Why Toddlers Behave Better Around One Parent

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Many times, it is mothers who spend more time with their toddlers than their partners do. As such, it can be frustrating to see how the behavior of toddlers can change from that of being defiant, emotional, and at times, out of control with moms when they are the exact opposite when taken care of by the other parent. And while it can be perplexing as to why this happens; toddlers are notorious for behaving better around one parent than the other. Something that can take some time for the main caregiver to come to terms with.

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BABY VIDEO OF THE DAY

Toddlers are in a constant state of development. As such, their moods can change at the drop of a hat. When this happens, the way they treat each parent can vary. And because of this, parenting styles may need to adapt so that regardless of how they are treated, parents remain a united front when it comes to their toddlers.

RELATED: Watching Adults Can Help Toddlers Regulate Their Emotions

Here is why your toddler behaves better around one parent over the other.

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Amount Of Time Spent With Toddler Can Make Behavior Change

For many families, the main caregiver of toddlers is their mothers. As such, they become the safe person in their toddlers’ eyes. They know that regardless of how they behave, mothers will always be there for them, love them, and support them. And this is why their behavior can be worse with mothers than with their other parents.


According to Parenting FirstCry, when toddlers act out in front of their moms but not the other parent, it is a sign of how comfortable they are with their moms. They learn what behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not by the reactions they get from their moms. And as a result, when around the other parent, toddlers will be less reactionary and perhaps better overall than they are with their moms.

Parenting Styles Can Dictate Behavior

There are different parenting styles that are chosen when it comes to raising kids. According to VeryWell Family, Those styles are authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved. And because each of these parenting styles varies greatly from one another, if parents are not on the same page as far as which parenting style to use, toddlers’ behavior can be different with one parent than the other.


For example, if one parent decides to have few to no rules while the other has more rules than can be counted, then toddlers are going to like being with the parent who lets them get away with whatever they want. And while this is not good from a parenting standpoint, it can also be confusing to toddlers as far as learning what is acceptable and what is not for their behavior.

This is why parents need to discuss from the beginning how they are going to parent so that they do not have their toddlers playing both sides against one another.

Attitudes Can Make Toddlers Behave Differently

When it comes to the attitudes of parents, toddlers are very astute in picking up how their parents feel. And because of this, the way that parents behave can and will be copied by their toddlers. Meaning that if parents ‘attitudes are 180 degrees from one another, toddlers’ reactions to each individual parent will be as stark a contrast as well.


According to ShareCare, the behavior of toddlers is directly influenced by their parents. As such, if one parent is calm, toddlers will be calm around that parent. If the parent is loud and aggressive, those traits should be expected by that parent when caring for toddlers.

The way that parents can try to have their toddlers behave in an even-keel manner most of the time is to exhibit that same attitude. The more they see that is what is acceptable, they will react in the same fashion. And the swing in behavior may not be so great from one parent to the other.

Toddlers May Just Decide To Prefer One Parent Over The Other

Toddlers are a complex variety of children. With their brains constantly developing and preferences changing consistently, it can be hard to keep up with where toddlers stand. And this includes how they feel about one parent over the other as well.


According to Imperfect Families, toddlers can make the decision one day that one parent is the chosen one to help them. Nothing has changed in their routine or environment. But they want to change who their main caregiver is. While this can cause hurt feelings on the part of the parent who is being shut out, it is likely not because of anything that they have done.

Instead, per publication, it can just have to do with the preferences of toddlers.

While it is difficult to deal with when one parent is pushed away, it is important to remember that it is just a phase. Toddlers love both of their parents, but there are times they want to be in the presence of one over the other. And as long as parents support one another during this time, everyone will come out of the situation unscathed.

Source: Parenting FirstCry, VeryWell Family, ShareCare, Imperfect Families

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