In an attempt to get what they want, children often resort to the help of tears. When babies want to eat, sleep, or hold their mother in their arms, they begin to cry. The link «tears — achieving the desired» is assimilated by them at a subconscious level. Moreover, kids learn to manipulate long before they learn the word «manipulation» itself. They do not hesitate to use such techniques even at a more conscious age.
When some manipulation techniques stop working, others come to replace them. Teenagers can lie, pretend and put pressure on pity, thus causing parents to feel guilty. After all, the first thing they begin to think is that they do not give children enough attention and care. Such tactics are quickly assimilated and can become a full-fledged character trait of an emerging personality.
In our today’s article, we will take a closer look at the question of what actually is manipulation and tell you how to help a child get rid of such effective, but extremely harmful goal-achieving skills as manipulation.
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How do you know if your child is manipulating you?
outbursts of anger
The first wake-up call is the inability to accept rejection. The reaction of the child can be very violent and develop into attacks of aggression, tears and tantrums. Such manifestations of emotions often frighten parents and force them to follow the lead of their children. Young children often resort to tantrums as the easiest way to get a coveted chocolate bar or toy. Therefore, it is worth sounding the alarm only when this happens on an ongoing basis and with an enviable frequency.
Short, and sometimes quite long, tantrums also help children achieve what they want. In an attempt to get attention, they may begin to ignore you or even blackmail you by refusing to eat or talk. Emotional blackmail is also one of the signs of manipulative behavior. So children make other family members feel guilty and indulge their whims.
A favorite technique of many little manipulators is pretense. Playing the victim, children often point out that their parents do not love them enough and mistreat them. At the same time, a rare mother or father can calmly look at the tears of her child, which the latter often use for their own benefit.
All these manipulations make us adults feel depressed and empty. However, such behavior, namely, attempts at all costs to achieve the desired, is characteristic of all children. And in order not to give up slack where it is especially important to stay strict, it is necessary to correctly build a strategy of behavior and set the boundaries of what is permitted. This will make it easier for you and your child to build proper communication and develop healthy communication skills.
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Set specific goals
If the child has been trying to achieve something from you for a long time, it is worth jointly formulating a specific goal and setting a deadline for achieving it. You can ask the child to wait a week or even more to temporarily satisfy his need for attention and let him know that you heard him. This will save him from having to resort to the same manipulation methods and impulsive actions again and again.
Make an action plan to achieve them
Here we will talk about a list of what can really help the child achieve his goal. This plan may include certain activities aimed at developing healthy eating habits, exercise, or any other developmental activities. For example, if the child’s goal is to get a new phone, then after setting the deadlines, you can hang a list of actions on the refrigerator (accumulating pocket money, limiting time in the company of a computer, getting good grades at school) that will help him achieve his goal without the help of tantrums and tears.
Divert your child’s attention
The most effective way to stop an impending tantrum in a very young child is to switch his attention. The best thing for these purposes is something that the child likes (favorite tune, toy or cartoon), or some new experience (preferably tactile). So you will be able to transfer the energy of the baby in a different direction and create pleasant associations that are useful in the process of calming down. An interested child makes contact easier — you can play, sing or dance with him, thus distracting him from unnecessary tears and screams.
Become his role model
It’s no secret that babies from birth absorb all the information like a sponge, reading and assimilating the behavioral traits of their parents and close relatives. Therefore, if you want your child to have the right behavioral strategies from an early age, first of all try to become an ideal role model for him. Teach your child patience and calmness by personal example. You can also call on other fictional and real characters to help, whose example you can and should follow. For kids, role models on a par with parents can be heroes of fairy tales and stories.
An excellent example of such literature for preschoolers can be a cycle of stories «Kindergarten on Wheels» famous Tobolsk writer Zuli Stadnik. The protagonist of the story is a small excavator named Klyusha. Klyusha is not much different from ordinary kids: he is also naughty, naughty and often does not want to listen to his mother. However, his mother, as well as the wise nanny Kerosin Benzinovich from the kindergarten for cars, are very understanding of the actions of the baby and help him learn important worldly truths, as well as learn how to communicate correctly with peers and adults.