Is Your Child Developing The Habit of Manipulation?

We all wish to raise ethical, loving children. Some of our kids are active, others are shy, still others learn to manipulate rather than being straight-forward.

Here are some warning signs your child might be developing the habit of manipulation. Along with the words and strategies to raise an ethical child.


1. Blaming others: If your child is constantly blaming others for things that go wrong he might be avoiding looking at his own piece of the puzzle. Without shaming your child gently point out their part in the interactions.  Perhaps a younger sibling hit an older sibling after the elder child taunted the little tyke.

2. Shifting the facts:  If you address your child’s behavior and he tries to change the fact pattern, leading you to wonder if you might be mistaken, he might be developing the habit of manipulation. Be honest with him about how you saw the situation and gently ask him to own the facts as they really were. “Jason I hear you saying that your dad said you could have a cupcake before diner, but you know in our family we eat dessert after dinner not before.” “Laura, I hear you telling me that you brushed your teeth, but you have not yet, so please be honest and go brush your teeth.”

3. Not taking responsibility: If you politely confront your child regarding his behavior and he refuses to be accountable for what he did, making excuses for his behavior, he might be using manipulation to avoid facing up to his own choices.  Help your child to be accountable and honest about his behavior by staying with the facts and politely requesting a change in his behavior.  Staying calm, being direct and modeling peaceful honesty without threats will increase you child’s ability to speak the truth.

Helping your children to learn that being honest does not always result in punishment is an important part of your relationship. Children learn to manipulate in order to get what they want and avoid getting into trouble. So be direct and calm with your children. Raising ethical, accountable kids is an important aspect of parenthood.