Her bottom lip began to quiver & the low hum of a whine began to slowly increase in volume when suddenly the flood gates burst open & a stream of crocodile tears began to fall down her rosy cheeks. Man, this girl is good.....BUT mommy is on to her I assure you & will not be taken down by a kindergartner!
Manipulation, even the sweetest of sweet kiddos try it from time to time. It doesn't matter if you have a 9 month old or a 19 year old, I am sure that every parent has experienced this situation or something similar at 1 time or another with their child. It is amazing how young kiddos begin to test the waters in this area when they don't get their way, are trying to avoid receiving a punishment/consequence for something they did, are trying to test boundaries that have been set, or even trying using manipulation to try & make a parent "pay" for doing something they didn't like.
1 of the ways a child can try to manipulate is through tears or whining. If they don't get their way or have to do something they do not necessarily want to do, you may sometimes see your child try to use tears or a whine in an attempt to influence you to change your mind & feel bad. Don't be fooled, you are not doing that child any favors by giving in to their "puppy face" or tantrum. You have to stay strong & rest in the fact that the decision you have made was with their best interest in mind whether they understand that now or not. I have often witnessed parents give in to their child because they can't stand to see their child cry or because they feel embarrassed about the episode their child may be causing in public. Just remind yourself to look towards the long term benefits of nipping the unacceptable behavior in the bud now, because I assure you it will get worse & even more intense later if you don't. As long as you are coming from a place of love, your child will 1 day thank you.
Threats are another method a child may try to use to manipulate their parents or even their friends into doing what they want. On the playground it sadly is not uncommon to hear 1 child tell another child "Well, I won't be your friend anymore!". This form of manipulation may work on their 4 or 5 year old friends for a lil' while, but if they do not change their ways soon they may end up friend-less in the end. Some kids have tried to use similar methods on their parents by threatening not to like them anymore or love them anymore. When I was lil' I remember 1 day my 8 year old self got so mad over something my parents had did that I even thought about running away to "show" my parents just how "unfair" I thought they were being to me. Oh geez. I didn't end up doing it by the way, but now that I am older & a parent myself I am ever so thankful my parents didn't let me run the household. Again, if you show your child that their manipulations work, you aren't doing them or yourself ANY favors for the future.
Eye rolling, showing no eye contact, sighing/mumbling under their breath or not verbally answering back at all are also subtle ways a child can try to manipulate you or silently protest. Don't let any of them slide! The other day I was driving home from somewhere & I was correcting my daughter for something when I suddenly noticed her roll her eyes. WOW! I stopped that van so fast to correct her right then & there. Sure enough she had picked it up from 1 of the girls in a class with her. In fact, I remember the exact day my daughter & I witnessed that child pull that move with her mother & it worked. My daughter is pretty smart & I know she was taking notes, BUT now she also knows that it will not work in our family & probably won't be trying it again any time soon.
Playing parents against each other I feel is the #1 form of manipulation that kids try. I don't know why, maybe its because it usually works. No one wants to feel like the "bad guy", but if parents make a conscious effort to present a united front to the kiddos then you both don't look like the "bad guy", but rather 2 parents that just genuinely care. My husband & I definitely don't always agree with stuff concerning the kids, but we have learned to discuss those things in private so we can work them out. If 1 kid asks my husband or I something, we have made it a habit to automatically ask them if they already asked other parent. This has helped discourage our kids to try & play my husband & I against each other which can begin to affect a marriage.
In the beginning trying to manipulate comes from an innocent place with children, but that doesn't mean we should let the behavior slide. Training them to express their feelings, sometimes their disagreements, in more positive ways will prove to be so helpful in the long run.
|Birthday party ready!|
|Chillin' with her juice box|
|All about Thomas!|
|The handsome birthday boy!|
|2 1/2 months already!?|
|Re-planting fallen branches|
|She loves her baby brother!|