15 Signs Your Child Is Manipulating You


The 15 signs that your child is manipulating you are kind of gut-wrenching. But if you learn them, you can learn to counter them.

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They tell you that you’re their only hope

Young or old, your child will see you as someone they can lean on. The problem is that if you allow them to lean on you all the time, they won’t learn self-reliance and won’t understand what independence is like.

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The blame game

There are multiple ways for this to work. But the sad truth is that your child is manipulating you if they decide to make you feel guilty in any way for something, even if you’ve done nothing to feel guilty for. They hope that you’ll do anything to alleviate your guilt.

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Sibling rivalry 

This doesn’t stop when people grow up, sadly. Your child is manipulating you if they put your feelings for them and their siblings on the table for analysis. Using love as a competition is a dirty way to manipulate others.

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Stating what their friends’ parents would do

This is an interesting tactic when played out in various ways. For one, all you have to do is say ‘good for your friend’s parents’, and that’s the end of it. If you’re a smart, mature adult then this type of peer pressure was left behind in high school.

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Assigning fault 

At some point, every parent will likely feel that their child is manipulating them, or trying to. But if you hear this, don’t worry too much if you’re doing your best, because passing the buck/blame, is a normal thing. Just remind your kid that it doesn’t work the way they think it will.

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Stating that you don’t understand them

Because you were never young, right? You don’t know anything about what your kid is going through, right? There are those outlier situations where this is true. But otherwise, you’ve been around long enough to put the kibosh on this defensive mechanism. Talk to your child at the very least, but don’t fall for this method.

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The If-Then promise

Let’s get honest, a few of us out there have done this. If our parents do this for us, then we can move forward. It’s a clever ruse that allows people to shift responsibility to another set of shoulders, but in the end, it’s just a dodge. Let them know that whatever rests on their shoulders is their responsibility and that you’ll be there, you just won’t shoulder the load.

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Everyone else is doing it

Ah, yes, keeping up with trends. If you refuse to keep up with society then you’re a bad and neglectful parent, right? Wrong. If you keep up then it’s on you, but if you take care of your family and let the world take care of itself, well, you’re a good parent.

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Making comparisons

You might wonder what comparisons have to do with this subject, but if your child tells you that they’re worse off than you are, it is a manipulative ploy. It means they’re trying to gain more support at your expense. Maybe something was missed early on, or maybe they don’t have the same ambition, but this is a chance to teach them a greater lesson in independence.

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Stating that you owe them

This is one of the more confrontational tools that kids use. If they decide to use it then it could mean that they’re at wits end. It’s okay to forgive and move forward, but it’s also a good time for a lesson in tact.

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Stating they can’t do it without you

Tactics like this might make you feel that you failed your child somehow. But stepping past the guilt trip is easy enough with a stern discussion about what they can do, versus what they can’t.

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Predicting a negative outcome

Children doing this are reaching for a lifeline, even if they don’t need it. This is a fear-based trick and it does require a little attention. It’s time to sit down with them and examine where their life is going.

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Appealing to your love

Children aren’t the only ones that do this as spouses and significant others have done this many times over the years. The whole ‘if you loved me’ schtick is as old as time itself. The trick to avoiding this type of pressure is to remind them that you do love them, which is why you’ll guide them, not do everything for them.

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Stating that no one cares about them

Manipulation tactics use emotion quite often, and this ploy is no different. Trying to push your emotional buttons is not above many children, as they learn this early on and never fully forget it. The thing about this is that children using manipulation is normal. It’s how kids learn their boundaries. But this degree needs a sterner hand.

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The cause-and-effect excuse

In other words, you’re the reason they’re like this. You’re the parent after all, and it’s your genetics and parenting skills that have brought them to this state, right? It’s time to encourage self-awareness and accountability at this point.


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