When you think about bullying, what comes to mind? For most people, they think of traditional or cyberbullying among middle schoolers and teens. But sometimes it’s towards parents. If you have a manipulative teen, it can feel hard to put your foot down–they can make you feel helpless. In these moments, it’s important to remember who the parent is and it’s your responsibility to stop this type of behavior in its tracks.
Why a manipulative teen turns to bullying
A manipulative teen usually turns to bullying because they think you’ll put up with it and cave. Many parents struggle with this, it’s usually due to parents being too permissive and not enforcing consequences enough.
Why would a parent allow this type of behavior? According to Sean Grover LCSW, author of When Kids Call the Shots, it could be due to parents being bullied by their parents when they were growing up. Oftentimes, parents who were bullied by their parents take a vow to never treat their children that way–leading to overly lax parenting and a situation with a manipulative teen.
While bullying a child is never the answer, there is a certain amount of discipline a parent needs to use to help their child excel in life. Too little discipline can lead to your child falling in with the wrong crowd, turning to drugs, and getting into other types of trouble. Letting your child turn into a bully will only cause them more issues later down the road.
Controlling this type of behavior
As a parent of a manipulative teen, it can be difficult to make the first move, especially since you love them with all your heart and want to give them the world. It’s incredibly important to put your foot down, though. Without doing this, your child won’t be able to reach success. Here are some tips for getting rid of manipulative teen behavior and bullying:
- Just be honest. You may think your teen doesn’t know you’re lying to their face, but they probably know. They’re young, but they’re not stupid. Being honest doesn’t leave room for manipulative.
- When arguing, take a moment. It’s easy to get hot-headed and just blurt out something during an argument. When you notice things getting heated, take a moment to steady yourself, stay calm, and be a role model by being reasonable.
- Consequences, consequences, consequences. One of the best ways to lay down the law is to be consistent and fair with consequences for your child’s actions. When they try to be manipulative, shut it down every time. Let your teen know what the consequences are going to be. If you don’t follow through, they won’t mean anything–which means you have to be consistent and strong.
If you truly are struggling with manipulative teen behavior, it’s important to seek professional guidance for what to do next and how to best help your child succeed. For more information about working through manipulative teen behavior, Solstice East can help.