The Brat Pack: Kids Are Simply Angels in Disguise, Parents Think

Filed under: In The News, Behavior: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Behavior: Big Kids, Behavior: Tweens, Behavior: Teens

brat pack

Your perfect baby isn't so flawless. Credit: Jerome Tisne, Getty Images

Hey parents, next time you're at the mall shopping for "Santa's" gifts (like tomorrow) and your find your patience flaring up at a bunch of unruly kids (not yours of course), just roll your eyes and chalk it up to their clueless parents.

Temper tantrums, mall meltdowns and badly behaved kids aren't necessarily the result of purposefully careless parenting; they're the result of the more than 95 percent of parents who think their little brats are angels, according to a study in Today Moms.

So, basically the study finds that there's a nation of parents in denial.

Certainly, there are plenty of exceptions to the rule, but these days other people's children (never our own), that act up, whine or say "I want," or "gimme," instead of "please" and "thank you," do so because only four percent of the nation's parents admit their kids aren't well-behaved, according to a government study on family health reported Today Moms. Instead, they think they're all little angles, the online news says.

Officials at the National Center for Health Statistics officials interviewed the parents of nearly 84,000 children between 2001 and 2007 about everything from stepparents to hay fever about their health. The main finding was that families are more diverse, and that kids in more stable homes are healthier, the site reports.

But a surprising nugget that emerged in one line of questioning of families with kids ages 4 to 17 found that 96 percent of parents felt their kids were well-behaved and did exactly what they were told to do, the report says.

Turns out boys parents fessed up to misbehavior a tad more -- 4.2 percent of parents of boys said their sons were not well-behaved. Only three percent of the girls' parents felt that way, according to Today Moms.

Are these parents clueless?

Experts at the National Center for Health Statistics tell Today Moms they don't think that parents are lying, that face-to-face interviews usually lead to pretty accurate answers.

But study author Debra Blackwell reviewed a single year, 2007, and says that about 20 percent of parents actually said their kids were "somewhat" well-behaved, a category not included in the published study.

Still, that leaves more than three-quarters of parents who said their kids "certainly" were little angels.

Blackwell kindly suggests in the online magazine that perhaps parents simply don't remember the details of kids' bad behavior over six months.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.