Recently my 3 year old Hannah has picked up the bad habit of TRYING to manipulate mom and dad. Fortunately for Hannah, she has a mom and dad that can recognize this awful habit and correct if before it gets any worse! You can tell if your child is a Master Manipulator if when given an order, your child will make a small, tiny, seemingly insignificant request. What they are doing is saying, “Okay I will obey you IF you give in to this demand.” Parents.. don’t be bullied by your 3 year old child! Take the dinner time example. Who has not had a child that has refused to eat everything on their plate? Recently Hannah has been leaving about three bites of food on her plate and asking to be excused.
The first thing a Master Manipulator does to try to avoid obedience is to make excuses. They are trying to see if you will give in to an “explanation” of why they can’t obey.
- “My tummy hurts.”
- “I have to go to the bathroom.”
- “I am full.”
If the ice cream comes out, guess what! All of a sudden their tummy does not hurt anymore and there is plenty of room for ice cream! Mommy DONT give in. When an order is given, the order must be obeyed. Every battle must be won and the will of the child must be conquered!
The second thing a Master Manipulator does is attempt to negotiate.
- “It’s cause I need a tortilla.”
- “It’s cause I need some juice.”
- “Daddy gave me a tortilla and I need another tortilla to finish my soup.”
What she is saying is that okay, I did not win with my excuses, mommy is too smart for that, so I will obey but ONLY if mommy gives me something.
The third thing a Master Manipulator does is start to cry or scream or use other ways to irritate mommy into compliance. (I have to say that I have only observed this in other people’s kids as mine know what would happen if they tried this!)
- Hitting or throwing themselves on the ground
- Throwing up or gagging on purpose
The fourth thing the Master Manipulator does is try to break mommy down by eating one or two bites but leaving the last final small piece of food. They want to see if mommy was absolutely serious in making them obey 100% or if they can get away with only partial obedience.
- Partial Obedience
- Asking sweetly if their partial obedience is acceptable
Mommy you NEED to be tough! Your child’s future is in your hands. If you let your child manipulate you NOW at only three years old, I fear for what she will do at thirteen years old! It is MUCH easier to break the awful habit of maniuplation and teach them to obey absolutely and completely when they are three, than when they are thirteen!
So what to do if your child is a Master Manipulator? Set the rules and then stick to them. In the dinner time example you can set the rule that they can’t get down from the table. Or maybe the rule is they will have to eat the same thing the next day. Whatever you decide, once you say the rule out loud to your child, you MUST follow through. Don’t allow your child to manipulate you into changing the punishment after you have said something. Your WORD must be LAW.
Is your child a Master Manipulator? Do you have a parenting question or just need some advice or encouragement? Leave a comment below!