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Is Your Child Manipulating You?

by Gumer Liston | January 21st, 2010 | Elementary
There are times when we feel that our children are out to undermine our authority; they seem to do things intentionally that are obviously not allowed just to see how parents react. Are children naturally manipulative? I think that the answer is NO. When children do things that can stretch their parents’ patience to the limit, they are not being manipulative, we just interpret that kind of behavior as such. We feel that we are being challenged by the little person in front of us every time that little person does something that is off-limits, and our natural reaction is retaliation. We attack in return without consciously knowing it. We punish, we show strong disapproval, we make our child feel the consequences of challenging us, of trying to manipulate us. But what if we have read our children’s behavior incorrectly?
Children are not naturally manipulative; when they do  things that test their parents’ patience, they actually are trying to connect and not manipulate. If parents react harshly, the attempt to connect is nipped. When your child intentionally displays behavior of which you do not approve, he simply is trying to signal that he needs attention, that he needs to connect with you. We could be too preoccupied with many things, mostly related to our work, that we forget that we need to connect with our children. When your child feels that you are fading away from him because work and other things have taken over, he attempts to get your attention and the only way to do it that he knows is by doing something that you might read as manipulation.
If you stop seeing your children’s “bad” behavior as manipulation, it will be easier for you to connect with them. I guess the best way to connect with your children is in giving them your undivided attention when it’s their time with you, forget all the worries in life when you are spending time with your children and focus on their emotional needs. Connect with them.
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