Kids have this remarkable ability to save themselves from getting into trouble and getting what they want from you without really letting you know that you are being manipulated. It is very important for you to curtail, or at least recognize manipulative behavior at an early age. Otherwise, kids will continue to use it to have their way. This leads us to the million-dollar question, i.e. how kids manipulate parents? To help you with that, we have created a cheat sheet revealing the most common ways in which kids manipulate parents. This will help you in controlling manipulative child behavior.
Emotional Blackmailing to Melt Heart
Emotional blackmailing is a type of psychological manipulation in which kids use threats, requests, emotional behavior and much more to convince you on something. Kids put this tactic into play by showing certain emotions that they know will soften your heart. Statements like “you do not love me”, “I will never forgive you”, “you don’t understand me”, and “you will know my importance after I leave you”, etc. can easily make you feel emotional, and it is in this emotional state that you cave in to their requests.
Using Lies to Get Their Way
Lying is one of the most popular manipulation tools used by youngsters. According to Stacy Kaiser, a psychotherapist, kids consider lying an easier and simpler way of getting what they want. The problem is that kids become experts in fabricating stories with time, making it difficult and sometimes even impossible for you to realize that you’re being manipulated.
Faking Illness to Break Resolve
Kids know very well that parents can’t bear to see them in pain. This is why when they are trying to get your approval for something, or simply looking to escape a scolding or punishment, they may fake illness. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do about it as there is no simple way to know if kids are faking the headache, abdominal pain, nausea, and other conditions, or if they really are ill.
Retaliating to the Extreme
This is yet another common manipulation technique used by kids to manipulate parents. They may simply stop doing what is expected of them, like completing their homework, going to sleep on time, keeping their room clean, etc. They may also start showing negative behavior to pressurize you. Joshua Klapow, a clinical psychologist, says that parents should refrain from shouting and yelling in such a situation as it will only make things worse. Calmly tell kids that this behavior is unacceptable.
The Divide and Conquer Strategy
This is when kids manipulate you by using the other parent. This happens all the time, leaving you with no other option but to give your approval. If kids, on your disapproval, tells you that the other parent has already given them permission, then it is more than likely that they may be manipulating you. You can’t say no in these situations as it will make you look bad in their eyes. What you can do is to talk with your spouse beforehand and divide decisions and responsibilities regarding kids. For instance, one of you may take all decisions related to money matters, whereas the other would be responsible for keeping an eye on social activities, studies etc., and taking decisions in respect to them.
Kids not only know your weaknesses, but also know how to use them against you to get what they want. All you need to do is recognize this behavior and ensure that you don’t fall for it. Once kids realize that their manipulation techniques are having no effect on you, they’ll get discouraged and eventually drop this habit themselves.