, Oh yes they can make us seem like liars at times. This mother was shocked to hear her son had eaten breakfast with milk and ate so well the previous evening and no tears, apparently there are tears everywhere he goes. Maybe he is just growing up a bit and knows now he will see mum in the morning so isn't so tearful. I don't know. They have us running around in circles though don't they at times. Huggles. Ellie :D
@winterose (39917)
• Canada
25 Jan 09
there is a combination of reasons, he wants to do everything his friend does, he is away from home in a strange house and he will not feel comfortable enough to do the things he does in his own house, no different from adults there, he is afraid to break the rules of the new house because he really doesn't know the consequences even if you tell him it is okay so he will go to bed even though inside he might have felt he didn't feel like it but his friend did and he didn't know if he could get away with fuzzying and crying like he would with his mom, after all he knows what to expect from her. or he may have wanted to impress you, and gain your approval.
1 person likes this
@ellie333 (21029)
25 Jan 09
Hi Winterose, Yes I guess he knows what he can get away with at home and even though he has visited many times this was the first time he had stayed over bless. He was as good as gold though and both boys really enjoyed themselves. Huggles. Ellie :D
@littleowl (7157)
25 Jan 09
Hi Ellie, i second that!! how children think I will never know, but do know that for other people they are normally good as gold but for mum they try to test their patience and in my opinion try to test their mum and see how far they can take them by not doing things at home where they would with other people...huggles littleowl
1 person likes this
@ellie333 (21029)
25 Jan 09
Hi Littleowl, Yes and for some reason it is always the mums they push rather than the dads too eh! Beats mne too LOL. Huggles. Ellie :D
@marketing07 (6266)
• South Korea
25 Jan 09
hi ellie..my son sometimes behave like that ..when he was at his grandmothers house he can eat..the cooking of his grandmother..but if he was at home he doesnt want to eat..one time i ask him why he eat at his grand mothers house he said..he was scared that his grandmother iwill be angry with him if he doesnt eat her cooking..
1 person likes this
@ellie333 (21029)
25 Jan 09
Hi Marketing, You will have to tell him you will be angry if if doesn't eat your cooking LOL and perhaps he will eat at home. Huggles. Ellie :D
@Humbug25 (12551)
25 Jan 09
Hi ya ellie333 Well let me tell you!! My eldest is an absolute gem when he is at school and if he goes to a party, or goes to a friends house for dinner or sleepover but at home he has to be the centre of attention all the time, teasing and upsetting his brother's and being bossy to everyone. My middle child can also be a bit difficult but nowhere near like my eldest but will eat everything put in front of him at someone else's house as he is my fussy eater but he has got better since he has been at school and had school meals. My youngest too can be a handful when he wants to be but again won't play anyone else up. My kids are always so polite with other people and it all seems to go out the window when they are at home. I think they associate 'home' with somewhere as being a place of relaxation with little restraints!!
@ellie333 (21029)
25 Jan 09
Hi Humbug, Wow three boys I really don't know how you manage as they always seem so much more active than girls from my own experience. Yes I guess home is a safe place where they can just be themselves but no matter how they are there as long as you can take them anywhere knowing they will behave is a credit to you. My son is no different at home or anyone elses, the good and the bad bits LOL. Huggles. Ellie :D
25 Jan 09
Hi ellie, The little boy was well behaved because he was with his friend and he was away from his mum, I think kids do those things at home just to get attentions, but I don't really know as I haven't got any children so I won't know how they think. Love and huggles. Tamara
1 person likes this
@ellie333 (21029)
25 Jan 09
Hi Tamara, Yes I guess at home he is also fighting for attention away from his baby brother but he was equal at mine with my son so to speak plus it didn't know how far to push like he would he own parents I guess. He obviously felt comfortable though as he didn't cry bless. Huggles. Ellie :D