When your child knows he/ she can manipulate you…

child manipulating parents- Parenting resources by ZenParent

Your 13 year old asks you for a new pair of expensive shoes and although you are convinced that buying them is out of your budget, you end up giving the money.

Your 7 year comes crying to you that he doesn’t want to go school today and you know that there is a test but still grant him the permission to stay.

Why do you do that? Have you ever given it a thought? Could it be that your child said or did something that made you change your mind and has it just struck you that it is happening very often?

Is your child manipulating you to get his /her way without you realising it?

For most kids ‘no’ is never really a ‘no’. Even if your kid appears to not argue and walk away be prepared for a backlash attempt. Kids have learnt to be persuasive and while good persuasion skills are an asset they should not take the form of emotional blackmail.And that is precisely most kids do persistently till they pin you down and cave you in to give in to their demands that are very cleverly camouflaged as requests.

manipulating parents- Parenting resources by ZenParent

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Let’s look into how kids do this and how should you contain it.

1. Parents are fantastic as a team- This happens when both the parents are not on the same page most of time. They disagree on almost everything in front of kids and operate according to their personal whims. So what do kids do? They use parents against each other to get their way. If mom said no for the outing with friends, let me ask dad and may agree and I still have a chance. Even if parents disagree on something they have to sort out their difference of opinions amongst themselves, come to a joint decision and communicate that clearly to the kids. No further negotiations.

2. Be firm- Does your kid’s puppy face melt you or their temper tantrums threaten you into giving in? Kids are getting smarter. But what should you do? Be calm and reply with a firm no. You have to expect this behaviour beforehand NOT be affected by it & not shout back. If your kid has had success before even once in making you relent with his manipulative behaviour there are less chances that he/she will take no for an answer and will keep torturing you emotionally with silent treatments, anger outbursts, playing victim, and sulking, till it is converted into a yes. So the best way is to stand your ground no matter what. Words like later, maybe, depends and let’s see are invitation to trouble.

3. Be Reasonable- Parents often have this grievance that their kids aren’t as obedient as they used to be when they themselves were children. If we adopt this simple understanding that we are our kids’ consultants and not managers, things get relatively easier. Traits like too much strictness, over-protectiveness, and excessive control make your kid rebellious and lose respect for what you have to say and he/she can use this manipulatively against you calling you unreasonable & old fashioned, as compared to other parents(oh I hear that all the time!) and never respecting your ‘no s’.

child can be-fool parents- Parenting resources by ZenParent

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4. Shortcuts are only for commuters- Your kid is in a toy store and you have refused to buy him what he wants, what does he do? He throws a tantrum. How is he manipulating? He knows that you will get embarrassed in front of the crowd and so he purposely won’t appear to take heed of what you are trying to explain and keep shouting till you adopt the easier and shorter way out and try to pacify him by agreeing to his demands. Your teenager has asked you for a late evening outing and you have refused .What does she do?She sulks, gives you silent treatment, won’t eat, won’t run errands and portrays herself as a friendless victim (because she is mostly MIA). How does she manipulate? She will push you into a negotiation mode as she knows you have a lot on your plate already & need her around and will eventually get her way, as your patience wears out.According to Debbie Pincus, the creator of ‘Calm Parent’ caving in to your child’s demands in order to steer clear of his tirades, will only teach that manipulation works!

This is one fine art every human needs to survive and most use it well too! If only kids were also blessed with this art in accordance to their sizes our work as parents would have been halved but when we became parents, someone up there knew we could endure, work and keep going on. So let’s just keep reading and dealing and conquering.

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