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My child is being manipulated by other children. What should I do?

Manipulation is a tactic to influence others in order to achieve certain personal goals. Children may use manipulation to get what they want: attention, toys, increased status, etc.

There are several steps you can take to help your child in this situation:

  1. Try to notice the first signs of manipulation in your child, such as frequent complaints about other children, constant laziness or unwillingness to participate in common activities. Be prepared to talk openly with your child about the problems he or she is having;
  2. Explain to your child that he/she should not take all information as facts. All arguments, beliefs, opinions, what other children say - should be double-checked;
  3. Communication opportunities and personal boundaries. Demonstrate to your child how to communicate effectively with other children. Teach him/her to be assertive and to say "no" when someone tries to manipulate him/her. It is important for a child to realize that he/she has the right to his personal opinions and feelings. And no one should force him to do anything he/she doesn't want to do;
  4. Train imagination and logic. An extraordinary thinking person is not afraid of anything. Learning to analyze information and making conclusions, the child will always be able to find a way out of a difficult situation;
  5. Teach your child Emotional Intelligence. Help your child develop skills to understand and manage his emotions. The more he/she is aware of his feelings and emotions, the less likely he will be manipulated by other children;
  6. Explain what manipulation is. Give examples of how it happens and what words, phrases can be used by other children. For example, the principle "Are you weak?" or "If you don't skip class with me, I will take offense". Group pressure: "If you don't smoke, you're not normal" or "You don't drink? Are you special?"   

It is important that the little person understands that real friends will not force him/her to do something against his will. They will not control him/her. Every child's situation is different and there is not always a one-size-fits-all solution. However, with support and guidance from parents, children can learn to cope with manipulation and build healthy peer relationships.


Valentina Gerasimov

educational psychologist, child and teenager coach 

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