Our children seem to act out at the worst times. They might be angels at home, but as soon as we're surrounded by witnesses, they display their worst. But, what if these behaviors aren't our kids misbehaving at all? According to Psychology Today, many of the most frustrating behaviors are actually developmentally appropriate stages. Knowing this might not make them less annoying, but it could help parents manage their own reactions.

1. They can't control their impulses.

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Everyone is gathered around to sing happy birthday, and then that one kid comes running in from off-camera because he CANNOT help himself. He must blow out the candles! It's not his birthday. This was not his moment. Naughty kid?

Turns out, not naughty.

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Even this kid who suddenly decides to attack is simply the victim of his own lack of impulse control. Frustrating for parents? Absolutely! The parts of the brain that govern self-control aren't fully developed until the end of adolescence. Remembering that our kids can't control their impulses because their brains aren't fully developed yet, and won't be for awhile, can help parents understand why Timmy threw the ball immediately after you told him to stop, and why Sally smacked Grandma. They're not bad. They're just born that way.

2. They get overstimulated.

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What parent hasn't experienced a kid having a complete meltdown right when they should be the happiest kid ever? It's a birthday party! Kid falls apart. It's Christmas! Kid falls apart. Why do they do this to us?

Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting, explains that kids experience a "cumulative stress reaction."

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We parents are trying to enrich our kids lives with a ton of activities, events, choices, and toys and it can be overwhelming for our children. Payne argues that kids need a great deal of unstructured down time built into their schedules to balance out the activity.

3. Kids are more sensitive to "core conditions" than adults are.

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This means that they are irritable when they're tired. They're hangry when they're hungry. They might be irate if too hot, and downright mean if their pants are uncomfortable of if they're thirsty. Snacks are the key to happy parenting. Don't be afraid to pre-feed your kids before a big event like Thanksgiving dinner.

This means children are not unlike Gremlins.

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They are cute, funny, and cuddly so long as you follow the basic rules to the letter. Never let your child get too hungry. Never let your child get too thirsty. Never let your child get too tired. (Or too hot, or too cold.) Otherwise...

4. Little people feel BIG feelings.

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As adults we can (mostly) manage our feelings. We suppress them, express them politely, ignore them, or any other number of adulty ways to deal with them.

But for kids, emotions can be entirely overwhelming.

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Kids aren't excited. They are EXCITED!!!! They aren't angry. They feel HULK ANGRY!!!! It's hard to stand by when your kid is freaking out from one emotion or another, but early childhood experts advise parents to do just that. Let the feelings be. Let the child feel them.

5. Kids have a developmental need for movement.

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As their bodies develop they have a ton of energy and need constructive outlets for it. You say, "sit still" a thousand times per day. But the kids just keep on wiggling, bouncing, squirming, shaking, jumping, climbing, and eventually falling right out of their chairs.

Ever feel like you live with monkeys instead of children?

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If you have one of these kids, you know about it. Kids need to spend a good part of every day outside playing. Time for running, climbing, biking, and swinging needs to be built into the schedule. If for nothing else than the sake of your walls, and sanity.

6. They need to assert their independence.

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Does your child constantly resist your authority? Are they defiant? Do they do incredibly annoying things because they insist on not needing any help? Do they make terrible decisions?

It certainly feels like bad behavior, but it's just part of growing up.

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Your daughter's bangs are now 3 cm long or your son has a bald spot because they tried to cut their own hair. As annoying as this is, they are doing exactly what they should be doing developmentally: thinking of their own plan and carrying it out independently. One day, hopefully, they will come up with better plans.

7. Their core strengths trip them up.

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We all have core strengths inherent in our personalities. We might be determined, or spontaneous, or focused, or cautious. Each of these can be an asset in some circumstances, but a liability in others.

When our kids' behavior seems at it's worst, it's often simply the flip side of one of their core strengths.

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Your focused and determined student flips out when he gets a bad grade. Your fierce competitor turns into a gloating winner or sore loser depending how the game goes. Your live in the moment child has a hard time planning out and executing longer school projects. And your thoughtful, careful daughter is afraid to try new things. There's not much a parent can do here but try to recognize these behaviors as the underbelly of our kids' strengths, and help them cope with the emotional fallout.

7. They have an insatiable need for play.

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So your kids are constantly silly. They fall into fits of laughter at inappropriate times. They must show you their cartwheel even though you're in a desperate rush to leave the house.

Your kids want to play with you, it seems, especially when you don't want to play.

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Relationship expert John Gottman explains that kids' silliness, at sometimes inopportune moments, are their "bids" for us to play with them. Kids crave our attention and love and there's nothing more rewarding for them than those moments of connection through shared laughter. So, when you're trying to get your kids out the door and they decide it's the perfect time for a good game of chase, it's not defiance that's driving that behavior, but a need for connection. And if that doesn't make you feel guilty as a parent, then nothing will.

9. They react to our moods.

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This one's a doozy. We feel stress, frustration, exhaustion. Our kids pick up on those things and behave accordingly, which we find stressful, frustrating, and exhausting.

Easy fix! Right?

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If we're calm and well behaved our kids will be too! Hahahahahahahahaaha! Good luck with that. Just remember, if your kid is suddenly acting like a jerk, do a quick check in with yourself. Are you stressed-out and frantic? It's probably your fault. Isn't parenting fun?

10. They struggle with inconsistent limits and boundaries.

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If you never buy your kids an impulse candy bar at the supermarket, and then one day you feel like giving them a treat and you do buy them one, you are in for a world of hurt every future shopping trip. Kids understand limits, but only when they are constant.

When we sometimes say yes and sometimes say no, based on our own moods and whims, our kids react rather badly.

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On the other hand, they really thrive on routine and consistency. If you always read two books at bedtime, they probably won't beg for more. But if you sometimes read four and sometimes only one, bedtime is going to be a struggle. Does knowing that your kids' behaviors aren't necessarily "naughty" make them easier to contend with? Maybe not. But keeping this in mind might help inform your reactions.