When a child is with their parent they feel the safest to let loose with their true and real feelings.
As crazy as it sounds, it is really a compliment to a parent when their child feels comfortable falling apart around them. It is a statement underscoring how safe that child feels with that parent.
Use the analogy of an adult at work. Things might turn ugly one day but the adult holds it together in a professional setting. When they get home though they might lose it with their partner, the person they are the most intimate with. They act the way they really feel.
It is the same experience with adults and children, it is human nature.
The issues arise when the behavior swings too wildly from one end of the continuum to the other.
It is very common for children to act differently with each of their separate parents. Once again, it is only a problem if there is a huge gap in terms of the appropriateness of their behavior when they are with each one of them separately.
If the behavior exhibited from your child is so opposite with each parent then it needs to be addressed.
Sometimes it is because the parents have fallen into the good cop bad cop syndrome.
One parent becomes the disciplinarian and the other parent becomes the “loose or easy” parent. It really isn’t a good situation for anyone.
Another cause of this huge disparity of behavior from children can be a general overall lack of limits.
Parents need to proactively decide how they are going to set limits with their children.
There are so many different philosophies out there that it can get very confusing for parents. We all usually bring a little piece of our childhoods to the table as well so it can be very hard for a parent to know what to do.
Gather information, do your homework, take classes or workshops and do whatever you need to do to increase the amount of tools in your parenting tool belt. You know what feels right to you. Go with your gut.
Be proactive. Make a plan. Come together as parents. You do not have to parent identically with your partner but you should be on the same page.
What you want to teach your children through your parenting should be discussed with your partner and decided upon in a conscious way.
If you do this, your child will still act differently when they are with each parent but the gap between those behaviors will narrow significantly.
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