Why is my child more obedient to others than to me – and how can I make him more cooperative?

Why is my child more obedient to others than to

With others, your child is always as good as a picture. With you, he is always angrier. How can we explain this difference in behavior? The answers of a psychologist and her advice to make him more cooperative.

With his nanny, his grandparents, at daycare, even at school, your child always exhibits exemplary behavior. He eats well, he falls asleep alone in his bed, he respects the rules… At home, it’s completely different: he refuses everything you ask him, doesn’t want to go to bed, pushes his plate… In summary, he is much more obedient with others than with his own parents. But why is it less simple with us?

“Human beings, children or adults, tend to be more authentic, to express their needs more and to demonstrate less regulation when they are in the presence of people with whom they have a stronger bond of attachment. ” Contrary to what some parents may think, it is neither calculated, nor voluntary, nor conscious on the part of the child”, explains us Héloïse Junier, child psychologist, doctor of psychology and co-author of the comic book Les Emotions de l’Enfant (Éditions les Arènes).

Furthermore, at the nanny’s, at the nursery or at school, there is a group effect which facilitates the child’s cooperativeness. It also evolves in a framework that is so ritualized and reassuring that generally, this encourages its adherence. “He is also less comfortable since he is not with his main attachment figure. He therefore shows less discontent, which makes him much easier to get along with others!“, develops the child psychologist.

Behavioral sciences tell us how to increase the child’s level of support in an exchange. “This includes being smiling, gentle, placing a hand tenderly on the child when we ask him for a favor, saying please even if he does not yet completely understand the meaning of politeness“, informs the specialist. Making the child an actor in the exchange, by offering him several choices, also contributes to making him more cooperative. Conversely, certain attitudes of the parent tend to reduce the rate of cooperativeness of the child in the exchange. For example, if the parent is threatening, aggressive, if he shouts or if he orders.

How to react in the event of a crisis? When the child is in a tantrum, we can’t do anything, because he is in a sort of altered state of consciousness and he is no longer really interacting. This peak of anger can last a few seconds to a few minutes. “It’s hard, but you have to try to stay calm. Once the peak of anger has subsided, we offer him a time to connect by giving him a hug and putting words to his emotions and ours in order to to develop social-emotional skills“, advises Heloïse Junier.