How to tell if your child is a Master Manipulator!

Fri, Aug 27, 2010

Child Training, Toddlers

checklistRecently 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!)

  • Crying
  • Screaming
  • Hitting or throwing themselves on the ground
  • Coughing
  • 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!

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2 Responses to “How to tell if your child is a Master Manipulator!”

  1. C Brewer Says:

    my four year old is out of control, me and him used to be so close.. he wasn’t a manipulator I was really in tune to his feelings and we had a great relationship… recently we lived with my grandmother, and she completely usurped my authority, destroyed my routine and replaced my quality time activities with her own to the point where i pretty much lost my relationship with my son… I was in school and he was supposed ot be with his dad it was too late before i finally figured what was going on… he would see us argue and watch her disrespect me and at first it made him mad at her but she would take him to the store every time she fought with mommy and buy him an expensive toy and so now he acts like she is his mother he has no respect for me does not enjoy any of the things we do together hes sad all the time and is completely manipulative and disrespectful this has traumatically broken my heart i am so lost in my relationship with him and we just had another baby… im desperate and confused im taking him to a play therapist and seeing people myself but nobody seems to get it how do i fix this i feel like hes not my son anymore and i think he feels the same way….

  2. Nicole Says:

    Thanks for writing! There IS hope! As you know, some serious changes are needed… and fast! If you have not done so already, you absolutely need to move out of grandma’s house now! Second, you have to get your husband on your side! You and him are a team! Everything you do must be as a united front! Third, the 4 year old is young enough to be won back over… if you act now! Here are some ideas:

    1. Pray. Never, never underestimate the power of prayer. Giving it to God will help… it will help you as you rely on HIM to help you and you stop trusting in just yourself… and it will help your child as God does answer prayers!

    2. Time. Spend time with your child doing things they want to do. One of the mistakes we make when we don’t have our childs heart is to try to get them to obey, to do what WE want to do, and so on. Time can be directed… so for example go to the store and have your child choose which boardgame to purchase… which kite to purchase, which arts and crafts activity to purchase. Any game or activity that will allow you to interact will do. Then just have fun! Get your child to smile! This is not the time to be correcting bad behavior… now is the time to WIN his heart!

    3. Law. Lay down the law. It is all about love and respect. At four years old, they understand EXACTLY what they are doing. Explain that these are the rules, here are the consequences. If they break the rules, then FOLLOW through with the consequences no matter what! Try to overlook a lot of the small childish things that go on at least while you are winning over his heart again. Focus on the blatantly rebellious activities such as destruction of property or harming others.

    Remember you CAN do this! It may feel like a HUGE mountain right now… and it IS… but you can overcome!

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