As kids begin to learn the ropes, they also learn how far they can push limits. While it may be hard to face, for some, a major part of this can manifest as manipulation.
No parent wants to admit their child is manipulating them, but the sooner you nip this behavior in the bud, the sooner you put a stop to it. The last thing you want to do is give in to your child’s manipulation. While it may be hard to do if you don’t realize what is happening, as soon as you realize what is happening-it’s best to stop feeding into it. Otherwise, this behavior may continue to bloom and while a manipulative child can be taught better, a manipulative adult is another story.
Here are 6 signs your child is manipulating you.
1. They badger you.
When your child asks you for something, and you say no, yet they continue to ask, this is badgering. For example, “Can I go to the park?” might be what your child asks. To which you respond, “Not today, we have to go run errands. We can go tomorrow.” Then, they respond, “what? No. Can we go to the park?” Nip this in the bud, by saying, “No. We are not going. If you continue to ask, we cannot go tomorrow either.”
2. They make you feel guilty.
Whenever you say no, your child is quick to lay on a guilt trip. For example, if you are at the store, and you want a toy. When they ask, you may respond, “Not today. I just bought you a new toy the other day.” In turn, they might say, “You barely ever get me anything! John’s parents buy him new toys all the time. You are so mean!” Do not reward guilt trips. Affirm what you have said before and make it clear that you are not backing down.
3. They play the victim.
A few months ago, I was spending some time with my stepdaughter. She started telling me about the school, and I noticed that every other sentence was like, “My teacher is always mean to me. She isn’t mean to anyone else, but she always singles me out.” Then, she would continue and bring up ways her teacher was mean, when actually what had happened was that she was misbehaving in class and the teacher got onto her. This might be innocent enough when your child is ten or eleven, but the more this behavior is encouraged, the more likely you are to raise a child with a victim mentality.
4. They lie & tell you what you want to hear.
When you inquire about a situation with your child, they often bend the truth to get their way. For example, you may ask before leaving to go take them to their friend’s “Did you make up your bed? That was all I asked of you before I take you to Kim’s.” In turn, they may say, “yes, mom, I did.” And then later, when you get back and check to see if it is not done. The natural consequence in this scenario is that they don’t get to go to their friend’s next time.
5. They refuse to respond to you when you ask a question.
When you talk to them, they ignore you. If this happens, immediately verify that if they do not respond, you will respond to their silence with consequences/discipline.
6. They threaten.
This behavior is something that immediately needs to be nipped in the bud. If your child threatens to act badly because you are trying to get them to do something or not allowing them to do something-you should respond quickly. Make it clear that this behavior will not be tolerated.