Motivation Behind Manipulation
Recently, someone asked me how can they know if they are being manipulated. You see, their teenage son would say things to cause a reaction, and his mother was not sure if she was being manipulated or if the boy was serious. This caused me to think that he could very well be manipulating her, but why?
So often, in our interpersonal relationships, we get manipulated. We fall for their “sob story” or get sucked into them by some negative force. When it is a family member especially, it is important for us to work to determine the motivation behind the manipulation. Sure, your teenager is upset that they are the “only one” who doesn’t yet have (fill in the blank) or whose parents don’t allow them to (fill in he blank), but why? As parents, we can be quick to write off their manipulative antics as juvenile and immature and discredit their entire story. However, we must try to understand the motivation behind the manipulation.
What if your child really just wants your attention? Perhaps, your child is being bullied in many areas, and this one thing may be an area they think can be controlled. Sometimes, teenagers just want quality time with their parents, even if it is negative, but they don’t know how to ask. If you have a teenager who you think is manipulating you, don’t write them off. Do not say, “When I was a kid and things were tough, I never…” Help your teen figure out why they use manipulation to get your attention. Sometimes, these things can easily be solved, and sometimes it takes a long time. In either scenario, sometimes manipulation is just that; other times, it can be a message worth decoding.