All too often we live only by our fleshly emotions and forget we are raising eternal beings. To objectively view the actions and attitudes of a child we must think of how these affect the child’s heart. Do not look at the exterior of actions and attitudes look through them to what lies beneath the surface. There you will find a young heart that needs guidance to be formed and shaped into a loving being.
There are many hurdles that get in the way. One hurdle is manipulation. Juggling things around, saying this to one person and something else to another person, setting things up just right so you can get your way seems harmless, but is it? Isn’t that a common practice in our society?
It all sounds okay until your children use it on you to get what they want. We have all seen children go to one parent and ask something. When they don’t get an agreeable answer they will go to the other and manipulate their way to the answer they want. But how do I avoid being manipulated?
- Never give a quick answer. Get all pertinent information before making a decision. This will be trial and error until you get the hang of it.
- If you are rushed or frazzled, stop everything and use creative thinking to get away by yourself, take some deep breaths and gain perspective.
- Have a plan for what type of decisions need both parent’s permission (if not single).
- Don’t make a decision based on how you feel. (I am mad so the answer is no!)
- Let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no”. Warn and correct a child who whines after you give your answer.
Following these suggestions will keep you from giving your authority away to a child. Remember you are the one to guard their heart, not to let them manipulate you to get what might be harmful to them in the long run. Usually a child will only try to manipulate you for something they believe you will not let them do or have.
Manipulation is a trick of the enemy. If you catch your child manipulating, you must help them find their way out. They are being used as a pawn in a plan to corrupt your family. As a parent it is your responsibility to direct your child away from manipulation and into genuine relationships. The opposite of manipulation is open honesty in relationships. One of the most notable forms of manipulation is temper tantrums.
Many years ago when my oldest son was a toddler I arrived at my Mama’s house just in time to witness a full-blown tantrum. I saw him lying on the floor kicking and screaming and I knew how ridiculous this was. So I got down on the floor next to him and began to throw a fit just like his. Pretty quickly he realized that this was not normal and he tried to get me to stop. I continued my fit until he began to get worried because I would not stop. If I remember correctly, his tantrums pretty much quit after that, because he saw how it was not working and how bad it looked. This method may not work for anyone else, but it seemed to work for me because of the relationship I had with my son.
Never give into a temper tantrum especially in a public place. The way you respond to these tantrums will set the tone for future events. It is never too late to fix what has already happened, but it will take longer because it is a change for you and the child. If your child has a temper tantrum in a public area, the least embarrassing thing you can do is to remove them to a more private area until they have calmed down. This may mean you have to give up on the plans you had for the day, but in the long run you will be helping your child.
My method was to allow the child to finish their tantrum as long as they are not hurting themselves and then explain that their behavior is not acceptable and there are consequences for the tantrum. If tantrums continue for extremely long periods and happen often I would suggest seeking the help of a physician. Tantrums can be a normal part of growing up, but they can also be a sign of physical issues that may need medical attention.
Generally you may be able to avoid manipulation through too much whining and temper tantrums by letting your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no”.
Enjoy your week. Next week will be about keeping hope alive in your child.