Categories: GeneralParenting

Kids And Manipulative Behavior

Kids manipulating to get what they want is a familiar pattern with most parents today. They complain of their kids blackmailing them. Even their pre-schooler emotionally black mails them. He complains that the parents love their elder brother more, when he is asked to stop playing video games and to complete his homework. Obviously, the parent feels guilty and allows him to continue. The teenage daughter negotiates that she will complete all her work the next day, if she is allowed to go to a friend’s party. You let her go, only to realize that she will never complete that work.

You must try to understand that, no matter what, kids will try to get what they want, and will get it all costs.  Obviously, as a parent, it is natural for you to get frustrated, but given the amount of stress, don’t let this bother you too much. Although it can be aggravating for you, as your child find more and more ingenious ways to get what he or she wants, don’t let that bother you too much. Primarily because, this is only one of the way they can influence a world run by adults. Just bear in mind, that having drive, initiative, and passion are all positive factors. These traits can actually be a positive force if you as parents, help your child to use it properly and balance it with restraint, while respecting boundaries.

How to not fall for your child’s manipulation.

It is natural for your kid to make demands, to communicate his desires and to try to get them met by any means. Your job is to not get upset by it, but instead, try to help your child balance the endless energy of their needs with self-control and integrity.

The basic cycle of the so-called manipulation and control dramas.

The kids’ manipulative behavior frustrates parents, and often they feel disrespected and withdraw. Alternately, they try to avoid conflict and give in to their child’s demands.

There are times when parents do try and exercise control and this invariably causes a power struggle, and the cycle can go on and on. The best way is not to get too emotionally involved, because if we step back and analyze, you realize that the whole process is for you to react. It is then that their behavior becomes effective.  Just remember that kids can only manipulate if parents permit them to do so. It takes two to tango, but you need only one to change that pattern.

Children have learnt over time that typical behaviors such as lying, emotional blackmail, throwing tantrums, relentless negotiation, or playing the victim can help them get what they want. The danger is when those behaviors become a regular habit.

So how can we stop this pattern of manipulation?

Here are a few tips for parents who are stuck in the manipulation cycle.

Know your triggers that set you out of control.

Triggers are behavioral patterns that upset you and get you to react. If you are aware of identifying your trigger patterns, it will help you prepare on how not to let your child push the trigger buttons. Try to make a list of your triggers so you are aware of what they are. This would prove helpful, as it will help you prepare the next time your child uses them.

Define yourself and your parenting principles.

Knowing your limits as a parent will help you when your kids come with their ingenious ways to make you unsure of yourself and lose control. Whatever may be the case, do not let go of your parenting principles.  Listen to your children’s feelings so that they know you care, but stick to the rules you have established. Guiding your kids with your established parenting principles will be far better than trying to make them feel good.

Approaching the bench

Try not to get mad at your child for trying to go after what they want. Ensure that they go after their desires and wishes, while helping them learn how to get what they want more directly and effectively. In other words, during a calm moment, encourage them to put forward what he or she wants, and which can be solved mutually.

When your child asks for what he needs, listen to them.  Don’t let them get the feeling that you are saying yes, instead, give them the feeling that you are giving it some honest thought. If your child knows that they can discuss their needs with you openly, it would be unlikely that they will try and get them indirectly.

Have belief in your child.

Always have belief in your kid’s good intentions. They might need help in ways to manage themselves, but remember their intentions are not to make us miserable. Unfortunately, most of us believe that is their real intention and obviously we get to see them that way. Believing in your children will help them see themselves with the goodness that is in them.

Take a calm approach.

Be in charge of your own emotional health. Managing your own calm, will free your kids up to learn on how to manage their own lives. As a result, they will be more open and direct with you regarding their needs.

Our kids are not to blame, as they just want us to help them learn how to tolerate limits and helping them what they need.


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