Parenting Myth 6 – My Child Has Manipulative Behaviours

I once worked with a couple who were absolutely convinced that their children (3 and 6 years)  were super manipulators.  They believed that the children had come up with some sort of game plan to get what they wanted.

Thing is, to be manipulative, your child needs to be able to, not only manage and control your behaviour, but to also be capable of predicting  how you or others are likely to behave .  Developmentally most children are not able to think and relate to others in this way.  They are just not there yet.

So what is going on?  

Most often than not, what parents consider to be manipulative behaviour, is “simply” a child’s annoying or irritating behaviour that eventually gets them what they want.  In Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) this is often referred to as “accidental rewarding” and refers to parents giving in to a child’s demands to avoid his or her behaviour escalating or as a means of appeasing a child’s temper tantrum.

“Calling a child manipulative often substitutes for recognising that we may have reinforced the wrong behaviour in that child.” says Dr Kazdin 

So, in a way, yes, your child will behave a certain way to get what he wants but the behaviour isn’t manipulative as it’s not a conscious thought process that she employs before she embarks on her quest for something.  All she has done is learn how to get what she wants from you by doing things a certain way or going about getting things a certain way.

Your child gradually learns, with your help,  that if at some point he wants your attention and he doesn’t get it, then from that moment on, he will do what he has learned to do (learned from your previous reactions) to get it.

Again, as Dr Kazdin so aptly puts it, “Adults shape the behaviour of children in their response to it.  Our children are not manipulating us; in part, they’re expressing what we train them to do.”

Hope that helps in clearing this up.

Don’t forget to have a look at the other Parent Traps which you can find by clicking here.

If you’re stuck and feel unable to manage your child’s behaviour, do contact me as soon as possible by emailing me at soila@parentinglives.co.uk or calling me on 07850 85 60 66.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ready for personalised support?

Schedule a session with me to receive tailored support for your unique family’s needs.

Contact information

I am here to provide you with the support and guidance you require on your parenting journey.

Copyright: © 2024 Parenting Lives. All Rights Reserved.

  • Service Selection
  • Select Mode of Counselling
  • Custom Fields
  • Agent Selection
  • Date & Time
  • Your Information
  • Payment
  • Verify Order Details
  • Confirmation

Service Selection

Please select a service for which you want to schedule an appointment

Service Selection

Please select a service for which you want to schedule an appointment

Select Mode of Counselling

Select one mode of counselling for your session.

Custom Fields

Please answer this set of questions to proceed.

Agent Selection

You can pick a specific agent to perform your service or select any to automatically assign you one

Date & Time

Click on a date to see a timeline of available slots, click on a green time slot to reserve it

Your Information

Please provide your contact details so we can send you a confirmation and other contact info

Payment

You can either pay online using your credit card or PayPal, or you can pay on arrival with cash

Verify Order Details

Double check your reservation details and click submit button if everything is correct

Confirmation

Your appointment has been successfully scheduled. Please retain this confirmation for your record.
Questions?
Call +44 7850 85 60 66 for help

Service Selection

Service Selection
Select Mode of Counselling
Custom Fields
Agent Selection
Date & Time Selection
Customer Information
Your Payment Information
Verify Booking Details
Appointment Confirmation

Select Service Duration

You need to select service duration, the price of your service will depend on duration.

How Many People?

Maximum capacity is 1
30 Minute Free Consultation
1hr Follow-up Parenting Consultation session £85 Starts From
30 min follow-up consultation £50
Summary