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How to Handle Manipulation

Sometimes kids want something so badly that they will do just about anything to get it or to get their way. One tactic kids use to get what they want is manipulation. Parents may or may not be aware that manipulation is even taking place until it has already happened. The earlier parents tackle manipulative behavior, the better!

Manipulating Mavens

Kids often get so wrapped up in what it is that they want that they can't think of anything else. Some have even become masters at manipulating not only their parents, but their siblings and even people at school. Manipulation is a form of control and may also include intimidation. Sometimes, manipulation is mistaken for charm, so there is a fine line in determining which one your child is using.

Tips for parents:

Addressing manipulating behavior can be tough. Try these tips to wade through this confusing behavior.

  • Pay attention so that you can identify manipulative behavior. When it happens, let your child know you know what she's doing and that it is not going to work.
  • Don't give into manipulation. If you give in, your child will continue to try to manipulate you. If she sees that you consistently are not moved by manipulation, she will most likely abandon the behavior.
  • Focus on using positive reinforcement. Reward desired behavior. A reward chart is a great tool for changing behavior.
  • Make sure that all caretakers are on board. Kids will often pit parents against one another by asking each oen separately for something. This is a form of manipulation.
  • Consider speaking with a school counselor or parenting coach to get help if managing the situation at home isn't working.

Manipulation is about power. When a child takes power from adults, nobody wins. But parents do not have to give in to manipulation. The more you hold your child accountable for trying to manipulate you, the more successful you will be at curbing the behavior altogether!